Co-washing has been around for a while, but it can be quite confusing. Here's everything you should know.
Co-washing stands for conditioner-only washing, which is a hair-cleansing technique that has become quite popular lately. Basically, co-washing is when you switch your shampoo for conditioner. This allows natural oils to cleanse and condition the hair, as opposed to the dryness that is usually caused by shampoo.
However, and despite the increasing popularity this technique has gained, there are a few things to keep in mind before you dive in.
What are the benefits of co-washing?
According to beauty chemist Ni'Kita Wilson, "traditional shampoos contain detergents, a kind of surfactant, that do their job of cleaning very well — meaning, they can also wash off the protective oils on the hair." Conditioners have surfactants, too, but no detergent. This is exactly why the offer cleansing without stripping your hair from its natural oils.
Is co-washing good for any hair type?
According to Wilson, co-washing is particularly good for curly and coil hair. Also, damaged hair can benefit from co-washing, so if that's your case, you might want to try it out, too.
If you have an oily scalp or oily hair, you should avoid co-washing, because shampoo removes oil, and it can help you keep a balance.
Do you need a special conditioner?
If you will occasionally shampoo your hair (once a week or once every few days), you can use your regular conditioner.
On the other hand, if you don't want to use shampoo ever again, you need to get yourself a cleansing conditioner. Keep in mind that cleansing conditioners are somewhat of a light shampoo, so it will remove your hair's natural oils, although in a much more gentle way.