Co-Washing - A Haircare Trend That Is Bringing Smiles To All The Curlies!

For years I have been experimenting with hair care products to tame my coarse and curly hair. I had been struggling to make my curls, soft and more manageable. It was just a couple of months back that I stumbled upon this term called ‘Co-washing’, which now has become an integral part of my hair care regime. Following this method has made me fall in love with my curls. If you are also new to dry, coarse, undefined, kinky or curly hair, then it’s time for you to try this out. Let me introduce you to this technique of Co-washing, which will make your dry, frizzy, unruly hair, more manageable and luxuriant. Keep reading till the end to know everything about Co-Washing, its benefits and how to perfect the art of co-washing, so that your curly strands can reap all the benefits of it.

What Is Co-Washing?

Co-Washing aka Conditioner only Washing is the latest trend to take the hair care grimes by storm. In this process, you can skip the shampoo and use only a conditioner to cleanse your hair. If you have got coarse, frizzy, curly or wavy hair, then you will definitely benefit from this method of washing your hair.
Your conditioner contains cationic surfactants or the quats such as cetrimonium and behentrimonium chloride, which when mixed with water attract dirt and leave your unshampooed curls clean. Using a conditioner only wash, hydrates your curls, leaving it soft and manageable, giving you positive results as compared to using harsh shampoos to cleanse your hair which may strip the natural oils from your strands. Hair experts recommend Co-Washing as the best method to keep your tousled, curly hair well hydrated.

Co-Wash Vs Conditioner - What You Should Look Out For When You Opt For Co-Washing?

Contrary to what you think, Co-Washing and Conditioning are not one and the same. The main objective of a mere conditioner is to hydrate, detangle and improve the flexibility of your strands, repair and strengthen your hair. On the other hand, cleansing conditioner is specially formulated to cleanse your hair and remove product buildup, thereby, improving the texture and appearance of your hair. Moreover, it is time saving technique as you can gain the benefits of cleansing and conditioning your hair in one go. While using a conditioner for co-washing, choose your conditioner with caution. Check the label and look out for terms such as ‘Co-Washes’ or ‘Cleansing Conditioners’. If you use any regular conditioner as an alternative to co-washing your hair, you may end up damaging your hair and scalp.

Benefits Of Co-Washing 

Many people prefer Co-Washing, as they feel it is a good idea to ditch the shampoo which is formulated with harmful chemicals such as sulphates which rob your hair of its natural oil. Experts say that people with dry, frizzy and textured hair, should add Co-Washing to their regular hair care routine to make it soft, smooth and more manageable. Now let’s jump onto the benefits of Co-Washing:

  1. If you want to keep your curls clean and well hydrated, then Co-washing is a great option as it conditions and at the same time mildly cleanses the curls without stripping natural oils from your hair.
  2. Have you ever experienced difficulty in styling your ultra-clean and super hydrated strands? Then you can switch to Co-washing, as it also aids in styling your hair.
  3. It is a time-saving technique, as you don’t have to separately use a shampoo and then a conditioner. Use a cleansing conditioner and you are good to go!
  4. After a heavy workout or travel, there is a need for shampooing as your scalp and hair are rid of all the accumulated dust, dirt and grime. Otherwise, on normal days, when you require mild cleansing, Co-washing can be a better option.
  5. It makes your hair stronger and healthier, retaining moisture in your strands thus making it less prone to breakage.

Steps To Co-Wash Your Natural Hair 

When you are skipping shampoo from your normal hair wash routine then you should be very careful and must be fully aware of the basic steps which you need to follow during Co-Washing. Let’s understand how Co-Washing should be done so that your curls get the maximum benefit out of it.

1. Wash Your Hair Thoroughly With Water 

Cleanse your hair with water first, as water aids in loosening the debris, making it easier to get rid of dirt and grime. It also helps in the easy application and even distribution of the product formula.

2. Take Good Amount Of Cleansing Conditioner

Take a liberal amount of cleansing conditioner depending upon the length and thickness of your hair. The conditioner is going to be used for cleansing and conditioning your hair.

3. Massage The Conditioner On Your Scalp And Work Towards The Tip Of Your Hair 

Unlike a regular conditioner which cannot be applied onto the scalp, your cleansing conditioner can be used on the scalp. Massage for 3-5 minutes so as to loosen product buildup and break down oil on your scalp. Distribute the product evenly all over your scalp and hair till the end. Leave it for at least 5 minutes so that the product gets absorbed before rinsing.

4. Rinse Thoroughly With Water

Use generous amount of water to rinse off the cleansing conditioner. Use your fingertips to massage the scalp while poring the water onto your scalp.

5. Apply Second Round Of Conditioner

Apply the second round of conditioner starting from the mid-shaft of the hair till the end. This process helps in detangling your curls and adds extra hydration to them. Ensure you don’t apply the conditioner on the scalp in the second round.
You can Co-Wash your hair, 2-3 times a week, depending upon the texture of your hair. Some people have extremely dry and dehydrated curls, this calls for extra hydration which can be supplied through co-washing the hair daily. Use a clarifying shampoo once in a month.

Can You Co-Wash With Any Conditioner? 

The type of conditioner which you use for Co-Washing totally depends on the texture of your hair. If your hair is on the thicker side and is highly porous then you can use the regular conditioner which is rich and ultra-hydrating, to Co-Wash your hair. If you have got fine or low porosity hair, then you can go for a conditioner which is specifically designed for a Co-Wash and the label should mention “cleansing conditioners”. Avoid conditioners with silicones such as dimethicone which is generally used in conditioners to make the strands smooth and soft. It can result in product buildup on your scalp and hair if you do not shampoo.

Quashing All The Myths About Co-Washing 

Majority of the people feel that Co-Washing will make their dry, dehydrated and unruly strands easier to tame. Yes, definitely Co-Washing Or Conditioner Only Washing can make your insanely frizzy, coarse, dull and dehydrated curls, more luxuriant and easy to manage, but the fact that over a period of time, Co-Washing can lead to product buildup on your scalp and hair cannot be ignored. So while Co-Washing, don’t forget to use a sulphate free clarifying conditioner to eliminate debris and product buildup. Lets us answer some common queries you might be having about Co-Washing your hair:

Will Co-Washing Make My Hair Greasy? 

Co-Washing can make your hair appear greasy in the first few months, but gradually your scalp starts conforming to the new change and produces less oil, making your scalp and hair less greasy. This possible as you are training your scalp to produce less oil by providing it with the much-required hydration it needs beforehand. In the first few weeks of Co-Washing observe how your hair and scalp respond to Co-Washing.

How Often Should You Co-Wash?

If you have an oily scalp, you can Co-Wash your hair 2-3 times a week or even more. If your scalp is less oily, then Co-Washing once a week will be sufficient. After Co-Washing you can use your leave-in conditioner to keep your strands well hydrated and get that perfect definition.

Can Co-Washing Promote Hair Growth?

Co-Washing does not directly promote hair growth, but it definitely hydrates and cleanses your scalp, hair, which adds strength and reduces hair breakage, promoting the healthy growth of hair.

What Are Some Natural Co-Washing Ingredients?

Coconut Oil and Hibiscus leaves are a great combination for Co-Washing your hair as hibiscus gently cleans your hair and scalp and coconut oil keeps your strands well hydrated.

Hope all your doubts have been answered via the article. If you have been waiting to try this technique of Co-Washing then its time to embrace this method and fall in love with your gorgeous curls!

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