Traditional shampoos can give you bad hair days. Often times, these shampoos leave your hair tangled, feeling dry, and strips your hair of its natural oils after each wash day. Because most shampoos contain drying agents that strip the hair of all its much-needed moisture and damages your hair strands, the co-washing technique should be embraced as a better option for natural hair to clarify and cleanse the hair and scalp.
If you're thinking of adopting co-washing into your natural hair routine, we will be showing you easy steps on how to co-wash your natural hair for a healthier hair journey.
What Is Co-Washing?
Co-washing is short for conditioner washing, which involves washing your hair with just conditioner and water. Co-washing can be a useful addition to your healthy hair regimen, as it allows your natural hair to thrive, retain its length, and stay moisturized.
You are probably excited about your wash day, because, after every wash, your hair is left feeling soft, shiny, and moisturized, your natural afro is flourishing. So you wash your hair every week with shampoo but within three days or more, even with your squeaky clean hair and scalp, your hair is left feeling dry, brittle, and dull.
The regular shampoo used, which contains sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) a harsh cleaning agent, strips your hair of the necessary moisture it needs and causes your strands to split over time. This is where a co-wash routine comes into play, it softens, hydrates and moisturizes your hair, so it always looks and feels the way it did after you washed it. Co-washing is also a unique method for cleansing your natural hair extensions, clip ins, or bundles.
If you have thicker hair, a daily conditioner that you probably use for your hair is just what you need to co-wash. But if your hair isn't on the thick side, you should stick to a co-washing cleanser, which is designed to do the work of co-washing better. Unlike traditional conditioners, they contain more cleansing agents in the form of natural ingredients like aloe vera which help to gently remove dirt from the hair and scalp.
Pay attention to the ingredients that come with your conditioner, if you co-wash frequently, try to stay away from conditioners with silicone or proteins. Most silicones are not water-soluble so they can add a suffocating layer to your hair strands which are hard to wash out without the use of harsh detergents. It is recommended that you co-wash at least once a week for healthy, hydrated, and defined natural curls.
Benefits of Co-washing Natural Hair
1. Helps with Moisture Retention
If you need an extra bit of moisture for your natural hair, co-washing helps with that. Shampoos tend to strip the hair of its moisture but with a good cowash conditioner, your hair stays hydrated and is better suited to retain moisture.
2. Prevents Dry, Frizzy Hair
Sulfate shampoos leaves the hair squeaky clean while also stripping the hair and scalp of its natural oils. These natural oils produced by our hair follicles are important because they keep our curls healthy and moisturized. The constant use of these shampoo prevents oils from getting to your ends and when your ends are moisture starved, they become dry and frizzy then possibly break off. Co-washing your hair will prevent this from happening.
3. Reduces Hair Breakage/Shedding
Dry hair will always experience (excessive) breakage. So switching to a co-washing routine will help to add moisture to your strands and keep your hair cuticles strong. When your ends are healthy and well nourished through the help of co-washing then your hair becomes less prone to breakage or shedding.
4. Makes Detangling A Breeze
Detangling can be a lot of work especially for very tight coils. Using a cowash with a good slip can make all the difference during the detangling process. Co-washing the hair helps to loosen up those annoying single strand knots and tangles easily.
5. Adds Shine To The Hair
Co-washing primarily moisturizes the hair and while at it, adds shine to the hair. And the more you cowash, the more your hair stays super hydrated and shiny. You also get a bonus benefit of softer strands and better curl definition.
What you Need to Co-Wash your Natural Hair
- Conditioner or co-washing cleanser
- Wide-tooth comb
- Old t-shirt
How to Co-Wash your Natural Hair
- Start with damp hair. Be sure to wet your hair before you apply the conditioner to your hair, this helps to distribute the product evenly throughout your hair.
- Part your hair into four sections.
- Divide one section into smaller sections of hair and lather over it thoroughly from root to tip with your conditioner or co-washing cleaner.
- Run your hands through your hair and finger detangle that section of hair.
- With your fingertips, massage and cleanse your scalp gently to stimulate blood flow through the scalp.
- Comb through the hair with a wide-tooth comb and then put it into a twist.
- Move on to the next section of hair and repeat the same process.
- After you are done with other sections of hair, it's time to wash it off. Don't unravel your twists, wash it while it is still in twists, this makes your hair more manageable and styling easier too.
- Wash your hair thoroughly, putting your fingers between the twists to remove product buildup or grime. It's better to wash your hair under the shower, so the water can flow through your hair.
- Dry your hair with an old t-shirt. Never use a towel because its friction on the hair causes your strands to split.
- After it's dry, you can style as desired.
Still want more info about co-washing, @NaturallyPhilo will show you how to co-wash your natural hair the right way in this video tutorial: