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Co Washing 101: Everything You Need To Know About Washing Your Hair With Conditioner

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Photo: YouTube.com/shlinda1

We’ve had a harsh winter this year and keeping your hair hydrated can be difficult. One way I discovered to keep my locs hydrated is co-washing.

Washing My Hair Without Shampoo?

Co washing, (or Conditioner Washing), is the process of washing your hair with a conditioner that has cleansing properties. One common misconception is that co washing was only designed for curly hair types. Although co-washing does help enhance and hydrate curls, straighter hair types can benefit by getting more bounce and body too.

Since I’ve started co-washing my hair, my hair color has lasted longer and my scalp has never been more hydrated and healthy. Unlike shampoos, cleansing conditioners do not contain sulfates, which strip your hair of its natural oils. This allows for more moisture to be locked in for damaged hair and less color stripping for colored hair. Despite all these strengths, I honestly was terrified to take the co-washing plunge for two reasons:

Concern No. 1- It doesn’t get sudsy

Indeed, cleansing conditioners do not get bubbly/sudsy like traditional shampoos we are all used to. And most people, like myself, correlate that sudsy feeling to squeaky clean hair.  At first it will be awkward washing your hair with a cleansing conditioner, but over time and with regular use, you will become a co-washing pro and fall in love with the results.

Concern No. 2- Won’t It Leave Build Up?

My second greatest co-wash fear was having endless gunk ooze from my locs from suddenly removing shampoo from my hair care regimen. No one wants their hair to be weighed down or be built up with product. Fortunately, cleansing conditioners do not leave product build up on your hair. In fact, it will leave your hair feeling soft, full of body, and manageable.

My Favorite Co-Wash

Deva Curl No-Poo

Since taking the co-washing plunge 8 months ago, I’ve experimented with a few brands before finding two products that I love. DevaCurl No-Poo cleansing conditioner is a great first time cleansing conditioner. This brand’s claim to fame is the art of perfecting your natural curl pattern, so it was only natural for them to create a cleansing conditioner.

It’s lightweight formula helps you to make an easy transition to co-washing, as it won’t leave your hair feeling greasy after use. As an added bonus, this product is loaded with natural essential oils: Peppermint Oil, Balm mint, and Chamomile which stimulate, calm, moisturize, and add shine to hair.


Photo: mamakbest.com


Do you find that your hair and scalp is a bit more difficult to manage? No worries! There is a co-wash system for you as well.

Chaz Dean’s Wen, originally designed as a way to prevent color fading on color treated hair, is a product which soon took on a life on its own once clients fell in love with its multitude of healing properties.

The main ingredients (Glycerin, Chamomile Extract, Wild Cherry Bark, Rosemary Extract, and Panthenol) are cultivated to penetrate the hair shaft to add moisture,  to soothe and calm the scalp, and to strengthen your hair overall.

Now at first wash, you will feel as if your hair is a bit over hydrated. I assure you this is due to the glycerin in this product which is a natural humectant, or a substance used to lock in moisture. Once your scalp is used to this product (for me it took three uses), that feeling will vanish away.

Another reason why I love Wen, is it’s full line of treatment cleansing conditioners. I personally love using the Tea Tree Wen which helps me combat my seborrheic dermatitis, or eczema on my scalp. My sister loves using the Fig Wen because it’s a bit more hydrating for hair types with tighter curl patterns. They even have a Lavender Wen for the hair type who feels that their hair needs more body and bounce.


Photo: renegadechicks.com

Pro Tip:

Doing a hot oil treatment right before you co-wash is a great way to deep condition your hair. I suggest using LocLov’s Hair Nectar. Not only will it leave your hair smelling great but, it will help promote detangling, moisturizing, and adding shine to your hair!

Now that I’ve passed on my secrets of co-washing, I challenge you to take the co-washing plunge with me. I promise you once you find one you love, it will be difficult going back to shampoos.

Co Washing 101: Everything You Need To Know About Washing Your Hair With Conditioner
Article Name
Co Washing 101: Everything You Need To Know About Washing Your Hair With Conditioner
Learn the benefits of co-washing for moisture, detangling and healthy hair