CO WASHING 101
To co wash means to use only conditioner to cleanse you hair; The removal of shampoo from your hair washing routine and replacing it with conditioner.
In co-washing 101, we look at what it is and why do we do it.
I hear your thoughts… “my hair won’t be clean”, “that’s gross”, “but I’ve always used shampoo”.
Traditional shampoos have ingredients in them which make the shampoo lather when combined with water. Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) are two such ingredients. These common surfactants are found in many cleaning, cosmetic and hygiene products. They are inexpensive to use and very effective foaming agents. When you use shampoo and it seems to grow as you scrub, that is the surfactant such as SLES and SLS. They are used whenever the task in hand is to remove oily stains and residue. In industrial products such engine degreasers, floor cleaners and car wash soaps, they are found in much higher concentrations.
When it comes to beauty products such as shampoos, the concentrations are much less but the effect is the same. Strip out all the oil, dirt and build up from your hair. The only problem is this strips your hair of all it’s natural oils too, the substance it needs to be healthy and moisturised.
Remember from Lesson 1 – What makes hair curly?, we learned curly hair is naturally drier than straight hair and now we are using a product that strips out the good stuff? Doesn’t sound very curl friendly to me.
The practice of co washing was born.
There is a difference between using just a regular conditioner and a more cleansing conditioner. In order to get the desired cleansing results, you will need to make sure you use an appropriate co-wash product. These conditioners include other ingredients that provide cleansing properties. These are usually gentle cleansers or natural ingredients that cleanse without stripping or damaging the strands. They typically don’t lather and leave your hair clean, moisturised and frizz free. There are specific co-wash products available which market themselves as co-washes or cleansers. You can choose a regular conditioner such as the Australian Native Botanicals range, which is considered suitable for co-washing. Other suitable products can be found in the Curly Miss store.
Suggested products: Acure, Flora & Curl, Jessicurl, Boucleme, Giovanni, tgin, Inahsi Naturals, Curls
So exactly how do you co-wash?
With your appropriate co-wash product, apply a small amount to your palm and emulsify. This means you rub your hands together vigorously, spreading the conditioner over your entire hand. Apply directly to your scalp avoiding the lengths of your hair. Using your finger tips, no nails, scrub the entire surface area including around your hair line.
This will get all the dirt, grime and grease to come off your scalp and the roots of your hair. Unlike our straight haired counterparts, the sebum we naturally produce, cannot move down the hair shaft so focusing your cleanse on your scalp and roots is where it is most needed. Try to scrub for between 3 and 5 minutes. This does two things. Not only does it ensure you get all the grime off and unclog the follicles but you give your scalp a great massage encouraging blood flow and hair growth.
Rinse fully to ensure all of the dirt you’ve just loosened off is properly rinsed away. You hair should feel clean and moisturised, ready to receive the moisture and goodness when you apply your next product.
Co washing 101 – It really is as easy as that. You’re welcome 🙂