What is co-washing?

Co-washing is all the rage in hair care right now, but what does it even mean?  “Co-washing” is the abbreviated term for “conditioner washing,” which is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a method of cleansing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Originally, it was intended for use by those with naturally curly or textured hair, the co-washing community horizon has broadened to include dry, dehydrated and damaged hair types, typically from coloring. Shampoo uses surfactants to create that squeaky-clean lather, and while conditioner also contains surfactants, it’s formulated with significantly less.

Why should I do it?

The purpose of co-washing is to preserve the natural oils of the hair while still gently cleansing, allowing for better hydration for super-dry and frizzy hair types and less color stripping for colored hair. The goal is to make hair healthier overall, with lessof the stripping-replenishing cycle that washing then conditioning creates.  Dry, dehydrated and damaged hair types find great success with co-washing, as do those with naturally curly or wavy hair.  Personally, I’ve seen less split-ends and damage to my tresses and my hair is much softer and frizz free than it’s ever been before.

How do I do it?

10420393_10152647652163842_5664191382211802666_nMany people say that the trick to co-washing is to shampoo your hair every once in a while. Straight-up co-washing without any shampoo whatsoever is beneficial mainly to those with extremely dry hair, while the rest of us can get away with shampooing once a week and sticking to co-washing the rest of the time.

With that said, the best way to start is with an inexpensive drugstore conditioner such as Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner, rubbing it into your scalp as you would shampoo, then rinse, no additional conditioner necessary.  If you find you like how it makes your hair and scalp feel after a few weeks to a month, upgrade to a more long term option like Unwash’s bio-cleansing conditioner.  


This past Summer I was so sick of my hair and all the damage I chopped it all off.  Here’s the gradual cut until it went slightly above my shoulders.

2015-01-19 17.07.32

In less than a couple months, my hair has grown a good 2 inches, I have to continually trim it to keep my “lob” hairstyle.  My texture went from being, frizzy, wavy and out of control to being able to wash and wear without having to use a straightener or any other product to manage it.  Give it a try… I hope these tips help you on your co-washing journey!


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