During one of our recent team meetings, our production manager Brittany happened to mention that she had started using a new hair care method called “co-washing.” I had never heard of such a thing, but Brittany explained that it’s a relatively new trend that’s been especially popular for people with curly or wavy hair.
Since my hair has always been stick-straight, I knew that meant I was probably not the right candidate for this particular method. But since I’m sure many of you out there have curly or wavy hair, I felt it was my duty to find out what co-washing is all about so I could pass it along to you.
So today we’ll go over all the important details about co-washing, including what it is, who should use it, and how it just might be the best thing you can do for your hair!
What Is Co-Washing?
Co-washing is short for “conditioner-only washing,” meaning you wash your hair only with conditioner rather than the traditional duo of shampoo and conditioner. The ideal results for co-washed hair fall somewhere between squeaky-clean and second-day hair: still clean, but softer, smoother, and easier to manage than freshly shampooed hair.
Who Should Use It?
The best candidates for co-washing are those with curly or wavy hair types. Co-washing is perfect for combating the dryness that often affects curly hair types.
Color-treated hair can also benefit from co-washing. Shampoo can quickly strip the pigment from color-treated hair, so this conditioner-only method may help you retain your hair’s color longer.
But not every hair type is a suitable candidate for co-washing. Those with fine, straight hair have found that only using conditioner can weigh their hair down. And those with oily hair or scalps may find that conditioner alone isn’t enough to get it truly clean.
How Does It Work?
Conditioners contain detergents called cationic surfactants, or “quats.” Quats pick up dirt while the conditioning agents smooth and soften your hair. Unshampooed hair retains natural oils better than hair cleaned with shampoo, so co-washed hair comes out clean, soft, and manageable.
How To Choose The Right Conditioner
If You Have Thick Hair: You can use just about any conditioner for co-washing! Just make sure to avoid conditioners with silicones and dimethicone in their ingredient lists. (These ingredients have a smoothing effect, but will leave behind buildup in hair that isn’t shampooed regularly.)
If You Don’t Have Thick Hair: You’ll get the best results using a conditioner designed specifically for co-washing. EverPure Cleansing Balm by L’Oreal is a popular and affordable option!
How To Co-Wash Your Hair
Step 1: Soak your hair with water, which will loosen debris and make it easier to rinse out.
Step 2: Apply a generous amount of conditioner to your hair and scalp. Make sure to use enough to coat your hair from root to tip.
Step 3: Massage the conditioner into your scalp, then let it sit for 3-5 minutes.
Step 4: Rinse, dry, and style your hair as usual.
You can use co-washing to replace or supplement your current hair care routine. Some people live and die by their twice-a-month co-washing routine. Others alternate between co-washing and shampooing. Everyone’s hair is unique, so do whatever works best for your hair! 🙂
Have you ever tried co-washing your hair?