I “co-washed” my hair for a month and here’s what happened
Imagine washing your hair without shampoo. Would it work? Why would you even think about doing such a nonsensical thing?
Co-washing has become a super trendy topic this year. I decided to try it as an experiment for a month. This little article explains what it is, what the supposed benefits are, and if it actually worked for me or not.
What is co-washing?
Co-washing is short for “conditioner washing.” Co-washing is replacing your shampoo and conditioner with exclusively conditioner.
What do I co-wash with?
You can use any conditioner, or any product designated a “cream cleanser” or “cleansing conditioner.” The latter tend to be more expensive due to their trendiness right now.
Whatever product you use, make sure it has natural oils in it. These are what carry away the excess sebum on your hair and scalp and therefore provide cleansing properties.
You will also want to avoid a product that contains silicones. This ingredient coats the shaft of your hair, causing buildup and preventing the cleansing properties of your conditioner.
The concept behind removing shampoo from your hair care routine is to prevent damage, frizziness, or dryness brought on by detergents. The proposed results are less oil overproduction and hair that is healthier and easier to style.
Who is co-washing best for?
This method is best for those with textured, dry, or color treated hair. It can also help decrease oil overproduction in those with a greasy scalp, but people in this category probably won’t be able to exclusively co-wash.
How do I co-wash?
The concept is essentially the same as with shampooing, but you will want to use more product than you’re used to. Gently massage your scalp to remove dirt and oils, and run the rest of the product throughout your hair length. I really love using a silicone scalp brush for this step. Lastly, thoroughly rinse all of the product out of your hair. To dry, I recommend using a microfiber towel to prevent damage and static.
Let's just get to the experiment already!
First of all, my hair is slightly wavy and very oily. I did this experiment mostly to see if I could decrease my scalp’s oil production and to bring out my hair’s natural wave.
I normally wash my hair every other day, and I continued to do this throughout the experiment.
The product I used was Grunge Goddess’ Rosewater and Musk Conditioner Bar. It has coconut oil to carry away dirt and excess oils along with many other key proteins, detanglers, and vitamins. I also used a silicone scalp brush and a microfiber towel. (By the way, I have no affiliation with the last two links, they are simply the products I used.)
I did not use any heat tools during this experiment. To style, I used a volumizing mousse on wet hair after washing.
Day 1: My hair has an unfamiliar waxy texture. It feels a bit weighted down and dirty feeling but looks good.
Day 7: My hair is adjusting well so far. It gets oily less quickly, has more texture, and styles nicely.
Day 8: I think my oil production is catching up with me! Super greasy here!
Day 9: I admit I had a cheater day here. I used a little shampoo before using henna to help the dye penetrate better! (This is the one I used. It’s sulfate free and also has a little kokum butter to prevent oil stripping!) You can see my hair’s natural wave is becoming more apparent.
If you’re interested in using henna on your own hair, read my tutorial here.
(A suicide happened in my direct family on Day 10. I hope you understand that I failed to take pictures for a couple of weeks afterward!)
Day 30: Here is my day old co-washed hair. I feel like I’m producing less oil now, and it doesn’t look as bad when it starts getting greasy. It feels much softer and healthier, and it’s easier to style.
The Results and Conclusion
Overall, I really liked what co-washing did for my hair. As I mentioned earlier, my hair doesn’t get greasy quite as quickly and it feels much softer and healthier. My hair’s natural texture is easier to style and I have more good hair days.
After the experiment, I decided to go back to shampooing with my sulfate free shampoo bars every second or third wash. My oil production gets hard to handle without a little extra cleansing power every so often. I now can go up to three days without my hair getting too stringy and weighed down from oils.
I’m really happy I did this experiment and with what it did for my hair’s oil production and texture. However, my hair isn’t ideal for exclusively co-washing because it is so greasy. I’ve incorporated it into my hair care routine for sure, though!
I hope I’ve inspired you to try this method for yourself. Let me know if you try it and what it does for you! Best of luck and shoot any questions my way in the comments!