You may have heard the term "co-washing" especially if you go online for tips and information on your hair. Co-Washing is the process of cleansing your hair using conditioner, no shampoo. There are many articles written about the process and suggestions on how to co-wash and what to use. As a professional hair coach I train my clients on how and when to co-wash the correct way with the correct products to avoid wax build-up and product interference.
Most hair conditioners, particularly those made for textured hair are full of what we call "leave behinds" ingredients that sit on top of and coat the hair strand, making it heavy, spongy, goopy or worse stop the penetration of other beneficial hair products. These types of conditioners require sulfate shampoos to get rid of them and to me that defeats the purpose. They are now making products called "conditioning cleansers", I know right, so confusing. Stick with your coach and protect yourself from the deafening roar of useless information.
The co-wash technique does not lend itself well to some situations, such as styles that require the removing of excess oil from the hair; routines that require infrequent cleansing and fine textured hair are all situation deal breakers.
Some important things to consider before you add co-washing to your regime as well as links to the products I recommend.
1. Consider your hair type and styling routine before using this cleansing technique.
2. Use hydrating not strengthening conditioners and those without wax or silicones. Too much strength can drive out moisture in the hair.
3. Use the correct conditioner for your hair type.
4. Every third or fourth cycle should be with a clarifying shampoo.
5. Be sure your styling products are water soluble.
Do you co-wash, which products do you use? Do you like the effects?
Co-washing is my favorite way to add moisture (water) to my hair. I have coily hair and wet my hair every 3-5 days. So every fourth cycle I use a Deep Cleanse and a hydrating treatment followed by a balanced blended oil.
Technique: Soak hair completely, use the pads of your fingers to massage the scalp while running water over your head, the same actions as when you shampoo. Rinse out any styling products, remove excess water then add a small amount of conditioner working it through the hair. Add a little more if needed. Leave the conditioner in for at least 5 minutes, rinse completely. Add an oil blend to hair after to complete the hydration process.
Note: Pay attention to any changes to your hair after adding this technique to your routine. Does your hair look or feel heavy especially on top of your head? Could be build up. You may have to make changes to the products or the timing.
Want to learn if co-washing is the right technique for you? Want to learn how to design a personal hair routine that works? Self discovery online course coming soon!