Co-Washing Hair: How to Use Cleansing Conditioners

Alyssa François | 24 April 2016

1 product, 3 ways. Love!

Co-washing hair, a.k.a. “conditioner washing,” is the no-poo approach to cleansing hair that has become increasingly popular when women with naturally curly hair—its early adopters—have been saturating, then rinsing their hair with this formula. Many love how well it works to rehydrate their naturally dry hair texture. Today, these cleansing agents are offered to solve a variety of issues, for one: Working its way into your hair care routine in place of traditional shampoo and even dry shampoo. If you’re looking to try out a cleansing conditioner and pondering how you can possibly rely on it, check out three easy ways to use it.

Co-Washing Hair in Three Ways

Co-washing hair
Co-washing hair can leave your strands soft and feeling hydrated.

Your daily wash and care routine 

If you’re curious on how the cleansing routine works, it’s fairly simple. It’s just like your shampoo: Wash, rinse and repeat. Conditioners usually instruct you to apply and focus on the tips since the ends are the oldest parts of hair and need much more attention. But with a cleansing conditioner you’re cleansing your scalp and hair, all while treating the hair with its conditioning formulas as well. To use: First wash your hair with water to loosen up any dirt, then apply a dollop of cleansing conditioner to your hair and massage it into your scalp. Let the low-to-no foaming action work its magic of cleaning and conditioning your strands simultaneously. If your hair falls on the drier end of the spectrum, leave your cleansing conditioner in for a minute or two for a little extra conditioning. Follow up with your conditioner of choice, dry and style as usual. Super easy!

Use cleansing conditioner instead of dry shampoo 

Let’s face it, we’re all for the in-between hair washing benefits of dry shampoo. However, you really can’t and shouldn’t use it every day. Dry shampoo doesn’t get rid of all of the build up your hair has accumulated throughout the week, it simply absorbs excess oil. When it’s time for a wash, it’s time for a wash. But if it seems like you’re due, but don’t think your hair needs a super deep cleanse from a traditional shampoo, you can easily use a cleansing conditioner instead. Give your hair a gentle cleanse by co-washing with the steps mentioned above. And if you just happen to be out of dry shampoo for the week (bummer!) there are some cleansing conditioners that are also great for everyday use. 

Use cleansing conditioner instead of chemical-treatments

Whether you’ve gotten a fresh dye job, keratin treatment or thermal conditioning— chemically treated hair needs to be handled with care on a routine basis. After receiving a new hair color, your stylist may have informed you that washing hair can alter the state of your vibrant color, causing color stripping and dull strands. If you just got a straightening treatment, the effects of shampoo are on about the same level. This is a great time to reap the benefits of a cleansing conditioner.

While you may think to opt for a sulfate-free shampoo, you also have the option of using a cleansing conditioner. Many prefer to go the co-washing route as they favor its low-foaming action, which many believe to be less damaging to chemically-treated hair since the weakened state of the hair is protected from being damaged any further.

Pro tip:  Co-washing hair doesn’t cancel shampooing hair altogether. We’re sure you’ll love the feeling of your hair after using your cleansing conditioner, but be sure to give your hair a thorough cleanse with a shampoo, even it’s only once a month. We suggest Suave Essentials Daily Clarifying Shampoo to remove residue from hair without stripping it of its moisture.

Have you tried a cleansing conditioner? When do you use it?