Did you know that it is possible to cleanse your hair by skipping the shampoo and using conditioner only? Conditioner washing, commonly referred to as co-washing is exactly that – a method of cleansing the hair preferred by many curly girls because of its ability to keep the hair extremely moisturised. Since we already know that water is a naturalista’s best friend, the H2O combined with conditioner create a dream team for detangling and high moisture levels.
How do I co-wash?
Essentially you follow the same process as you would when using shampoo, except that you replace it with conditioner.
Most shampoos tend to contain ingredients that are too harsh for the hair. If you’ve ever had that squeaky clean feeling after washing, it’s most likely due to the harsh chemicals which have stripped the hair of not only dirt and product build-up, but also of the scalp’s natural oils (sebum) which can lead to severely dried out tresses. These ingredients include, but are not limited to parabens and sodium laurel sulphate. The sebum already has a harder time reaching the ends of the hair due to navigating the curls’ twist and turns, so this really isn’t good if you’re trying to keep your strands moisturised. No need to add fuel to the fire by stripping your delicate curls of it protective sebum.
It is also many naturalistas belief that conditioners contain a small amount of gentle cleansers and that they can and should be used more than shampoo to clean curly hair.
There are a few ways that you can incorporate co-washing into your regime. You can kiss shampoo goodbye completely and only use conditioner, or you can co-wash in between shampoos to freshen up your hair so you don’t have to shampoo as frequently.
Benefits of co-washing
- Hair remains moisturised for longer.
- Additional conditioning may help with breakage.
- Contributes to more bouncy and shiny hair.
Downside of co-washing
- It may be needed to wash more frequently because shampoo is not being used.
- It is easier for product build-up to occur on the scalp and hair.
- Frequent use of conditioner can cause hair to feel stringy and ‘mushy’.
I’d suggest co-washing with a light rinse-out conditioner as deep conditioners tend to me more rich in texture as well as more expensive, so it’s best to save your luxury products for the deep treatment moments. And if you’ve decided to make co-washing a regular part of your routine, try to avoid products that contain silicones. These ingredients are generally easy to identify on product labels as they end in -cone. Many silicones are synthetic additives that are not water-soluble, making them a little bit harder to wash out without harsh detergents. The end result is yucky build-up on your hair and scalp, and that’s something that no one should have to deal with.
If you don’t want to cut out shampoos completely, I would suggest using any shampoo that’s made of natural ingredients. I’ve been using Aubrey Organics shampoos and conditioners for quite a while as my staple products and love that my hair has responded to it so well.
As for co-washing, it really does serve as a solid foundation for moisturised hair. If you’ve been struggling with extra dry hair, give this technique a try. You can only end up with happy and healthy hair.