Shampoo Your Hair!

November 2021

The dirty hair movement is over because it’s killing our hair, or our hair follicles anyways. This post is about why you need to shampoo your hair again. The previous post was about the Deva Curl Scandal and how it evolved. Both were written before the shutdown of 2020 to address the Deva curl scandal. Just as one of the biggest shocks of humanity was gaining a spotlight, within our industry, a big shock was also occurring. Deva was in the early stages of one of the biggest backlashes of a brand I’d ever seen in the beauty world. After 25 years, that’s saying a lot, but honestly- it was deserved. 

stop using no poo !

Much To do About Shampoo 

The same day I heard how serious COVID-19 had become, I was writing these 2 blog posts earlier in the day. I’d watched multiple videos on YouTube of curly girl bloggers talking about how Deva had ruined their hair. Usually, I take this type of feedback with a grain of salt, but for years I had been uncomfortable with Deva’s non-professional consumer education being opposite of what cosmetologists know as basics we learn in school.

liss shampoo

Use This

Then they came under serious scrutiny in early 2020. But it was their denial of the “problems” like it was in the heads of people. People who BTW had been a loyal customer base, blogging and raving about them for years- that was most appalling. When the pandemic happened, the salon world shifted to COVID safety and the shut down.

Deva’s issues were temporarily shelved. Covid was a tragedy, but It was a savior for Deva. They still had a 5.2 million class action lawsuit, which is pretty substantial since we’re talking about shampoo folks. But I was watching this closely. I sincerely believe if COVID had never happened it would have been a mind boggling dollar amount more.

But for the hundreds of women who reached out to us for curl help, this post is the second of two articles I wrote before the shutdown. No Poo was one of our biggest sellers for curly people so it’s a big deal, but education is key. And since Deva polluted the minds of consumers, it’s time to relearn hair care basics.

What is the Deva Scandal?

Original March 2020 Post

Maybe you stumbled across this blog post because you’re looking for some tips on shampoo for natural hair and you have never heard of the Deva curl scandal. DevaCurl built a brand around this idea “shampoo and sulfates are bad” which is untrue, and the reason behind the scandal.

Long term Deva users started seeing hair loss and baldness because the hair and scalp had product build up over time.

Flawed Philosophy

I don’t struggle with curl issues because my hair is more or less straight. Or as Deva calls it, swavy (straight wavy) which is a gimmicky  way of trying to tap a hair market they had no business being in. Swavy? C’mon.

Substantial evidence had already shown cream cleansers follicle killing build up. DevaCurl knew too, that’s why they created the Build Up Buster product. Dirty hair is something I never agreed with. I tried to educate this in the salon, but it was hard when it was not in line with what the brand said on their site- and promoted by their paid bloggers. But it’s the way Deva handled it is why I decided DevaCurl isn’t in line with how we do business either.

Ethics aside, they peaked in 2015 when there were no curl lines, but the brand’s ideology is too confusing to customers. Quite simply- there are far better options now.

Hair Hygiene is For Everyone

Hygiene is something we’re taught young and shouldn’t be hard. Too many opinions, too many brands and too many targeted markets, have made the simple act of shampooing seem hard. Deva’s star product, No Poo, was designed for true curly haired people originally. But they teach 90% of all people have “some” texture so anyone can use Deva. Soon millions of women believed the “No Poo” (AKA No Shampoo) mantra. A No Shampoo cult like war cry carried over to non curly people too and has caused nightmares in the professional salon world. Don’t shampoo? Hold up.


Clean is healthy.

Hair may be different textures, but haircare has basic principles of hygiene. Hair can’t be healthy if the scalp isn’t. Curly hair is dense, which makes the scalp harder to clean.

Telling people shampoo is bad seems like a recipe for disaster, seems as if Deva should’ve been better off focusing on scalp health more, and cute sounding curl names less.


No wonder within 4 years the brand caused millions of users legit scalp issues and hair loss. It’s not the ingredients of the products that are harmful, it was their “philosophy” which was also a genius ad campaign. I’ve been researching preservatives and garbage in beauty products for decades. They didn’t discover anything new, but they marketed like they did- and that’s the problem. Especially when problems come.  And I saw the problems firsthand on people in my chair seeking help and advice.

It was heartbreaking really. All they did was love a brand who taught them shampoo is basically bad. And Deva never paused to correct the dirty hair movement they helped start. It was a negligent brand campaign spreading false information that is confusing non curly haired people too. In my opinion It’s a good idea for all to read though this is mainly for curl wearers who have scalp health, or hair loss concerns. Non curly people can benefit too because hair care information is overdue for some much-needed simplicity and balance. 

“No Shampoo” is no good for hair.

We established not shampooing well can lead to build up on the scalp which can suffocate hair follicles. Anyone with thick or dense hair knows it’s harder to cleanse in the nape or scalp in general because of having so much hair.

My hair is fine and mostly straight, but Deva calls it, “swavy” for straight wavy. My hair always felt so weighed down and dirty when I used deva even though one of their reps once said needed to “stick with it.” Ummm, ok non licensed shampoo sales person, that’s a pass.  But I just figured since my hair wasn’t curly, it wasn’t for me and the curl names were so catchy, I still find myself using them on occasion out of habit. A testament to how deeply good a marketing plan can get inside your head! Further proof they over- reached to hair markets they should’ve left alone- in my opinion.

  So Many Clues of Disaster  

Substantial evidence no lather cream cleansers lead to build up was something DevaCurl knew too. In fact, they stared having problems long before 2020 so they reason they created Build Up Buster, a clarifying product. Because it’s very existence says” you must clean your hair” so the launch was more like an afterthought. I spoke of how they were MIA with education once salons paid for certification- in the last post. But if cheap products and poor shampoo habits lead to build up, and if the No Poo philosophy is healthy- why did they need a build up remover? Suspish.

Shampoo sales decrease & hair problems increase!

 This is not a coincidence. Scalp health and hair health are directly related. You wouldn’t skip washing your face for 5 days. In most cases- that should be applied to hair as well.


What’s the point of a cream cleanser?

Personally, I don’t care for cream cleansers because you have to use other cleansing products too. Most clients want one shampoo, but cream cleansers don’t really CLEAN the hair or scalp. When you shampoo your hair, you should see a lather. Not all surfactants (which creates lather) are created the same. High quality surfactants are light and less aggressive than the bigger & harsher surfactants used in detergents. But those surfactants are cheaper, so quality matters in a shampoo! Cream cleansers can be used on occasion but only if you  alternate with a non cream cleansing shampoo or deep cleanse regularly.


Surfactants are not all bad.

So don’t skip cleaning hair to preserve moisture for curl. Get moisture through other products and let shampoo do its job, which is to clean dirt, oil and build up off scalp and hair. Fear of losing hair more than a sulfate because Deva isn’t the first cream shampoo accused of causing hair loss. Remember WEN? It was the first mainstream cream cleanser and the first (of many) to come under fire for hair loss with a class action lawsuit. In 2010 Chaz Dean was a stylist who sold his “no shampoo” products on QVC, and the same thing happened.

Yet, when I did the Better Beauty segment on KCTV5 this “shampoo less” topic came up time and time again. Every time you can visibly see me cringe because I knew when Deva became the new big deal, it filled a huge hole in the hair market for textured hair people. Deva got salons to pay for brand certification. Professional backing helped move Deva into the spotlight, but made the backlash bigger too. Sulfates are surfactants that degrease the hair and that’s what you want to clean your scalp.

An Ephinay on Live TV

Shampoo the right way!

You can watch a video here where I speak about shampoo basics on KCTV5 but I feel like I come off snarky in this segment because repeated “we” advise, as in “we the hair professionals” but there is a reason. In several videos when I did the morning show, you see me say “hesitate on the topic of shampooing less”. 

In this video, I realized there are SO many products, so a BIG part of the issue is people aren’t buying from salons, and that is twice as true since COVID. But it’s also WHY the public is confused on how to simply shampoo hair! It was an epiphany moment that a “how to shampoo” topic had become overly complicated due to too much misinformation online too vast for a 5-minute morning show segment. Professionals are busy in the salon seeing clients, they aren’t online making social media videos nonstop. Salons are the best place for hair help. 

If You’ve Noticed Hair Loss

Stay calm. We’ve had a lot of panic surrounding this and Deva isn’t helping out by acting like there’s no problem. Product build up is the main concern. For now, make cleaning your hair and scalp the priority. We’ve been left to offer support to curl clients on our own, but scalp cleansing is the priority. r. 

Stop using No Poo. Or any cream hair cleanser, because they are not something we ever advise long term. For scalp issues or damaged/dry hair, they may be used short term (in conjunction with other shampoos) to rehab hair. If you’re an avid No Poo user, reality is removing a lathering shampoo long term may lead to other serious scalp issues. Don’t lean too heavily on one product or one brand for care or advice. 

Start using a lathering shampoo. For all clients, we recommend using a gentle shampoo for daily use, especially with curl or color. Sulfates are not all created the same, but all sulfates have been demonized in the last few years as unhealthy or bad!

It’s simply untrue. Shampoo is not bad! You can watch a video here where I speak about shampoo basics on KCTV5. Sulfates are surfactants that degrease the hair and that’s what you want!

10 Things To Start Now

  1. Assess your scalp –book a consultation. Yeast is the most common issue surrounding Deva because of buildup. Build up happens easily with curls. Plus, with dense curls the scalp keeps moisture. Our natural body heat creates an environment for yeast. Yeast on the scalp looks like pimples, also common for hair extension wearers because of the added hair & moisture.  
  2. Start shampooing a minimum of 3-4x a week until scalp is healthy and build up is gone. Massage your scalp WELL. This is part of shampoo 101. Like a facial, massage stimulates blood flow which promotes circulation. It’s all good for thy little scalp hood, which is also good for hair. Get a clarifying shampoo or Malibu treatments. Your hair needs to detox, this applies to everyone. We use Malibu Vitamin C treatments on everyone quarterly who gets color removes build up, but it’s good for everyone because of hard water alone. 
  3. We are recommending 2 different shampoos per client. One that cleans and targets scalp health, and one that is gentle and moisturizing. Alternate the 2 shampoos or use the deep cleansing one at the root and focus the gentle shampoo the hair itself. 
  4. Rinse, Lather and Repeat. There’s a reason why every shampoo bottle used to say this. Shampoo really well and do it twice.  
  5. Don’t start using cheap products. There will be a lot of Deva curl product refugees, and lots of brands wanting your business. Many curl lines with coconut oil and shea butter “for curls” over proteinize and cause build up, just like Deva. Don’t jump from the frying pan into the fire. Just use a balanced shampoo recommended by your stylist like Loreal Professional. Or a shampoo that balances moisture and protein.  
  6. Brush, and comb out your hair! This is one those things I don’t like about Deva’s method. Brushing is part of hair health. You may stretch your curls out, but you have to remove the natural shedding! Keep a wet brush or wide tooth comb in your shower and thoroughly remove hair shed accumulation when conditioning your hair. We call this noodling, or raking hair, but it’s simply taking the time to remove hair shed while conditioning. Or comb with a fine comb in small sections but get the hair shed OUT. 
  7. DRY your hair. Whether you invest in an at home hood dryer or a diffuser, make sure your hair is dry before going to bed. Never go to bed with wet hair! Body heat and moisture are a recipe for yeast and other scalp issues. 
  8. Take your Time. Lots of hair means lots of product, and lots of care. There is some personal responsibility at home, so take your time to CARE for your hair. Give your hair the same level of attention as you face. Natural curl is a lot to manage. I always say choose a style that’s on the same level of effort you’re willing to commit to. 
  9. Hair health is about balance. Hair needs protein, moisture, hydration (yes, they are different) and needs to be ph balanced, and regularly deep cleansed. You’re not going to achieve all of your hair needs with just a few products. I’m sorry, but when investing in good hair products, you need variety for a good balance. Purchase from a salon. Amazon is not where you should be buying, and I could write a dissertation on why.  


Dear Deva Curl: Cutting Has Nothing to Do with Products  

For those who get curl cuts, Deva did NOT invent curl cutting. Afro’s and wearing natural texture have been a thing since the 60’s, and so has curl cutting. It came back in style in a BIG way in the last 5 years so Deva parlayed cutting techniques in with product “philosophy”. Curl cutting is not their intellectual property, these techniques have always been around! It was just hard to find a salon that knew how to do them in conjunction with curl care. 

Many curly clients told us they experienced inconsistency in Deva cutters, which proves good hair cutting has zero to do with brand certification. Whether you have curly hair or not, good cutting skills have always been a priority at Studio 39. I learned curly cut techniques in the late 90’s from my mentor, and we mentor those same skills here. Brands or stylists claiming they “created” a skill that’s been in our industry for years is nothing new. See a stylist you’re confident with in cutting. Address the products separately, one has nothing to do with the other. 

Life After Deva

When you stop using deva, your hair may react and seem dry and frizzy. Read about hydration here but hair change when you change products is normal. It will pass! Just be patient and commit to using high quality salon products and increasing your shampoo routine. I don’t want cause alarm to those who have no issues, but I would be negligent if I didn’t say I passionately feel Deva has not handled things professionally. 

That was not an easy choice for me, it’s been a part of our salon brand for some time, but I’ve seen some alarming things in the last few months. I’ve seen Deva users in the salons and heard real concerns and answered questions that are valid. I could go through a punch list why the statement on the Deva site lacks accountability and is too VAGUE. But it doesn’t matter, just focus on cleaning your hair and using different things. I’m also ok with doing an apple cider vinegar rinse. It helps remove buildup and prevents yeast, but just do it once! If you have color, just book an appointment with us and we will go over options!