December 7, 2022


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How to ‘cowash’ and what it means

3 min read
co-washing - how to co-wash and what it means

‘Cowashing’ (co-wash) is the process of using a conditioner, instead of shampoo, to help rinse away buildup and improve the moisture retention of your hair.

Update: I don’t cowash anymore and I no longer recommend it either. Wash your hair or dilute your store-bought conditioner with water or aloe vera. Cowashes are glorified conditioners taht you’re using to help physically remove some of the dirt and oils on the hair. But you need a good surfactant based cleanser. Even if it’s a pH balanced mix of castile soap + water

Many shampoos usually strip the hair of not only build-up, but all helpful oils which will keep the curls lubricated and soft. So its called ‘co-wash’ because you’re using a COnditioner to “WASH” the hair.

Typically washing the hair means using some type of shampoo or surfactant to remove the dirt.   So don’t be thrown off the name.

Its called ‘co-washing’, but for me its no different than just simply conditioning your hair without using a shampoo first.

Extra steps are sometimes taken to massage the scalp to ensure dirt/product removal.  Some naturals also put on a plastic cap (or grocery bag) for 20 minutes to an hour to make sure the hair is deep conditioned as well.

I co-wash when necessary. Sometimes that’s once a week, sometimes twice a week. Sometimes I co-wash once every 10 or 12 days.

Sometimes my hair begs for a co-wash to remove some test DIY product which just didn’t turn out right.  In that case, I co-wash the next day.   Sometimes I co-wash the day before I know I’m going to try out a DIY mix.

Because I try out so many things (including the stuff I make), I let my hair tell me how often I should cowash.  LOL!

How I Co-wash

1. I section my hair in 2.  If your hair is thicker, you may have to section it in 4 parts
2. Rinse the 1st section and apply your conditioner of choice.
3. Massage the scalp and really run your fingers through the hair to remove any shed hairs and tangles
4. Don’t rinse yet!  Twist that section up and wrap it around itself.
5. Do the same thing for each section you have.
6. Go back to the 1st section you did and rinse thoroughly.  Do the same for each section
7.  Go on to style your hair.

If you’re going to deep condition, after #6 apply more conditioner all over your hair again and put a plastic cap or bag over it.  Leave it on for as long as you feel like you need to.

The reason I apply conditioner twice is that the first rinse has to be done to remove the first round of dirt/build-up.  Everything else, including a deep condition, can be done after that.

Happy cowashing! 😛


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