The Benefits of Co-Washing Hair

Although most of us are used to washing our hair with shampoo followed by conditioner, a trend called co-washing involves using cleansing conditioner instead of shampoo. People with naturally oily roots may find their tresses become heavy when using this method. However, this can easily be remedied using a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo every other wash.

Co-washing restores natural oils that may have been stripped from the hair by traditional shampooing; plus, it contains humectants that add moisture. Aishia Strickland, a licensed stylist and tight curl educator from DevaCurl’s Tight Curl Academy, recommends this DevaCurl product, which balances out the scalp’s natural oils to avoid build-up without drying your strands out completely. One major fear many have when trying this method is whether or not it will result in oily or greasy locks, but that depends on several factors, including your hair type and the product used. Miko Branch of Miss Jessie’s recommends a cleansing conditioner specifically made to address this problem with surfactants that work gently yet effectively to lift away excess oils without stripping your strands completely dry.

Co-washes offer an alternative to shampoos with harsh detergents by providing gentler cleansers and conditioners that protect fragile locks from being stripped of protective oils and vulnerable to breakage. Co-washing reduces this drying effect by using products that contain more hydration and nutrients – such as conditioners. Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado Quinoa Co-Wash offers effective cleansing while detangling and nourishing. Another fan-favorite is Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea Cleansing Co-Wash. Many worry that co-washing will make their strands oily, but this depends on your scalp and hair type. For instance, those with very textured thick curls or coils may benefit from this technique more regularly as their locks tend to lose more moisture than others.

Co-washing involves using conditioner to both cleanse and hydrate your hair. The conditioner contains surfactants that help remove dirt and oils from your scalp and hair follicles to avoid build-up, which could cause inflammation or dandruff issues. Co-washing your hair can also help reduce split ends by keeping it hydrated, especially with curly or textured locks susceptible to dryness when shampoo contains harsh ingredients like sulfates. Overdoing it, however, could leave your strands feeling over-hydrated and starting to appear oily and limp. That is why it is recommended that after co-washing, follow it with clarifying shampoo once every few weeks to eliminate product build-up and oily hair.

Using a co-wash specifically tailored for curly hair can help restore its natural shine, without using shampoo as part of a cleansing ritual. This method can especially benefit curls that require frequent moisture, like oils and butter, for nourishment between washes. Co-wash, or “cleansing conditioner,” products are great options for curly hair as they help gently cleanse and nourish while maintaining its natural oils. Look for products containing shea butter, yucca plant extract, glycerin, and aloe vera as these will keep strands looking their best while silicone-containing conditioners can build upon strands preventing moisture from penetrating into your scalp, leading to dryness.

Co-wash is an often-heard term in the natural hair community, yet many need help understanding it. Co-washing consists of using conditioner to cleanse your locks instead of shampoo. No matter which product you use for co-washing or regular conditioning, they both help keep your strands clean and hydrated. Remember to avoid silicone-containing products, which could weigh down your hair and create that greasy look. Co-washing can save time in the shower for those with curly, wavy, or mixed-textured hair and is an excellent way to protect the health of your scalp and cuticle area. However, be mindful that co-washing should not replace shampooing altogether – use both methods together regularly in order to preserve hair health! You could even alternate between shampoo and co-washing modes until you find what best fits your curls!