Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Lets talk About Co Washing


I think I'm finally beginning to see the appeal of Co-Washing my hair.
Before I went natural I didn't have a clue what "Co-washing" was. For those who are as clueless as I was, Co-washing just means means washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. "Co-Wash" is short for a conditioner wash.

About Co-Washing
It's a great way to gently clean hair without drying it out.

  • Although some sources* disagree, most state that conditioners contain ingredients that also act as very gentle cleansers, making them a good alternative for cleaning hair. 
  • Conditioners also have a lot of slip, which reduces tangles when washing the hair.  Less tangles equals less friction damage, and of course less time detangling.
  • Don't expect lots of bubbles. It's not soap so it's not likely to have suds.
  • "Not all conditioners should be used to clean hair."1
    According to The Science Of Black Hair2 "Lightweight, watery-type conditioners are preferable".
  • Although co-washing is a great alternative, shampooing or some form of clarifying cleanser should still be used occassionally to prevent product build-up on the hair shaft, which can lead to breakage.

Co-Washing Tips
  • It's a good idea to use a cheap conditioner as you're likely to use quite a lot of it. At the moment I'm loving Tresemme Naturals - Vibrantly smooth, but I'm on the look out for other recommendations.
    Got any?

  • After co-washing, try using Leave-In conditoners and Styling products that contain "water soluble"3, or no silicones in their ingredients. Co-washing may not be strong enough to cleanse the hair of heavy silicones.

 My Experience
I never used to co-wash, mainly because I couldn't see the point.
I wash my hair once a week by which time I tend to think that it's probably in need of a good cleanse and a deep condition anyway; or maybe I have a touch of OCD, and just like sticking to my traditional routine. Either way I never bothered until recently.
Today was the 2nd time I've used Tresemme Naturals - Vibrantly Smooth Conditioner to Co-Wash my hair. I've heard it recommended by a lot of other ladies, and I finally see why. My hair feels so lovely and soft, and I've realised that there's no need to pre-poo or detangle my hair before-hand as the conditioner provides enough slip to really minimise my tangles .
My hair wash time is cut in half and a 900ml bottle of Tresemme is under a fiver or less when it's on sale.
I start by soaking my hair under warm water before applying the conditioner, working it through my hair and then rinsing. I do this 2 or 3 times before finally towel drying my hair and applying a leave-in.

* - The Following sources were referenced in the above post:
1 - Book: Going Natural by M. Liong-A-Kong
2 - Book: The Science Of Black Hair by
3 - Website: BGLH


  1. When I went natural I always heard the term "Co-wash" and didn't really know what it meant either. Now co-washing is all I do and I wash my hair with shampoo once a month. Every time I co-wash I do a deep treatment.

    1. @Shanay, That's such a good idea, I may try that with my next co-wash too. Thanks for sharing x

  2. It makes a big difference when you co-wash your hair. The hair is easier to detangle. I use Trader Joe's condition which is $2.99. I live in the U.S.!

  3. I very rarely cowash anymore. I did when i first went natural and my hair was in a TWA and I liked wetting my hair several times per week. now that my hair is long and i've got an active toddler I wash once per week, so i usually pre-poo, shampoo then condition. I like Tre Semme naturals for cowashing

  4. Try Garnier Fructis Pure Clean I love it more than Tresseme, but you'd have to search online

  5. Co washing just doesnt work for me and my natural hair. It leaves my scalp itchy.

  6. When I'm on holiday somewhere hot like Ghana, I love co-washing...otherwise it's just long as part of my normal routine. Glad this regime is working for you though! Hope all is well xx


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