There are still misconceptions out there about co-washing. First, you must know that conditioners are not designed to clean the hair, that is the job of your shampoo. When you have major product build up and you are wondering why your hair has lost its luster, looks limp, and there is no extra pop to your ringlets... Stop using conditioner only and add a cleanser or shampoo to your regimen.
In my last co-wash article, I explained that co-washing can clog up the hair follicle as well as leave a hazy build up. Even though I don't agree with co-washing as a sole means for cleansing the hair, I will admit that from time to time it works well as a refresher. Not to be contradicting, but let's face it sometimes we all just want to refesh our curls without a full wash day. Keep reading to find out the do's and don'ts of co-washing and if you should be hopping on the co-washing bandwagon.
You should not co-wash if:
1. If you experience scalp problems or buildup
If you suffer from a scalp condition or severe buildup, you probably should not co-wash. When there is already an existing scalp problem co-washing has the potential to further clog the hair follicle. Have you ever looked at your scalp and seen what looks like cradle cap? If this is the norm for you, please stop co-washing and find yourself a shampoo. It is also a great idea to see what ingredient(s) may be aggravating your scalp so you can steer clear of it.
2. If your daily products contain heavy coating oils and silicone
Coating oils build up on the hair shaft. Although they serve a purpose, too much of a good thing isn't so great. In order to give the penetrating oils a chance to actually penetrate coating oils and silicone have to be removed.
Read next: 5 Signs It's Time to Clarify Your Hair
3. If you work in a dusty environment
If your daily environment has a lot of dirt, dust, and debris you really want to make sure you are not a sole co-washer. To most, it may seem as though you are protecting your hair, but in all actuality you are trapping dirt in layers of products and conditioner. Honestly, your best solution would be to alternate cleansing your hair with a non-lather cleanser once every 2-3 days (depending on your work environment), moisturizing shampoo, and use a clarifier at least once or twice a month.
Are you a co-washing candidate?
As long as you don't fall into the above categories you are an excellent candidate for co-washing. But PLEASE, PLEASE, don't go overboard. The problem becomes when you "Co-Wash Only." You have to remove your product build-up, even if you choose to do so with a great non-lather cleanser. I am 100000% against shampoos that have harsh cleansers and yank all of the natural sebum from the depths of your tresses, but trust me there are so many great cleansing shampoos that are a blessing to your hair.
At the end of the day please understand that I want to see you happy with your hair. I have seen what "co-washing only" can do over time. And yes, there are exceptions to every rule including your Aunt who never touches her hair and it is all the way to her waist. This article isn't for your Aunt, it is for those of us who are wondering why our hair isn't at its absolute best, and what we need to do to get it growing.
Is co-washing a part of your hair regimen? Let us know your co-washing preference in the comments.
This article has been updated.