If you are a newbie to the natural hair care world or a natural hair veteran, I’m sure you have heard the term “co-washing” a lot. Co-wash simply means to cleanse the hair and scalp by using a rinse-out conditioner instead of a traditional shampoo. I know what you’re thinking: “You don’t use shampoo!” Well, it’s not as weird as it sounds. Co-washing has become a curly girl’s best friend.
Moisture is very important when you are transitioning or trying to maintain your curly locks. Traditional shampoos contain sulfates, which can strip your natural hair of moisture. Regular shampoo usage can also leave natural hair feeling dry, brittle and can promote frizz.
How to Co-Wash
First you must find a rinse-out conditioner that works well with your hair type. This isn’t always easy, and will require a bit of trial and error. Keep in mind that everyone’s hair type is different and that a certain conditioner might work great for your friend but be horrible you. Also, remember that the pricier it is does not mean that it’s better. I prefer Suave products for my co-washes.
Once you find a conditioner that you like, simply rinse your hair with warm water. Make sure that the water is not too hot or too cold. Hot water can damage the hair, while cold water will not cleanse the hair and scalp properly.
After rinsing your hair for 2-3 minutes, pour a quarter sized amount of conditioner in your hand and start applying it to sections of your hair. If you detangle your hair while it is wet, this would be a good time to do that. The conditioner will provide good slippage to your hair making it easier to comb through any tangles you may have. Once you have finished detangling, let the conditioner sit on your hair for a few minutes. This will allow the conditioner to penetrate the hair. I like to co-wash my hair while in the shower. I let the steam from the shower help the conditioner to penetrate my hair strands. Once you have let the conditioner sit for awhile, rinse your hair with warm water and apply styling products if desired.
- 1. Make sure you remove all conditioner from your scalp. Leaving conditioner on the scalp may cause it to itch later.
- 2. Don’t use a towel to dry your hair. Try using an old cotton T-shirt instead. Towels can snag the hair which can lead to breakage and frizz.
- 3. Alternate with a low sulfate or sulfate free shampoo. If you are not totally comfortable with going shampoo free, you can use a low sulfate or sulfate-free shampoo in between co-washes for a deeper clean. The frequency of using shampoo is totally up to you. I use a sulfate-free shampoo once a month when I deep condition my hair.
I hope this article helped you in your natural hair journey. Happy co-washing!