Best Clarifying Shampoos For African American Hair – From 3C Curly to 4C Ziggly We Got You Covered

By Editorial Team
Published 28 May 2015 / Updated 12 Jul 2022

Best Clarifying Shampoos For African American Hair – From 3C Curly to 4C Ziggly We Got You Covered

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4 important things you need to look for when buying a clarifying shampoos for African American hair:

  • Sulfate Free
  • Emollients
  • Moisture
  • Plenty of slip

African American natural hair is notoriously dry.

You need plenty of moisture to have your hair pliable and elastic.

Not only that, keeping your hair moist makes it easy to manage and less prone to breakage.

After all:

It’s a wonderful feeling when your hair is easy to style! Isn’t it?

anti-residue shampoo for african american hair
Shampoo for african american hair – Styling made easy!

Curly, Coily and kinky hair maintenance is hard work. It requires a lot of care, and I know this from a close friend who thinks it’s an unnecessary burden.

Black African American hair is dryer than caucasian and all other hair types. But it’s also unique in appearance.

And this unique structure unfortunately makes Afro hair fragile and prone to breakage.

In fact:

More than 50% of African-American women say that hair breakage and thinning is their top concern.

Whether your hair is natural or chemically altered (relaxer, perms, braids, & texturizer)…

A good hair regimen is important.

And this starts from effective washing or co-washing.

The 10 Best Clarifying Shampoos For African American Hair

Why Sulfate Free Shampoos For African American Hair?

There is one thing common in all of the products above.

They are all Sulfate-Free.

Sulfate-Free shampoos for black and textured hair is not just a buzzword. It is good for your hair!

Sulfates also know as SLS Sodium Laureth Sulfate (Wikipedia Link) is a heavy cleaning agent found in detergents and household items. Your daily shampoos also use them (although a tiny amount) to create lather.

But here’s the kicker:

Although it helps to clean your hair, the harsh salts in sulfates strip your hair of it’s natural oils.

This leaves multi-ethnic hair more vulnerable to breakage.

Stop using sulfate shampoos for a week and notice the dramatic improvements in your hair.

Naturally Curly suggests that wavy and curly naturalists should completely avoid sulfate shampoos.

If you’ve been using sulfate based shampoos, it’s time to change your hair care regimen.

Here’s a good tip for you:

Get rid of all your sulfate and silicone shampoos and conditioners now!

Like I mentioned above, African-Native American hair is delicate. It gets dry easily and will break causing hair loss.

Do a deep conditioning at least once every 2 weeks and a protein treatment once a month to get your hair in good shape.

This will also balance out your hair.

Follow these tips for keeping your hair moisturized:

Going Natural And Finding The Right Shampoos

If you’ve decided to stop wearing weaves and celebrate your natural hair, you’ll learn to understand your hair better.

Having natural curls means you’re not supporting a false beauty anymore. And you should take pride. Keep it well maintained and beautiful.

In fact:

This is not only a women’s trend. Men are also joining the natural hair movement. And they have their hair struggles too.

How To Find The Right Natural Hair Shampoo?

Do you know your true curl pattern?

To find out what hair product works best, you need to know about your curl pattern.

Is it a 3C Curly, 4A Coily Springy, 4B Coily Crimpy, or a 4C Coily Ziggly?

Choosing a curl shampoo for African American hair is easy, once you’ve figured out your hair type.


African American black hair falls under type 3 and 4.

A very small group may also have type 2 hair pattern.

How to find your true curl pattern:

  • Wash your hair
  • Let it air dry
  • Don’t use any hair products
  • Check the list below to identify your hair type

3C Curly

Afro-textured hair that is voluminous with tight curls in corkscrews. This type of hair is densely packed together and you will have a hard time blow drying these tight curls.

Products to look for:

  • Intense hydration
  • Moisturising repair and conditioners
  • Rich butter (Shea Butter) shampoos
  • Products with hair milk and oils

Recommended for 3C Curlies:

4A Coily Springy

Teyonah Parris, Andrea Lewis, and Yaya Dacosta are well known celebrities that wear the 4A tightly coiled hair.

Unique feature: “S” type more visible curl patterns.

4A curls are wiry and fine textured, yet fragile with density. Also with fewer cuticles layers, your 4A hair is more vulnerable to damage.

Products to look for:

  • Shampoos that do not strip natural oils
  • Weekly deep conditioner
  • Shampoos that hydrate and nourish

Recommended for 4A Coily hair:

4B Coily Crimpy

Unique feature: The “Z” pattern and less defined curl.

This type of hair blends with sharp angles. No curling and coiling. Known to be very tightly coiled and very very fragile, 4B hair can shrink up to 75% of the actual length.

Products to look for:

  • Heavy creamy cleansers
  • Detangling conditioners with lots of slip
  • Wide Tooth Comb
Best moisturizing shampoo conditioner african american hair

Argan Oil Shampoo


Good shampoo for 4B Afro hair.

And you cannot miss….

The Best 100% Premium handmade sandalwood comb for natural hair. It is a must have for easy detangling!

Click on the image below to see the reviews.

How to care for african american hair - Wide tooth comb

Aromatic Sandal Wood Comb Brush


Best detangling brush and comb for African American hair.

4C Coily Ziggly

This hair type almost never clumps together, unless you do specific styles. 4C hair can be fine, thin, super soft to write and coarse.

Unique feature: Lots of density, tightly kinked and no definition.

Products to look for:

  • Heavy co-washing conditioners
  • Oils, creams, butters to seal the coils
  • Heavy pudding and cream
  • Deep condition every 3 days
Best moisturizing shampoo conditioner for 4C african american hair

Coily Custard


The best product for 4C coily ziggly hair.

Get Conditioners With Slip and Let Your Hair Glide

If you’re down with co-washing, you need a good conditioner with plenty of slip. This will instantly loosen your hair knots, snarls and make it easy to detangle.

Why you need a good slip conditioner?

Well, detangling unruly hair after washing can get messy. If not done gently and with care, you risk breaking your fragile hair.

The emollients in a slip shampoo/conditioner create a protective layer on your hair. Your hair then glides past each other as you detangle.

How To Find A Good Slip Conditioner?

Look for these ingredients when buying your conditioner:

  • Shea butter or oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Glycerin – natural oils that prevent hair from breaking when combing
  • Esters
  • Cetyl Alcohol
  • Mineral oils
  • Dimethicone
  • Stearyl Alcohol

And of course, Sulfate Free.

Our Top 3 Best Slip Conditioning Cleansers

Oily African American Hair – The Quick Fix

If your hair feels oily all the time, I have a quick fix solution for you !

My friend recently bought this product and with over a thousand positive reviews, I couldn’t help but suggest this to my readers.

If you do need a solution for oily ethnic hair, check this out…

Oily african american hair Leave in Conditioner

Shea Moisture African Water Mint & Ginger Detox


The best oily hair shampoo and conditioner for African Americans.

Shampoos For Relaxed African American Hair

A relaxed hair care regimen requires weekly washing at least.

If you feel more comfortable doing it every 2 weeks, that’s also not a problem.


The longer you go without washing, the more itchy your scalp will feel. Relaxer treatments don’t wash out as they are permanent. So, wash your hair whenever you feel like.

My advice for relaxed African American hair is:

Prep your hair before washing. It’s called Prepoo.

Use hot oil treatments or conditioners in your hair for at least 30 minutes to detangle your hair. This will also prepare your hair to prevent the stripping effects of a clarifying shampoo.

Best Shampoos for relaxed African American Hair (Best Sellers list)

Dry Shampoos For African American Hair

Dry shampoos won’t make your roots curl back.

They work as a good refreshing therapy for black hair. Loved by curly girls, it’s the midweek shampoo miracle rejuvenator, and oil zapping formula.

Here are a few dry shampoos you can try:

Best Dandruff Shampoos For African American Hair

Dandruff is a common scalp condition.

It is also one of the common reasons why black women visit dermatologists, says Dr Jeaneen Chappel a researcher at St Louis University school of medicine.

It’s true that African American hair is dryer than other types of hair, which makes it more susceptible to dandruff.

And I know, dandruff is a serious nuisance and can affect your lifestyle.

It has the perfect mix of ingredients like black soap and Shea butter to heal your scalp and restore its natural pH.

Try this shampoo for a week and see the difference.



African American hair is dry, fragile, and requires a lot of upkeep. Choosing the right clarifying shampoo is essential.


  • Sulfate-Free
  • Emollients
  • Good slip
  • And conditioning

When buying your next shampoo.

As i Am

As I Am Curl Clarity Shampoo


The best clarifying shampoo for natural African American hair.