Co-washing: Asian woman with short curly hair wearing a printed dress

The Beginner’s Guide to Co-Washing Hair

Read our guide to co-washing to know if this hair washing technique is for you.

Co-washing is a washing technique in which you wash your hair solely with a conditioner and skip out on using shampoo. It is also known as the “no-poo” method. This one-step method has been embraced by those with curly and natural hair types for years, thanks to the fact that it provides a great conditioning treatment and helps tackle dryness.

Still completely confused? Our beginner’s guide to this popular method will help you figure out whether you should co-wash and teach you how to do actually it.

Co-Washing FAQs Answered

What is co-washing?

Co-washing: Asian woman touching her curly hair and smiling
Co-washing is good for curly hair because it doesn’t strip away moisture. Credit:: Hariono Halim

Co-washing simply means “conditioner washing” your tresses, meaning you skip out on using shampoo and rinse your hair and cleanse your scalp solely with conditioner. And, if you’ve got curly or natural hair, you’ll benefit the most from conditioner-washing, as your hair type needs all the hydration it can get.

If you’re frequently shampooing wavy or curly hair, you’re essentially stripping it of its natural moisture, which it needs more than other hair types. So, by washing your hair with conditioner, you can tackle dryness and get softer, more nourished strands.

Can you co-wash with any conditioner?

While you can co-wash with a regular conditioner, using it alone won’t actually clean your scalp and hair. So, it’s best to invest in cleansing conditioners, which are designed to clean the hair and add moisture to it at the same time.

How often should you co-wash?

We suggest you co-wash at least once or twice a week, depending on your hair needs and how often you style it. If your hair is on the oilier side, you might opt to do this either daily or every other day.

What are the pros and cons of co-washing hair?

Asian woman touching her long curly hair
Co-washing keeps curly and wavy hair from getting dry. Credit: Natasha Estelle

So, we’ve established that those in favor of this washing technique believe that it leaves hair feeling soft and hydrated. But are there any cons? Well, the truth is that, although this method is great for moisturizing curly or natural hair, doing it constantly can leave your locks feeling greasy.

This is because most conditioners and cleansing conditioners have silicone-based formulas, which can build up on the hair and weigh it down. So, bear this in mind if you want to try this method (especially if you have fine hair!).

The simple way around this for those with curls and coils? Just use a clarifying shampoo periodically to give your mane a proper clean.

Editor’s tip: You can use a light conditioner like Cream Silk Hydra Fresh Fresh & Bouncy Light Conditioner to co-wash your hair. This water-based conditioner nourishes your hair and keeps it hydrated without weighing it down, thanks to its Hydracollagen Technology. It is also easy to rinse and non-greasy. It also suits fine hair.

Who shouldn’t try this method?

Asian woman washing her long black hair
Washing with shampoo and conditioner is better for straight hair. Credit: Natasha Estelle

While co-washing is great for curls and coils, it won’t benefit those with straight or fine hair, oily scalp, and those who have scalp conditions like dandruff.

If you fall under any of these categories, your best sticking with your regular shampoo and conditioner.

Editor’s tip: Dealing with dandruff? Wash your hair with Dove Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Shampoo and Dove Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Conditioner. This duo helps fight dandruff without drying out your hair. It leaves your scalp nourished and clean. It is also gentle, so you can use it every day.

On days when you need to shampoo, what should you use for curly hair?

Since curly hair types need all the moisture it can get, we recommend sulfate-free shampoos that won’t strip your hair of moisture. Aside from this, look for moisturizing ingredients, like certain oils, in your shampoo. These will definitely keep your curly hair from drying out.

Bottle of Love Beauty and Planet pink shampoo

Editor’s tip: Try Love Beauty and Planet Murumuru Butter & Rose Blooming Color Shampoo for your curly hair. Murumuru butter is known to be deeply nourishing and moisturizing, so it’s perfect for curly and color-treated hair. For best results, follow it up with Love Beauty and Planet Murumuru Butter & Rose Blooming Color Conditioner.