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Lets talk About Co Washing

Written By michels Ella on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 | 13:30


I think I'm finally beginning to see the appeal of Co-Washing my hair.
Before I went natural I didn't have a clue what "Co-washing" was. For those who are as clueless as I was, Co-washing just means means washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. "Co-Wash" is short for a conditioner wash.

About Co-Washing
It's a great way to gently clean hair without drying it out.

  • Although some sources* disagree, most state that conditioners contain ingredients that also act as very gentle cleansers, making them a good alternative for cleaning hair. 
  • Conditioners also have a lot of slip, which reduces tangles when washing the hair.  Less tangles equals less friction damage, and of course less time detangling.
  • Don't expect lots of bubbles. It's not soap so it's not likely to have suds.
  • "Not all conditioners should be used to clean hair."1
    According to The Science Of Black Hair2 "Lightweight, watery-type conditioners are preferable".
  • Although co-washing is a great alternative, shampooing or some form of clarifying cleanser should still be used occassionally to prevent product build-up on the hair shaft, which can lead to breakage.

Co-Washing Tips
  • It's a good idea to use a cheap conditioner as you're likely to use quite a lot of it. At the moment I'm loving Tresemme Naturals - Vibrantly smooth, but I'm on the look out for other recommendations.
    Got any?

  • After co-washing, try using Leave-In conditoners and Styling products that contain "water soluble"3, or no silicones in their ingredients. Co-washing may not be strong enough to cleanse the hair of heavy silicones.

 My Experience
I never used to co-wash, mainly because I couldn't see the point.
I wash my hair once a week by which time I tend to think that it's probably in need of a good cleanse and a deep condition anyway; or maybe I have a touch of OCD, and just like sticking to my traditional routine. Either way I never bothered until recently.
Today was the 2nd time I've used Tresemme Naturals - Vibrantly Smooth Conditioner to Co-Wash my hair. I've heard it recommended by a lot of other ladies, and I finally see why. My hair feels so lovely and soft, and I've realised that there's no need to pre-poo or detangle my hair before-hand as the conditioner provides enough slip to really minimise my tangles .
My hair wash time is cut in half and a 900ml bottle of Tresemme is under a fiver or less when it's on sale.
I start by soaking my hair under warm water before applying the conditioner, working it through my hair and then rinsing. I do this 2 or 3 times before finally towel drying my hair and applying a leave-in.

* - The Following sources were referenced in the above post:
1 - Book: Going Natural by M. Liong-A-Kong
2 - Book: The Science Of Black Hair by
3 - Website: BGLH

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