Co wash, AKA co-wash, or cowash simply means to wash with conditioner instead of shampoo, a method of washing hair that has come to stay. However it has its ups and downs, so whenever you decide to make it a regular in your regimen remember that there are a few things you need to know about it.
What You Need to Co Wash your Hair
- Cheap Moisturizing conditioner (preferably a rinse out conditioner) or co-wash conditioning cleanser.
- Your fingers with neatly trimmed fingernails.
Steps to follow to co wash hair
- Detangle and separate hair into several sections, braiding or twisting it as you prefer. Completely saturate your hair with water making sure it is sopping wet. Your hair needs to be completely wet because the water helps loosen the dirt, making it easier to rinse out eventually and it helps distribute the product evenly throughout the hair. Once your hair is saturated, squeeze excess water from it.
- Squeeze out a healthy amount of conditioner and apply to your hair (in sections). Use enough conditioner per section so that your hair is thoroughly coated in it making sure it coats strands from root to tip. It may seem like you are using a lot of conditioner, but don’t forget that you’re cleansing, not just conditioning.
- Massage the conditioner into the scalp (It’s important to cleanse your scalp as part of the co wash process) using the balls of your fingers and distribute evenly through the ends using your fingers to work conditioner through your hair in a downward motion. This movement aids break down oils and any residue left from products used previously.
- Then allow the conditioner to be absorbed for about 3-5 minutes. Depending on the state of your hair before the co wash you can leave it in longer letting it act like a masque. Apply more conditioner to the ends (oldest part) of your hair, which tend to be the driest and can use more moisture.
- Now rinse your hair thoroughly with cold water (still in sections), dry (air dry if possible), and style as usual. Bonus: You may discover that you need less styling product, since the hair is less parched and more responsive.
Tips for Effective Co Washing
- You don’t need an expensive conditioner, you just need a moisturizing conditioner, preferably a cheap one as you’ll be using lots of it to co wash.
- Do not use protein-laden conditioners for co washing as the protein will cause buildup and dry out your hair.
- Co washing has been known to cause buildup so using a clarifying shampoo once-a-month or twice-a-month or every two to four weeks (depending on your lifestyle) should take care of the buildup. This should yield the benefits of co-washing but with more volume.
- You don’t have to rinse out 100% of the conditioner may find it helpful to rinse your hair about 90%. This will give your hair some slip.