The Beginner’s Guide to Co-washing Hair

You won't know if co-washing works for you until you give our guide a read.

Co-washing is washing technique in which you wash your hair solely with a conditioner and skip out on using shampoo — hence why 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 it provides a great conditioning treatment and helps tackle dryness.

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

What is Co-Washing?

Woman touching her curly natural hair
Credit: Rupert Laycock

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, 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 conditioner, like the Love Beauty And Planet Happy & Hydrated Gentle Cleansing Conditioner. They are designed to clean the hair and add moisture to it at the same time.

Perfect for tackling dryness, this gentle and nourishing co-wash hair product will dissolve grease and product build-up. The result? Cleaner-feeling tresses with lovely bounce.

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 With Co-Washing Hair?

Woman with natural short curly hair smiling
Credit: Rupert Laycock

So, we’ve established that those in favour 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 moisturising 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’ve got 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: If your hair is in need of a refresh, your wash day routine will certainly benefit from using the TRESemmé Cleanse & Replenish Deep Cleansing Shampoo. This deep cleansing shampoo will remove product build-up and give your hair a clean slate.

Who Shouldn’t Try This Method?

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.

How Do You Co-Wash Curly Hair?

Woman with natural hair washing her hair in the shower
Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Want to know how to co-wash hair like a pro? Follow these easy steps:

Step 1. Soak your curls with water.

Step 2. Squeeze a generous amount of your chosen co-wash product in your palm.

Step 3. Massage your cleansing conditioner into the scalp with your fingertips and distribute evenly through the ends. If your hair is extremely dry, leave your conditioning cleanser in for a few minutes.

Step 4. Rinse thoroughly.

Step 5. Finish off with a regular conditioner to ensure your hair gets extra hydration, and that’s it!

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