The Guide To Co-Washing Natural Hair

Co-washing is becoming extremely popular with naturals. But why? What if I told you the best shampoo for natural black hair was NO shampoo at all? Would you believe me?

Well, you don't have to believe me, you can take the advice of thousands of women that have the habit of co-washing natural hair on a regular basis. But before we talk about the benefits of this technique, let's explain what it is. I'm pretty sure someone is reading this right now thinking "What is a co wash???"...

What is co-washing?

To co-wash natural hair simply means to wash your hair with conditioner instead of with shampoo. In other words, it's "conditioner washing". Many naturals have taken to this method of cleansing their hair without shampoo, but why?

The answer is simple, when you avoid using shampoo you are avoiding all of the harsh detergents, polymers, binders and fillers — in other words, all the harmful things that strip your natural hair and scalp of all of its healthy properties and nutrients. When you co-wash natural hair you're cleansing with natural essential oils, botanicals and extracts.

 co-wash cleansing conditioner
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This leaves your hair in its healthiest state and giving your hair the best chance of staying hydrated and healthy after your wash.

Most co-washing conditioners have a small amount of gentle cleansers in them. Thousands of naturals can tell you that using conditioner to wash your hair works perfectly fine. Your hair is left clean, nourished and hydrated.

A curly girl has to take all measures to ensure that curls stay hydrated. A “no-poo” hair regimen that consists of regular co-washing can create beautifully nourished waves and curls.

Co-washing natural hair has become so popular that many natural hair care product companies are making co-washing cleansing conditioners along with gentle sulfate-free shampoos. Some women are OK with the gentle sulfate-free types and view them as the best shampoo for naturals, others avoid any type of shampoo regardless of claims that they are gentle on hair. It's an individual decision.

20 Top Co-Wash & Cleansing Conditioners

In an effort to embrace or capitalize on the co-washing trend, many hair care companies are now offering co-wash and cleansing conditioners.

Co-washing, or conditioning washing, got its start as a part of the Curly Girl Method. It is a component of the “no poo movement,” these products can be used as an all-in-one product that cleans, hydrates, and conditions the hair in one step. They gently cleanse with no suds or sulfates, leaving your hair soft and frizz-free. Many of these can be used on a daily basis.

  1. WEN Cucumber Aloe Cleansing Conditioner by Chaz Dean
  2. DevaCare No Poo 
  3. Nothing But Co-washing Conditioner
  4. Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner
  5. Pantene Pro-V Truly Natural Hair Co-Wash Conditioner
  6. L'Oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner
  7. Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner
  8. As I Am Cleansing Pudding
  9. Mizani Co-Wash Conditioning Cream
  10. Ouidad Curl Co-Wash
  11. Eden Body Works All Natural Cleansing CoWash
  12. Sheamoisture Co-wash Conditioning Cleanser
  13. As I Am Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner
  14. Wen Fig Cleansing Conditioner
  15. L`Oreal Paris EverCurl Hydracharge Cleansing Conditioner
  16. Darcy's Botanicals Daily Cleansing Conditioner Cream
  17. Hair One Olive Oil Cleansing Conditioner for Dry Hair
  18. Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Conditioner
  19. Curly Q's Curlie Cutie Cleansing Cream
  20. Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream

If you want to learn more about how to co-wash natural hair check out this infographic below that was made by Krystal from www.youngblacknappy.com, she gives you some nice co washing tips.

Co washing

Is Co-Washing Right For You?

So are you wondering if co-washing is best for your hair? Everyones hair is different to some extent but in general, if your hair is kinky, very curly or tends to dry out quickly, there's a good chance co-washing may help your hair. Conditioners help cleanse your hair because they many have traces of a detergent type called cationic surfactants, or “quats” for short. (Some common types that you may see on the ingredient list of your conditioners are behentrimonium and chloridecetrimonium.)

When mixed with water, the trace detergents wash away dirt, leaving your unshampooed hair feeling clean but not totally stripped of its natural oils. And of course, your hair gets conditioned from the conditioners that you are washing with. Washing without harsh shampoo helps your hair keep more of its natural oils and the conditioner's moisturizing agents help leave hair strands silkier and softer than shampooed hair.

Assuming that they have healthy scalps, women with color-processed hair may also benefit from co-washing their hair because it will help them go longer before needing another salon treatment. Co-washing hair doesn’t strip your strands of pigment the way that traditional shampoo cleansing can. So it may save you money and a few trips to the salon when you co wash hair. But there are people who don't have a need to co-wash hair.

If you don't have any problem with your hair getting too dry or brittle after washing, you may not have any need for co-washing. It never hurts to try it out for a set period of time and see how your hair responds.

Who Should NOT Co-Wash Hair?

There are also women who should not co-wash hair at all. This would usually be people with really straight or limp hair, hair that could easily get weighed down with oils. Also, women with naturally oily scalps or dermatitis should avoid co-washing as well. Co-washing by itself will not help either condition and could even make things worse, women with these conditions should stick to their regular shampoo and conditioner routine.