Friday, May 27, 2011

The Truth About Co-Washing #naturalhair #teamnatural

Co-washing short for "conditioner washing" is a process of washing or cleansing the hair with a conditioner as opposed to a shampoo. Many naturalistas resort to co-washing because it does not strip the hair of natural oils like most shampoo's which contain sulfates (cleansing agent found in detergents and dish washing liquids). 

Curly hair is dryer than straight hair because the circular form of the curl pattern makes it harder for the sebum produced by the scalp to be transferred to the hair shaft. Co-washing aids the hair in providing additional moisture and is great for excessively dry hair. 

If your only means of cleansing is to co-wash this can cause a problem and potentially affect growth. The purpose of cleansing the hair with shampoo is to get rid of product build up and excess debris that can clog the pores. Conditioners should never be applied to the scalp because they are usually designed to be heavier and thicker in consistency (excess build up). With that said, co-washing is not bad but it should not be your only means of cleansing your hair. If you are a heavy co-washer you should wash with a regular shampoo at least once every two weeks. 

Ways to tell if your hair is over-moisturized and you NEED TO STEP AWAY FROM THE CONDITIONER:

Strand test: Take a strand of hair. Hold both ends (root to tip) and pull. If the strand stretches and then snaps or coils up on the ends it is time for a cleanse. 

Touch test: If your hair feels gummy like the tasty gummy bears/worms. It is time for a cleanse. 


  1. I have heard of Co-washing and I do not knock people from doing it but when it is the only way the hair is being "cleaned", then it is not being cleaned. When I had my first Natural Hair Meet Up I heard a woman say she was using up the last of her shampoo and will strictly Co-Wash.

  2. Finally! I've never understood the co-washing phenomenon and find it kind of nasty that someone wouldn't use shampoo to wash their hair. There are tons of non-stripping shampoos on the market. Or if you can't find one you like, make your own!

  3. I co-wash once or twice a week or after going to the gym alongside my weekly shampoos.

  4. I have fine, loose curly hair and met a lady with hair like mine who uses oil only on her hair for concern about build up and yet she fell for the co-washing dogma. Ok, not innocent myself, I have fallen for it too. It does not make sense anymore. I am all for oil only regimen, but even oils build up and can damage your hair if not washed off. I personally determined the best route for me is a one time application of an easily washed out oil and a good sulfate free shampoo that has no extensive list of ingredients that will eventually have to be stripped out of my hair. After all, the more you condition, the more you have to cleanse, and the more you have to cleanse, the more dry your hair will be. Better option is to trust a little oil, not being constantly reapplied, your sebum, water, and I also dc with catnip only now as it washes off easily.

    I don't care what race you are, hair is just not designed to be overwhelmed by so much product. There is a reason sebum exists. Products can often cause more problems than they solve when they throw everything off balance.

    Funny now that I do not apply something daily to my hair it is less dry and less stressed because the more I have to wash it, the more I have to mess with it.

  5. Cowashing is so overrated. The scalp cannot get clean with conditioner. Even if one uses a shampoo, conditioner isn't really supposed to be applied to the scalp. Therefore, cowashing cannot clean the scalp.


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