Co washing in simple words means conditioner-washing. That is, using a conditioner instead of a shampoo to clean your hair. I shampoo rarely, probably once or twice per month either to get rid of any product build up, or to do a thorough cleaning if my hair was exposed to too much dirt (like when traveling), or if my hair looks too greasy and limp. For regular cleansing, I prefer co washing.
How does a conditioner clean hair?
Most conditioners have small amounts of cationic surfactants in their ingredient list, for e.g. behentrimonium chloride. These surfactants are not as heavy duty as the detergents in your shampoo but they oh-so-gently remove dirt and grease to a limited extent. So the result would be somewhere between a squeaky clean shampooed hair and dirty hair.
But bottles say “Don’t apply on scalp”!
Conditioners weigh down your roots(especially so in straight hair) leading to a flat looking crown. Curly hair can take that easily! But if you feel like it cannot, remember that we rinse off the whole conditioner after co washing. So no worries. And no, applying conditioner on scalp will not cause hairfall – Do hair products cause hair loss?
Because curly hair is dry and co washing doesn’t strip off all the oils from your hair, you are left with hair that’s softer than shampooed hair.
How often should I co wash?
Because I hit the gym almost every day, but I use a shampoo only once or twice a week, to get clean hair without stripping my hair off its natural oils, I like co washing my hair between my shampoo wash days.
I also do a silicone free co washing only regimen continuously for a month or so whenever I feel that my curls have started to lose their life.
Co washing is also great for dry winter months when you don’t sweat as much and don’t accumulate much dirt but your curls are very dry owing to the dry winter air.
What type of a conditioner should I use?
Any lightweight conditioner can double up as a cleansing conditioner if you are like me, who uses a traditional shampoo every now and then. But if you follow the CG method, you should look for silicone free conditioners to avoid build up. Choose an inexpensive conditioner as you would require lots of it.
Here are some conditioners that are great and lightweight as co wash cleansers
- Enliven Natural Fruit Extracts Conditioner(all 4 flavours)- My absolute favourite silicone free conditioner
- Revlon Flex Body Building Protein Conditioner(both blue and green)
- Oriflame Refreshing Conditioner(Nettle extract & Lemon oil)
- Oriflame Anti-Dandruff Conditioner(Burdock root & Grapefruit)
- Oriflame Dry & Damaged hair Conditioner(Wheat & Coconut)
- Giovanni Root 66 Max Volume Conditioner
- Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner
- Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Conditioner
- Suave Naturals Wild Cherry Blossom Conditioner(Family sized huge bottle)
- TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner
- TRESemme Naturals Vibrantly Smooth Conditioner (Family sized huge bottle) , Pack of 2 huge bottles
- TRESemme Naturals Radiant Volume Conditioner
How to co wash curly hair
- Wet your hair. Make sure it’s soaking wet. This will help detangling and this also makes conditioner distribution easier.
- Squirt the conditioner all over the top pf your head.
- Using the ends of your fingers (not nails) scrub your scalp like you are massaging the conditioner into your scalp. This motion along with the mild surfactants will help lift dirt and grease. Make sure to cover every inch of your head. A shampoo brush works great for this – Scalp/Shampoo brush for shampooing and co-washing
- Separate your hair into 2 sections and quirt some more conditioner on the back of your head and repeat step 3.
- Take some conditioner in both of your palms and apply it on your scalp from behind your ears to the top of your head and repeat step 3.
- Apply conditioner on the lengths of your hair and finger detangle it in sections, gently rubbing it to remove dirt.
- Let the conditioner continue working for a few minutes.
- Rinse your hair thoroughly with water
- You can go on to apply leave ins or apply your favourite conditioner like you would normally do after shampoo and then proceed to apply leave ins.
Here is a post with my full curly hair care routine – My curly hair routine 🙂