Skip to Content

What is Co-Washing? A Complete Guide to Doing It Right (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

Are you wondering what co-washing is? Co-washing, or conditioner washing, is the act of using only conditioner to cleanse your hair. It’s a great way for those with afro, mixed-textured, very curly, and extremely dry hair to keep their locks looking healthy without stripping them of natural oils.

With this guide on how to co-wash properly and choosing the right conditioning product to use, you can make a huge difference in achieving beautiful curls that last.

Key Takeaways

what is co washing

  • Co-washing is the act of using only conditioner to cleanse hair.
  • It is beneficial for those with afro, mixed-textured, very curly, and extremely dry hair.
  • Co-washing helps retain natural oils and moisture in the hair.
  • Choosing the right conditioner is important, avoiding silicones and looking for emollients, proteins, humectants, and moisturizers.

What is Co-Washing?

What is Co-Washing?
You can achieve softer, more manageable hair by skipping your regular shampooing routine and opting for co-washing instead. This technique uses conditioner to keep natural oils and moisture intact while promoting healthier, resilient locks.

Co-washing involves using a cleansing conditioner to cleanse the scalp of dirt and product build-up without stripping it of its natural oils. This is especially beneficial for those with dry or damaged hair as it helps retain moisture levels in the strands.

For added volume, alternate biweekly clarifying shampoos with co-washing every two to four weeks. Conditioners should contain emollients such as extra virgin olive oil or wheat germ oil, proteins like silk amino acids, humectants such as glycerin, moisturizers like coconut juice, and additional ingredients like cocoa butter to nourish the scalp further.

Recommended products for co-washing include Power Conditioner and Glory. Happy Happy Joy Joy, which contains almond milk, glycerin, and jojoba oil, is also an excellent choice.

With frequent use of shampoo significantly reduced when you switch from traditional washing methods to co-washing, you can enjoy smoother tresses even longer between salon treatments!

Ideal Hair Types

Ideal Hair Types
If you have waves or curls, color-processed hair, or are simply looking for an alternative to traditional shampooing techniques, co-washing may be the perfect fit. This method of washing your hair with conditioner saves shower space and time while providing moisture and reducing the need for styling products.

However, it is important to note that those with fine straight hair or an oily scalp should likely skip this technique in favor of using a clarifying shampoo once every two weeks.

Waves and Curls

Co-washing is an ideal alternative for those with waves and curls, as it helps maintain natural moisture levels while providing smoother, softer tresses. Devotees of co-washing often enjoy a regime that requires fewer clarifying shampoos and routine adjustments to keep their hair shaft healthy.

Unshampooed hair retains more oils, which makes strands silkier when conditioned than regular shampooing can achieve.

With the right product selection, curl devotees can find great success in their co-washing journey without compromising on quality!

Color-Processed Hair

For those who have color-processed hair, co-washing can be a beneficial alternative that helps extend the time between salon treatments while preserving the pigment in your locks. It’s important to choose a silicone-free conditioner for regular use and check its ingredient list for emollients, proteins, humectants, and moisturizers as they help maintain moisture levels.

Power Conditioner or Avocado Co-wash are great options that will nourish your strands of pigment without stripping them away like a regular shampoo-then-condition routine would do.

Switching up your hair washing routine could result in smoother, softer, easier-to-manage curls, so why not give it a try?

Who Should Skip Co-Washing?

Although co-washing can be beneficial for those with dry or damaged hair, it may not be suitable for everyone. For example, people with fine, straight hair, oily scalp issues, or dermatitis should avoid the practice as it does not effectively treat these conditions.

  • Avoid silicones in daily conditioners.
  • Consider using a cleansing conditioner instead of shampooing.
  • Wet the hair fully before applying a generous amount of conditioner.
  • Massage the scalp and spread the conditioner through the ends to remove tangles.
  • Choose your personal favorite when experimenting with this co-wash method.

Choosing the Right Conditioner

Choosing the Right Conditioner
When choosing a conditioner for co-washing, you’ll want to look for one that doesn’t contain silicones and is instead packed with emollients, proteins, humectants, and moisturizers. These ingredients are all designed to help maintain natural moisture levels. Look out for ingredients like almond milk in Happy Joy Joy or coconut cream in Power Conditioner.

Cleansing conditioners are also an option if you have thinner strands, as they tend to be gentler on the scalp than regular shampoos. Water cationic surfactants found in most conditioners can pick up dirt when mixed with water, so unshampooed hair retains more of its natural oils.

However, people with scalps prone to dermatitis should avoid co-washing altogether, as it might not effectively treat their skin issues.

How to Co-Wash Hair

How to Co-Wash Hair
Now that you know what co-washing is and which conditioner to use, it’s time to learn how.

Co-washing involves wetting the hair with warm water before applying a generous amount of conditioner from root to tip. Massage your scalp while distributing the product evenly through the strands, taking care not to tangle them in order for maximum absorption.

Once applied, let it sit for three to five minutes before rinsing out completely and drying as usual.

For those looking for more intense moisture retention, you can look into alternatives like Happy Joy Joy’s nourishing mix of cupuaçu butter and shea butter or Curl Power’s rich blend of cocoa butter – both perfect products for defining curls without weighing them down!

To prevent buildup over time due to lack of shampooing, clarify with a clarifying shampoo every two weeks, up until once per month depending on individual needs.

The result will be smoother locks than ever before, plus saving shower space since all that’s required is one bottle instead of two!

Finally, keep in mind that this method won’t work best on fine straight hair or areas prone to dermatitis, so make sure you adjust accordingly when trying out this new haircare routine.

Raring to Co

Raring to Co
Ready to try out the new haircare routine that promises smoother locks and saves shower space? Co-washing is an easy way to get moisturized, healthier hair! This method of washing your hair with a small amount of conditioner instead of shampoo cleanses without stripping away natural oils.

It’s especially beneficial for those who have dry or curly/wavy hair as it helps maintain moisture levels.

Cleansing Conditioners are ideal for daily co-wash use, free from harsh sulfates but containing emollients like vegetable glycerin and fresh avocados for nourishment.

Clarifying shampoos should be used every two weeks up until once per month, depending on individual needs, in order to prevent product buildup over time while still enjoying the benefits of co-washing, such as increased volume and less parched strands.

So don’t wait any longer – start reaping all the rewards that come along with this amazing technique today!

Lather. Rinse. Repeat Sparingly

Lather. Rinse. Repeat Sparingly
Try co-washing sparingly for best results – just lather, rinse, and repeat occasionally to keep your hair healthy and hydrated. For ultimate hydration, opt for a cleansing conditioner with natural ingredients such as aloe vera or soy protein.

Ingredients like jojoba oil can also help nourish the strands of your hair while providing slip during detangling sessions.

To prevent product buildup over time, use clarifying shampoos every two weeks, up until once per month, alternating it with co-washing depending on individual needs.

To make styling easier, try using lightweight products that won’t weigh down curls, such as Curl Power made with cocoa butter or Super Milk leave-in conditioners made from almond, coconut, and oat milks.

Co-wash is an amazing technique that provides incredible benefits like smoother locks and less parched strands without having to shampoo daily – so give it a go today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the benefits of co-washing?

Co-washing can help maintain natural moisture levels, promote healthier hair, and leave your locks feeling smoother and silkier. It’s especially beneficial for those with curls or waves, saving shower space, time, and money! Try it out to experience the beauty of softer strands that are easier to manage.

Are there any products specifically designed for co-washing?

Yes! There are many products specially formulated for co-washing, such as Power Conditioner and Glory. Happy Happy Joy Joy is another great choice with almond milk, glycerin, and jojoba oil. Avocado Co-wash works wonders too! Curl Power and Super Milk offer moisture and definition to keep curls intact without weighing them down.

Is co-washing suitable for color-treated hair?

Yes, co-washing is suitable for color-treated hair. Unshampooed locks retain more natural oils, making them smoother and silkier when conditioned.

Are there any potential drawbacks to co-washing?

Yes, there are potential drawbacks to co-washing. Buildup can occur if not cleansed properly, and too much conditioner can weigh down hair. Silicones in some conditioners may strip natural oils and moisture. Oily scalps or dermatitis might not be effectively treated by conditioning alone.

How often should I co-wash my hair?

How often should you co-wash? It depends on your hair type and desired results. Generally, people with dry or color-processed hair can co-wash weekly but may need to clarify their scalp every two weeks.

For those with afro, mixed-textured, or very curly locks, daily co-washing is an option! Experiment to find the right balance for your unique needs.


Wrapping it up, co-washing can be a great way to keep your hair looking great. With the right conditioner and techniques, you can maintain the quality of your hair without stripping it of its natural oils.

Just remember to keep an eye on your scalp, as co-washing may not be the best fit for everyone. With the right know-how, you can be sure that you’re rocking your natural hair like a pro.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.