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Co-washing and should you do it?

Co-washing and should you do it?

Woman showering and washing hair

You may have heard the term “co-washing”. And if you have been reading up on the CGM, you may have read or been told to co-wash instead of shampooing your hair.  What does “co-washing” actually mean?  

Co-washing is meant to take the place of shampooing, for some curlies. Co-washing works best for those with dry, thick, coarse, or high porosity hair, all of which typically need a lot of hydration. 

Co-washes typically contain a mixture of mild cleansers and conditioners. The idea is to skip shampoo and conditioner and to use a co-wash instead, followed by a leave-in conditioner (as long as your hair is not thin, low density).  When you co-wash you should scrub and work the product into your scalp to get the oils and dirt out. Stimulation of the scalp is what releases oils, dirt, and build up.  A good way to accomplish this is by using a soft silicone or rubber scalp massager

There are many products on the market specifically marketed as co-washes. It is better to use these specifically formulated cowashes rather than a random conditioner.  Some co-washes are more cleansing than hydrating and vice versa.  

Co-washing does not work very well if your hair’s roots get oily and/or you are prone to buildup. Co-washes may be too heavy for wavies, or not cleansing enough. If you have fine hair that gets easily weighed down or if you suffer from an itchy scalp, you might want to skip co-washing altogether and use a gentle low-poo instead. 

What Are Low-Poos?  

Low-poos are basically shampoos free of sulfates, silicones, and harsh alcohols. 

Sometimes a hybrid approach works, for example, if you wash your hair twice a week, you could co-wash once, and low-poo once.  For those with fine hair that gets oily quickly, using low-poo once or twice a week and clarifying with an ACV spritz every other week, or once a month may work better. Or you could even go the route of one co-wash a week, one low-poo a week, and one clarifying wash a month. Try out different routines and see what works best for your hair. However, be careful not to over wash. When switching to a new method give your scalp and hair time to adjust. Do not immediately assume that you are doomed to wash more frequently if your scalp and hair do not adapt quickly.  

Some folks occasionally skip the low-poo or co-wash altogether and just use a regular conditioner or leave-in conditioner. Please be careful. Doing this often could lead to scalp issues, such as product build-up and itching, and is typically not recommended.

If you do not know your hair characteristics, please take the Curly Hair Quiz.

Go to www.curlplanet.com to search for CG approved co-washes or go to the SHOP to get your copy of the Ultimate Guide to Co-Washes.

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