Co-washing has taken the natural hair community by storm. The term meaning condition washing, is a curly girl’s way of taking a stand against shampoos. Most people with curly or coily hair types have opted for low-poo or no-poo methods as a means of hair care. But is co-washing right for you? Are you even doing it properly? Here’s everything you need to know.
1. The Right Co-wash Should Cleanse
Since a co-wash is literally a conditioner that is meant to replace your shampoo, it makes sense that it would both cleanse and condition. It is a replacement to the traditional two-step wash day system. Without the cleansing component you’re doing your hair a disservice that may result in limp, greasy, damaged hair.
2. Pay Attention To The Ingredients
Don’t get caught up in a company’s marketing! We cannot stress this enough. If your co-wash is a cleansing conditioner then you should be able to identify the ingredient doing the cleansing. As a rule of thumb, if the ingredient list of your co-wash looks almost exactly like the ingredient list of your conditioner, it’s probably not much different and doesn’t fulfill its dual purpose.
3. Avoid Silicones
Silicones may leave hair feeling good immediately after washing with products containing them. You will, however, quickly find that they’ll become a co-washers worst enemy when you have a ton of build-up. Build-up over time leaves hair feeling weighed down and looking dull. Silicones don’t penetrate the hair shaft. Instead it sits on top coating it.
If you continue to use a co-wash made of silicones you may find that your hair “stops liking” even your favorite staple products over time. The reason? Because the product cannot penetrate the hair! Using silicones and only co-washing is a quick and easy way to suffocate your hair and cut it off from essential nourishment. In extreme cases it may even stunt your hair’s growth.
The word every curly girl cringes at. The curlier the hair the less we want to think of “stripping” our hair. Think of clarifying your hair as hitting the reset button. Hitting reset gives your hair cuticle a chance to breathe. Often times after clarifying you’ll find your hair responds better to products overtime. If you choose the right clarifying shampoo and conditioner duo, your hair will thank you. You may even consider a clay mask or apple cider vinegar.
5. Co-Washing May Be Off Limits If You Have A Scalp Condition
Dermatitis as well as a variety of other scalp conditions may require you to use specific, medically prescribed shampoos to effectively treat the condition. Your scalp’s health is extremely important to proper hair growth and should be taken seriously. A regimen that neglects shampoo could be detrimental to those who face such conditions. It’s never a bad idea to talk to your doctor/dermatologist if you’re considering making the move to co-washing. Be sure to go over the ingredients with them to ensure its the right product for you.
6. It Is No Excuse For Neglecting Your Scalp
Just because you aren’t using shampoo doesn’t mean you should avoid scrubbing (gently) your scalp. It’s not enough to simply apply the product to your hair. Remember, your hair grows out from your scalp so neglecting it won’t yield favorable results. This is also why it is so important that your co-wash actually cleans!
7. No, You’re Deep Conditioner Is Not A Good Co-Wash Substitute
We’ve already established that your co-wash should have different ingredients than that of your conditioner. The same applies for deep conditioners. Most deep conditioners are formulated to be moisture intensive or to deliver protein to the hair. Neither focuses on cleansing.
8. Some Hair Types Benefit From Co-Washing While Others Don’t
You may be the kind of naturalista who avoids hair typing. However, curly/coily hair that is more textured and may struggle with dryness are more likely to see benefits from co-washing as opposed to someone with a looser curl pattern whose main concern is combating greasy hair.
9. Lather Isn’t Necessarily Indicative Of Effectiveness
You may have a co-wash that lathers like a shampoo but doesn’t do a good job of conditioning. Or you may have a co-wash that doesn’t lather at all and conditions well but doesn’t cleanse enough. These are only two examples in an unending string of possibilities. Judge the effectiveness of a product based on how your hair feels and looks after using it and with continued use.
Now that you know what a co-wash is, and how to properly do it, you should feel more confident and better equipped to make a decision about adding a co-wash to your regimen and which one to add. If you are looking for a low later co wash that packs moisture and still has the ability to gently clean, check out our Caribbean Coils Cleansing CoWash. It has peppermint and cocomidopropyl betaine to stimulate the scalp and gently remove dirt. It's also packed with moisturizing ingredients such as Aloe and Shea Butter to leave your hair soft and easy to detangle!