The Best Cleansing Products and Shampoos for Keeping Braids and Protective Styles Fresh
As POPSUGAR editors, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. If you buy a product we have recommended, we may receive affiliate commission, which in turn supports our work.
After about a week of rocking your fresh braids or twists, you might be literally itching for a hair and scalp cleanse. While you may be tempted to go for your usual wash day routine — shampoo, condition, and moisturise — protective styles soak up a lot of water and make it difficult to thoroughly wash out residue from cleansing products. If you fancy giving your hair and scalp some TLC, without disturbing those intricate braiding patterns, then we've found seven great cleansing products to keep your style in top shape.
Dry shampoos are surprisingly a great shout for removing oil and dirt while minimising hair manipulation, but not all dry shampoos are suited for afro hair. We recommend choosing a foaming waterless shampoo to really capture the oil and dirt without drying out delicate kinks and coils. If you prefer something a bit more moisturising and good at eliminating itchiness, we highly recommend a cleansing oil or gel that contains tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar. Tea tree is known for calming an itchy scalp, and reducing oil and dandruff. Apple cider vinegar is recommended for balancing the pH of the scalp, reducing inflammation, minimising bacteria, and soothing itchiness.
If your hair and scalp needs a deeper clean, then it's okay to use a clarifying shampoo but you have to be prepared to put in some extra work. We recommend a micellar shampoo that has a spout cap so that you can focus application directly on your scalp, and the parts between your braids. When applying a clarifying shampoo, make sure to tie your braids up so that the length of the braids don't retain any excess water or cleanser. After gently emulsifying the cleanser on your scalp, and rinsing all the soap from your scalp and hair, then apply a light conditioner to the lengths and ends of your braids, and then rinse. Once your braids are fully dry, touch up your scalp with a nourishing hair oil.
Ahead, check out 7 of the best products for keeping braids, twists, and protective styles clean and fresh.