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Have You Been Co-Washing Your Natural Hair The Right Way?

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You may or may not have heard about co-washing natural hair and wondering how it works.  By the end of this article you should have a clearer understanding of what co-washing is and if it will be effective for you and your natural hair practices.

Co-washing is a term that refers to washing your hair with a conditioner, rather than with shampoo. The theory behind this method of using a conditioner in replacement of a shampoo is to help your hair to retain as much moisture as possible.   


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Some people have had adverse reactions to certain ingredients contained within shampoos particularly ingredients such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate so co-washing can be a great way to reduce the impact of shampoo.

The theory behind the whole process is that co-washing conditions the scalp without stripping it of its natural oils and leaves hair easier to manage.  Doing this saves you from having to constantly try to replace the lost natural oils from your hair with other products.  If you are interested in finding out the best oils for natural hair you can take a look at this.  Remember usually there are no harsh detergents or sulfates in the product used for co-washing which is why many people opt for it.

This article will explore co-washing for natural hair, and the benefits it has to offer in more detail.


What Is Co-Washing?

Co-washing is a cleansing method that uses conditioner instead of shampoo. Co-washes are often gentler on natural hair because they don’t contain the harsh detergents that can be found in traditional shampoos and shampoo soap bars.



How To Co-Wash Natural Hair

To co-wash your hair, you will need to get a conditioner that is designed specifically for cleansing. You will also want some clear water in order to rinse out the excess product from your strands.

You can apply the conditioner in sections all over your scalp and hair shaft, then work it through from the roots to the ends.

Coat your hair with a generous amount of conditioner, then allow it to sit for about five minutes before you rinse out the product. My favourite product for co-washing is the As I Am Coconut cowash.  I love it because it does a great job at cleansing my hair and scalp plus it smells really great too.  You can check it out here.

Be sure not to overload your hair with too much conditioner during this process; a couple of pumps should be sufficient. Remember when co-washing you may not get your hair to lather in the same way that it would if you were to shampoo so just bear that in mind. Just because you don’t see the lather does not mean it’s not doing a good job at cleansing your hair.

Next, rinse out the conditioner with plenty of water as this will help remove any excess residue that is left in your hair follicles and strands from the co-wash process.

The key to co-washing is to use a gentle, moisturising conditioner that won’t strip your hair of its natural oils. Co-washes are especially good for those who have curly or kinky hair because the process will help remove styling product build-up and residue from products like gels and creams without disturbing curl pattern too much.


Co-washing natural hair


Benefits of Co-Washing

Here are the benefits of trying out a co-wash for natural hair:

  • Gentle on the scalp and leaves hair feeling moisturised.
  • Good at removing product buildup and residue from styling products.
  • Helps to maintain moisture balance in the hair’s cuticle layer.
  • No harsh sulfates, so there is less risk of frizz.


How Often Should You Co-Wash Natural Hair?

When it comes to how often you should co-wash, that is really just personal preference. Some people might choose to do so every three days or once every 2 weeks. This will depend on your scalp and your hair type, as well as the products you use in your everyday hair routine. It’s also worth noting that you don’t necessarily have to co-wash every time you wash your hair.  It is perfectly acceptable to alternate co-washing with shampooing.

For most people, a weekly or biweekly co-washing routine is sufficient enough for maintaining healthy natural hair. However, it all depends on what your specific needs and goals are! If you want softer strands that retain more moisture throughout the week, there is nothing wrong with co-washing every day.  I used to do this a lot at the beginning of my natural hair journey as I found it a very quick and easy process.


Can I Co-Wash With Regular Conditioner?

You can use a regular conditioner but you may not get the same results. The key to co-washing is finding a conditioner that has been designed especially for this cleansing process and will be gentler on your hair.

 A regular conditioner can be used as a co-wash but you may find that after a while your scalp still has quite a lot of build up.  To avoid this mix it up every now and again with a cleansing co-wash like this to really make sure that you are getting both your strands and your scalp as clean as possible.


Should You Condition After Co-Washing?

No, it is not recommended to use a conditioner after co-washing. Co-washes are designed to get rid of residue and impurities out of your hair without stripping too much moisture or natural oils from the strands at the same time.  Using a conditioner after a cowash is completely not necessary.  However, if you still feel the need to condition after a co-wash there is no real harm in it.  

Cleansing conditioners are formulated to cleanse and hydrate at the same time by restoring natural oils that have been stripped away from hair follicles during shampooing. They also work as a replacement for traditional shampoos because they don’t contain harsh chemicals or detergents. This is perfect for those who are looking to add a little moisture back into their strands without having the hair feel oily and weighed down by product buildup!


Is Co-Washing Bad?

Co-washing is not bad! The only thing to be mindful of when deciding to co-wash is that it does not provide the same deep clean as a regular shampoo does. There are also some co-washes on the market that might contain sulfates and other harsh ingredients, so if you’re going for an all-natural routine, make sure to read your labels before you make a purchase.

For some people, co-washing works well as a way to cleanse the hair and scalp without stripping away too much of your hairs natural oils. This is especially good news for those of us who have curly or kinky hair because it won’t disturb our curl pattern by making our hair dry.

Co-washes are gentle on your scalp and will leave your hair feeling moisturised, which is perfect for those who have delicate scalps or are experiencing dryness. It’s worth noting that co-washing doesn’t just apply to curly hair. Anyone with any type of natural locks can give it a try!


Final Thoughts On Co-Washing For Natural Hair

Co-washing for natural hair is the process of using conditioner instead of shampoo. When done correctly, this can be a really good way to cleanse your hair and keep it looking healthy and shiny.

Hopefully, you found this article helpful in understanding co-washing for natural hair. If you have any questions or have tried co-washing before, let me know in the comment section below.


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Should you co-wash or shampoo and condition?

As I Am Coconut Co-wash Review

How often should you wash your hair?