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Strictly Co-Washing? Why Can This Be Bad for Your Hair?

4 mins

Himani Bose

Co-washing is a popular hair care trend that more and more people are increasingly adopting. But is it right for you?

Co-washing is a term to refer to conditioner washing. It is a technique of hair washing where only a conditioner is used for hair. This hair routine process skips the use of shampoo. Co-washing is used mostly by people with curly or dry hair, or hair with mixed textures.

So, is co-washing good? Should you include this no-shampoo-only-conditioner method in your hair care routine?

There are pros to co-washing. If you have curly hair, you know that it tends to be dry. Natural oils do not reach strands effectively as the angles in curls make the passage difficult. As a result, curls remain dry. With time, dry hair can cause hair breakage and split ends.

Co-washing can reduce dryness. However, if you are considering it as a routine, you need to be aware of not only the advantages but also the disadvantages of doing so.

Table of Contents:

  • What Does Co-Washing Do to Your Hair?
  • Causes Product Build-up
  • Develops an Itchy Scalp
  • Hair Stops Receiving Proper Care from Products
  • Roots Go Oily
  • Results in Increased Hair Damage
  • Increases Risk of Contact Dermatitis
  • Tends to Over-Moisturize
  • The Shampoo-Conditioner Routine Benefits

What Does Co-Washing Do to Your Hair?

Co-washing can give softer and smoother hair, but the results are only temporary. On a continual basis, it can increase hair damage.

  • Causes Product Build-up

Conditioners can develop residue, which, over time, can build up on your hair, which blocks hair follicles. Blocked follicles prevent nutrients and body oil from reaching the scalp and hair. Hair growth and health are affected consequently.

hair spray

Product build-up can be removed only by shampooing your hair. Environmental pollutants, including dirt and debris, cause build-up, which can be removed effectively with shampoo. If co-washing alone is your haircare routine, then your product build-up woes only add up.

  • Develops an Itchy Scalp

As build-up increases with regular co-washing, your scalp takes the brunt. If you have a sensitive scalp, then the damage is bigger. Product build-up ends up irritating your scalp and causing flakes.

If you find your scalp becoming itchy or flaky, stop co-washing and use a clarifying shampoo. The itchiness and flakiness should reduce and stop gradually with regular use of a clarifying shampoo.

You may want to use tea tree oil as it addresses the problem of itchy scalp efficiently. Tea tree oil is anti-microbial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory, which helps keep scalp irritations away. It also has nourishing properties, which keep hair healthy and strong. Ensure that you use 100% pure tea tree oil for the best results.

wow tea tree oil
  • Hair Stops Receiving Proper Care from Products

Product build-up forms layers on hair cuticles, which stops products and their ingredients from reaching the strands. As a result, the intended results of the products fail to show. You may have a great hair care routine in place. But unless products can reach the strands, they do not provide any real benefit.

So, you will be wasting money as well as the products.

  • Roots Go Oily

People with curly hair that co-wash regularly report problems of oily roots. This could be because of the build-up, which prevents natural oils from reaching your hair. As a result, dryness occurs. The skin takes dryness as a signal to produce more body oil, which increases oiliness.

If you notice excessive oil at the roots, then stop co-washing for some time and apply shampoo. If it reduces oiliness, then co-washing is the problem and you need to change your hair routine to include a clarifying shampoo. Use a sulfur-free and chemical-free shampoo for the best hair care results.

  • Results in Increased Hair Damage

If you are using only co-washing as a hair care routine, pay attention to the ingredients in your conditioners. If they contain silicones, then they form another layer of build-up on your scalp. This build-up prevents the entry of moisture, nutrients, and proteins, into the hair shaft. This blockage causes more dryness, more hair breakage, and increased hair damage.

damaged hair
  • Increases Risk of Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis can happen when a substance that has to be rinsed off continues to stay on the scalp. This can cause scalp irritation. Conditioners need to be rinsed off well, to prevent the risk of contact dermatitis. If you are using a conditioner alone, then ensure that you wash it off properly from your hair.

  • Tends to Over-Moisturize

Conditioners tend to moisturize. But if you are co-washing too much, then you are loading your hair with excess moisture. In addition, if you leave your hair wet after every co-washing treatment, then you are adding to the damage.

Over-moisturization can cause the bonds and protein within the hair structure to break down. As a result, hair becomes weak and prone to damage.

The Shampoo-Conditioner Routine Benefits

Co-washing may not be for all hair types, even curly ones. Relying only on co-washing as a routine can be damaging to your hair given the above drawbacks.

Shampoos that enrich hair with vitamins and essential nutrients keep the scalp and hair follicles active, leading to better hair growth. It is better to choose shampoos with botanical extracts and essential oils.

This combination of shampooing and conditioning is more beneficial than co-washing. While shampoo does its job of deep cleansing, the conditioner provides excellent moisturization. Shampoo and conditioner work together to keep the hair in excellent shape.

Shampoos and conditioners are crucial to a good hair care routine. For the best, turn to WOW Skin Science. They are 100% natural and botanical extract-powered. As a result, hair gets all the nourishment it needs to stay clean and hydrated.

wow skin hair care products

The shampoo range is exquisite, featuring ingredients that are wonderful for hair. This includes apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, Moroccan argan oil, coconut milk, green tea, and Himalayan rose.

The Activated Charcoal & Keratin shampoo is among the favorites, as it offers a deep cleanse gently. The keratin extracts in the formulation fortify strands after cleansing while aloe vera offers plenty of moisturization.

The Coconut Milk Conditioner is another favorite, which brings the richness of coconut milk and castor oil. It has a powerful combination that not only moisturizes hair but also fixes the damage. There is also hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which penetrates deep into the hair shaft and replenishes the keratin layer, which is key to strong hair.  

All products from WOW Skin Science are free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oils and silicones.

These products are 100% vegan. They have an excellent shelf life as they are packed to preserve the integrity of the contents within.

WOW Skin Science makes the task of choosing good haircare products easier! 

wow skin hair care

Co-washing may have benefits for hair. But it has drawbacks that you cannot afford to ignore. Without proper guidance, co-washing can lead to heavy build-up and hair loss.

If you are considering co-washing, then it is best to talk to your stylist or dermatologist to understand if it would suit your hair type.

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Himani Bose

Himani is a beauty blogger and self-professed skincare connoisseur with over four years of experience in writing in the beauty industry. She has worked closely with beauty experts, dermatologists, hairstylists, and makeup artists for bringing all things best in beauty to her readers.

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