Your Ultimate Guide To Understanding Co-Washing


Usually, people wash their hair every third day because washing it anytime sooner dries the hair out. Naturally curly or coily hair is dryer than other hair textures and so, frequent hair washing can wreck its health. That is where co-washing comes in. Co-washing is a haircare trend that focuses on the practice of washing the hair (only) with a conditioner. Co-washing is more popular with people who have curly hair as it provides deep hydration and moisture to the hair. It is excellent to strengthen the hair shaft while giving curls a bounce of freshly washed hair.

What Is Co-Washing?

Co-washing is the process of washing the hair with only a conditioner and skipping the shampoo part of it (aka no poo). It removes the buildup while cleansing the hair without the lather and ingredients found in a shampoo that dries out the hair. Most people lean towards co-washing as it causes less damage to the hair while providing the optimum cleansing required to go through the week. Unshampooed hair contains oils; and when co-washed, it combines with the moisturising agents of the conditioner, leaving the hair smoother and softer.

How To Co-Wash Select The Right Products?

If you are ready to give this trend a go, the first thing you would need is to understand your hair. Do you have dry hair or is your hair oily? If your hair is coarse or dry, co-washing once a week would be a good idea; however, if you fall into the oily hair category like me, washing your hair every third day would keep your hair clean while eliminating the dirt and oil. Step number two would be to pick out the right co-washing product. No matter what hair type you have, make sure to not use a product with silicones. Products with silicones coat the hair and cause buildup, which tends to make your hair look dull and lifeless.

The ingredients to look for in a co-washing conditioner are emollients like oils and wheat germ to reduce frizz and soften the hair. Proteins like wheat or soy protein coat the hair shaft to protect it. Humectants like honey and vegetable glycerin will suck up the water while retaining moisture. Lastly, moisturisers like amino acids or mineral oils to maintain shine and softness in your hair.

Instructions for Co-Washing the Hair:
1. Wet the hair
2. Work in the co-washing conditioner onto the scalp and hair as you would with a regular shampoo
3. Rinse the hair entirely as required
4. Use a leave-in conditioner to complete the process

Mistakes To Avoid While Co-Washing

Avoid using a regular conditioner for co-washing. As mentioned above, co-washing is washing your hair with a conditioner but the ones catered for this specific purpose. A regular conditioner will not cleanse the hair and scalp thoroughly and might cause buildup.

Keep away from products that have heavy oils. It is tough to clean the hair and scalp off petroleum-based products without a lathering agent like sodium lauryl found in everyday shampoos. Using more water-based products will do the trick while keeping the hair daisy fresh. Skipping a detox hair mask would be a no-no. Detox hair masks clear away the oils that get accumulated on the scalp over time. The purpose of co-washing is to have a gentle method of cleansing the hair but don’t miss out on the scalp. Massage it during the process to remove the grime.

A common mistake we tend to make is not detangling the hair before washing it. The products will deliver better results if they can reach hair strands properly. So use a detangling brush, a comb or just your fingers but ensure your hair is tangle-free.

Here are some co-wash products to get you started –

The Earth Collective - Co-Wash
Manetain Oh So Cool! Co-Wash
Aveda Be Curly Co-Wash Shampoo
As I Am - Coconut Co-Wash
Made By Beautiful - True Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner

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