Most people are aware of the benefits of using shampoos that don’t contain sulfates — the hair drying ingredient in most hair shampoos (and dishwashing detergents!). These sulfates give shampoos the foam and suds that we’ve become accustom to, but they strip the hair of its natural oils, making it dry and extremely difficult to detangle.
Co-washing or conditioner-washing is a way to clean your hair with a conditioner instead of harsh shampoos and retain the moisture in the hair. It might sound strange to totally eliminate shampoo from your hair cleansing routine, but using a conditioner can be as effective as shampoo.
Conditioners contain surfactants just like shampoo, but the surfactants in conditioners aren’t as harsh and drying on your hair as sulfate surfactants are. These gentle “secondary surfactants” will remove dirt, oil, and grime from your hair and scalp and leave it clean. Just use the same amount of manual friction as you would when using shampoo — scrub your scalp and hair with conditioner and it will get clean.
Here are just a few of the benefits of co-washing:
- helps to reduces knots and tangles
- will help to keep your hair soft and moisturized, which is especially important if you’re transitioning (from relaxed to natural hair)
- is great for hydrating the scalp
You don’t need a very expensive conditioner. Pick a light silicone-free conditioner. Here are a couple of recommendations:
- Suave Naturals conditioners (such as Suave Naturals Coconut)
- VO5 conditioners (lighter than the Suave conditioners)
How to co-wash:
- Use the conditioner as you would regular shampoo — taking a quarter-sized dollop and scrub your scalp
- Use more conditioner if you need to, scrubbing the scalp and hair with each dollop of conditioner
- After you’ve scrubbed your whole scalp with conditioner, take another small dollop and scrub the length of your hair like you would with shampoo
- When you rinse it out, keep scrubbing. The scrubbing while rinsing ensures that all the grime and oil is being lifted and carried away
Now you’ve co-washed and your hair is clean and moisturized! Let me know how this new way of cleansing your hair works for you.