Co-washing, quite simply, is using a conditioner to wash your hair. It goes without saying that the best cleanser for dirty hair and product build-up is shampoo but, in the natural hair community, co-washing is a supported in-between refresher as over-shampooing can cause one’s hair to become quite dry and that is undesirable, regardless of your hair type. I did a little bit of research and naturallycurly.com recommends that you avoid co-washing if:
- You experience scalp problems or build up.
- If your daily products contain heavy oils or silicone.
- If you work in a dusty environment.
(You can read the article at length here)
My personal experience with co-washing has been amazing. I use co-washing as a refresher on day three of my five-day wash cycle. Unlike washing with shampoo, co-washing adds some fresh moisture without stripping my hair of its essential oils that it produces naturally. I find that my product application works best after co-washing and that my ‘co-wash and go’ leaves my curls really defined and that there is a beautiful shine to my hair.
So how would you know if you should be co-washing?
Well, I would recommend trying a conditioner application (as a pseudo co-wash before purchasing a co-wash) on day two or three of your wash-day cycle. You should rinse out the initial product, apply your conditioner and massage your head in the way that you would when lathering with shampoo. I usually comb my hair to detangle and spread the conditioner and then I make sure that I rinse my hair thoroughly. Be sure to pay attention to your hair and scalp on that day and the day(s) following your co-wash. If your hair appears to be dry or feels strum or greasy, then perhaps co-washing isn’t the best solution for refreshing your particular strand. If you are happy with your results and do not experience any build-up or dandruff, then this may be an in-between solution to refreshing your curls.
Be sure not to neglect shampooing your hair in favour of co-washing!
Initially, I would use my ordinary conditioner but I have fallen in love with the TRESemme Botanic Cleansing Conditioner. The Botanic range is formulated for natural hair and the Co-Wash has 0% parabens, dyes and sulphates, music to a naturalista’s ears! I would recommend their Co-Wash along with the Botanic shampoo and conditioner as they are regular favourites in my shower.
Have you tried co-washing? Share your experiences in the comment section.
Until my next post,