5 Things you need to know about co-washing hair

Jeanette | 23 June 2016

Find out what it really means…

We’re sure that “co-washing hair is a term you’ve been hearing a lot recently, be it at the salon or on social media. But what does it mean exactly? And why is it so popular? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, don’t worry, we’ve created a quick, simple guide to help you get a clearer idea.

5 Things you should know about co-washing hair


What does it mean to ‘co-wash’ hair?

Co-washing (short for ‘conditioner washing’) is a term that means skipping shampoo and washing your hair only with conditioner.

So, what’s the deal?

The idea is that washing your tresses with conditioner only will leave them more, well, conditioned, making them feel softer and supple. Plus, it will also limit the amount of oil removed from your hair when shampooing. And because this unconventional approach to washing hair will cause less dryness, it’s proved really popular with people who have natural or curly hair.

Black short afro: Co washing hair
Is there a difference between using cleansing conditioners and co-washing hair?

Why do people with natural/curly hair love it?

The reason why naturalistas and those with curly locks love this washing method is because they tend to have hair that is dryer than others. And as anyone who has a curly hair texture knows too well: the ‘S’ and ‘Z’ shape of each curl or kink makes it difficult for natural hair oils to be evenly distributed in the hair shaft, which means that this hair type is more prone to frizz and dryness. So, as you might have guessed by now, people with natural or curly hair have adopted the co-washing technique in efforts to hold on to as much moisture as possible, while still cleansing. Plus, the method reportedly can help leave curls smooth and more defined.

What about cleansing conditioners?

Have you ever heard the term ‘cleansing conditioner’ being used by people around you and wondered what on earth they were talking about? You’re not alone. Co-washing your hair and using cleansing conditioners are actually pretty much the same thing. Heads-up: other terms like ‘no-poo shampooing’ and ‘shampoo-free’ basically also mean the same. Now, that wasn’t too difficult, was it?

co washing hair natural afro hair
Co-washing can help limit the drying effects of shampooing.

The pros and cons of co-washing hair

So, we’ve established that those in favour of this unconventional washing technique believe that it leaves hair feeling soft, supple and smooth, and that it is thought to limit the drying effects of shampooing or over-washing hair. But are there any cons? Well, the truth is that, although co-washing can leave your hair feeling ultra-conditioned, doing it constantly can leave your locks feeling heavy. This is because most conditioners and cleansing conditioners have silicone-based formulas, which can build up on the hair, leaving it weighty, and making it more difficult for other products to penetrate it. So, bear this in mind if this is something you plan to do, and consider using a clarifying shampoo periodically to remove any unnecessary build-up.



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