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What Co-Washing Is and How to Correctly Wash Your Hair Without Shampoo

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Co-washing is complete or partial refusal from shampoo and instead just washing the hair with a conditioner. The essence of this method is reflected in its name — co-washing, which stands for Conditioner Only Washing.

5-Minute Crafts wants to tell you who co-washing is best for, how to wash your hair without shampoo, and how often you can do it.

Who is co-washing best for?

Co-washing is good for those who have dry, curly, and dyed hair.

Most conditioners contain a few cleansing substances. When they make contact with water, conditioners partially remove dirt, leaving hair relatively clean. At the same time, thanks to the soothing and moisturizing substances in the conditioner, the hair doesn’t dry out during washing and retains more natural oils. As a result, it looks more smooth and silky than usual, while dyed hair preserves its color longer.

However, people with straight or oily hair should stay away from co-washing. For people with straight hair, a big amount of conditioner can make the hair heavier. For people with oily hair, conditioner can worsen the issue. Moreover, frequent co-washing can cause itching and irritation due to the accumulation of excess product on the scalp.

How to choose the right product

Co-washing and hair conditioning are similar but they’re not the same thing.

A conditioner is applied after washing to moisturize hair and make combing easier. To get this effect, manufacturers often add silicones to the product. If you wash your hair with this conditioner, it can lead to discomfort, oiliness, and can make the hair heavier.

The composition of products for co-washing don’t include silicones, instead, they have more cleansing ingredients. They are not as strong as in shampoos but they still cleanse the scalp and condition the hair without making it heavy and without causing discomfort.

Thus, co-washing can replace a conditioner, but not every conditioner is suitable for co-washing. It’s better to buy a special product that is “Suitable for co-washing” or a “Cleansing conditioner.” As a last resort, you can use an ordinary conditioner, but make sure that it doesn’t contain silicones.

How to correctly wash your hair without shampoo

  1. Completely wet your hair with water.

  2. Squeeze out the necessary amount of conditioner. It should be enough to cover your hair from roots to ends.

  3. Evenly spread the conditioner along with your hair and massage the scalp. If your hair is very dry, leave the product on your hair for several minutes.

  4. Thoroughly rinse your hair under running water and completely remove any residual product.

  5. Apply a normal conditioner to the ends of your hair if they require additional moisturizing.

How often can you use co-washing?

The recommended frequency is 1-2 times a week depending on how often you wash your hair. Also, you can use co-washing between procedures of washing your hair with shampoo in order to make it look fresh. If you decide to shift to co-washing completely, keep in mind that you will need to wash your hair with shampoo at least twice a month. It will help remove excess grease and the residue of the product.

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