Have you perhaps heard of co-washing, but didn’t know exactly what it is? Co-washing is a big hit among those of us with natural hair. Co-washing refers to cleaning your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. You can just skip the shampoo step and go right to the conditioner!
Co-washing is beneficial for hair because you’ll be avoiding the sulfates that are in most shampoos. These sulfates are what makes shampoos and liquid soaps nice and foamy, but they are powerful chemicals that will completely strip all of the natural oils from your hair. Conditioners also have cleaning agents within them, so you don’t need to worry that your hair won’t actually be getting clean.
Remember, if you do decide that you want to use shampoo, go with the sulfate free brands.
The best conditioner to use when you are co-washing is one with either no silicones at all or one with water soluble silicones. Sillicones are the substances in conditioner that make your hair soft and shiny. To avoid build up in your hair, it’s best to use a conditioner that doesn’t have them. Water soluble sillicones will come out of your hair easily when you rinse the conditioner out.
Dimethicone Copolyl and PEG Modified Dimethicone are two of the most common water soluable sillicones. Check your conditioner to make sure that it has those ingredients. Many conditioners have these ingredients, so don’t worry about searching too hard or spending a lot of money.
You should co-wash your hair about as much as you would normally wash it. If your wash day is usually once a week, you can just co-wash on that day instead. You may not want to co-wash more that two or three times a week, though, to avoid too much product buildup or risk allowing your hair to become dull. If this does happen, a simple remedy is to clarify your hair with apple cider vinegar. I like to add a cup of cooled green tea to my vinegar so my hair gets the added benefits of antioxidants.