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What Is a Co-Wash?

7 mins

Tyler Teresi

Have you ever heard of co-wash? Read this article to find out everything you need to know about it.

The shampoo is a lot more controversial than you might think. Although it is a great way to remove excess dirt and oil build-up while also nourishing your hair, shampoo is not embraced by everyone all the time. Many people choose to cut back their shampoo usage because it can strip their hair of natural oils, choosing instead to wash their hair just a few times a week. 

However, there is a method that can help you enjoy the best of both worlds. At WOW Skin Science, we are happy to introduce you to the benefits of co-washing so you can remove dirt while keeping your hair hydrated.

Table of Contents:

  • What Is Co-Washing?
  • Why Co-Wash?
  • Who Should Try Co-Washing?
  • How To Do a Co-Wash
  • How Does Co-Washing Work for Various Hair Types?
  • Curly hair
  • Fine hair
  • Wavy Hair
  • 4C Hair
  • Oily hair
  • Should I Replace My Hair Washing Routine with Co-Washing?
  • How Often to Do a Co-Wash
  • What Products Can I Use for a Co-Wash?

What Is Co-Washing?

Washing is the process of using shampoo to remove contaminants from your hair. Normally when you wash your hair with shampoo, you follow up with a conditioner. On the other hand, co-washing is washing your hair using only conditioner. In the co-washing process, there is no shampoo involved.

what is co-washing, just conditioning the hair

Why Co-Wash?

Co-washing allows you to provide additional nutrients and remove pollutants from your hair more times throughout the week since the process does not remove its natural oils. Because conditioners are not as potent as shampoos, they will not be as effective at removing dirt and oil build-up from your hair and scalp. The purpose of co-washing is more focused on hydrating and moisturizing your hair than washing it.

Shampoos often contain sulfates and other ingredients designed to remove oil from your hair. Although removing dirt and oil build-up is often a good thing, shampoo can remove a considerable amount of your natural oil, also called sebum, which is important for protecting your hair and maintaining moisture. Choosing to co-wash allows you to support those natural oils throughout the week rather than remove them completely.

benefits of co washing hair, how to make my hair less oily

After co-washing, you may find that your hair is softer and more voluminous. Keep in mind, though, that co-washing is meant to supplement your hair care routine, not overtake it.

Who Should Try Co-Washing?

Whether co-washing is a good idea for you largely depends on your hair type. Co-washing is a great option for individuals with curly or afro-textured hair since it is a great way to provide additional hydration. Also, if you do not have any of the mentioned hair types and you find that your hair is frequently drier than you would like, then co-washing can still be a great option for you.

How To Do a Co-Wash

The best part about choosing to co-wash is that it is a relatively simple process. You can often decide to co-wash when you would normally wash your hair. To start co-washing your hair, just follow a few steps.

1.Wet Your Hair

Start the process by running your hair under the water in the shower. Take some time to get your full head of hair wet. The abundance of water will allow the conditioner to best incorporate into your hair and provide plenty of moisture to seal in.

washing the hair, best way to wash the hair

2.Grab Your Product

Once your hair is saturated with water, you should prepare the product. Take your choice of WOW conditioners and apply a dollop to your hand. Incorporate a small amount of water into the conditioner before adding it to your hair.

3.Apply the Conditioner to Your Hair

Next, you should apply the conditioner to your hair and scalp, the same way you would apply shampoo. Run the conditioner down the length of your hair from the roots to the ends and massage it gently into your scalp.

4.Allow the Product to Sit in Your Hair

Do not rinse out the conditioner right away. Allow the product to remain on your hair for about two to three minutes so that it can fully saturate the strands and scalp. Letting the product remain in your hair allows the nutrients to reach into the hair follicles and ensure maximum hydration.

5.Rinse Out the Conditioner

The final step is removing all of the conditioner from your hair. The rinsing process is generally twice as long as the application process. Be thorough when removing the conditioner since too much product build-up may cause your hair to appear excessively oily or irritate the scalp.

How Does Co-Washing Work for Various Hair Types?

No two heads of hair are the same. Although co-washing can provide several benefits, it may work differently for everyone. Depending on your hair type, you may want to co-wash more or less or be more careful about which product you choose. You should consider the following for each of the various hair types.

  • Curly hair

Curly hair often tends to be drier than other hair types as the sebum produced by the scalp does not work through the hair as easily due to its shape. Therefore, when co-washing curly hair, you may want to leave the conditioner in for an extra minute or two to improve its hydrating power.

taking hair of curly hair
  • Fine hair

Fine hair can be a bit oilier than other hair types since it is thinner, so you will want to co-wash much less frequently and use a lighter conditioning formula when you do.

  • Wavy Hair

Wavy hair is less prone to dryness than curly hair but more prone to it than fine hair. With wavy hair, you can likely co-wash a few times a week, but you may want to pay attention to how your hair responds to the treatment.

  • 4C Hair

4C hair is a very voluminous and curly type of afro-textured hair to the point where it forms coils. This hair type can be rather coarse, which can dry out more easily. Similar to curly hair, you may want to consider co-washing more often than other hair types and using a rich, more powerful conditioner when you do.

4c hair type, curly hair
  • Oily hair

With oily hair, you may be limited in your ability to co-wash. For some individuals with oily hair, it is necessary to wash it every day. However, if you often skip a day or two between shampooing, you can co-wash on those days. You may want to skip products that use thick oils like coconut oil or argan oil since they may add too much to the amount of oil your hair already produces.

Should I Replace My Hair Washing Routine with Co-Washing?

Even though a co-wash offers many benefits, it is not a replacement for washing your hair altogether. You should still incorporate the occasional shampoo procedure. The shampoo is better formulated for removing all of the dirt and impurities that can build up in your hair. Altogether, shampoo can remove many contaminants from your hair that a conditioner cannot, such as:

  • Dead skin cells
  • Sweat
  • Sebum
  • Hair products
  • Dirt

Too much build-up on your scalp can have several negative side effects, like scalp irritation or flaking, so it is a good idea to use shampoo at least once or twice a week, depending on your hair.

When looking for shampoo, you have a wide array of options. Look through the WOW collection of shampoos to see which ingredients might work best for your hair. Our sulfate-free shampoos will help you remove pollutants without stripping the natural oils from your hair.

From WOW’s clarifying Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo to our hydrating Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo, it is impossible to make a bad choice.

moroccan argan oil conditioner

How Often to Do a Co-Wash

To reap the benefits of co-washing, you will want to incorporate co-washing throughout the week. Generally, it is good practice to try co-washing once to twice per week, especially if you only wash your hair every seven to 10 days. However, everyone’s hair and scalp are different, and the amount of time you should go between co-washing can vary.

To see if co-washing works for you, monitor the appearance and texture after trying the process a few times. If you are happy with the results, carry on. If not, consider changing it up. For hair that is still too dry, try co-washing more throughout the week, but for hair that seems to be greasy, you may want to scale it back. Hair that is too oily or seems to hold a lot of dirt would likely benefit from more frequent shampooing throughout the week.

taking care of my curly hair, how to use co washing

Another option you can consider is alternating between washing and co-washing every few days.

Co-washing too often may also leave you with too much build-up, so if you notice any irritation, itching, or flaking in your scalp, then you should reconsider your co-washing routine.

What Products Can I Use for a Co-Wash?

As with any hair care procedure, the products you use matter. Since the purpose of a co-wash is to provide your hair with additional nutrients and hydration, you want to choose a product that will maximize these benefits.

Fortunately, there are many conditioners with ingredients that each provide unique benefits. Consider some of the following options for your routine.

  • WOW Coconut Milk Conditioner

WOW’s Coconut Milk Conditioner is formulated with castor oil, sweet almond oil, argan oil, and, of course, coconut milk. This powerful combination of ingredients provides your hair with essential vitamins and fatty acids to retain moisture. Complete with hydrolyzed keratin, a protein that strengthens and repairs hair strands, this conditioner is a great option for restoring your hair.

best hair conditioner, conditioner that is good for my hair
  • WOW Coconut & Avocado Natural Hair Conditioner

Take the advanced powers of coconut even further by including the nourishing powers of avocado oil. Avocado oil is full of monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E, which allow it to prevent breakage, repair split ends, and protect against the sun. Rich with two fatty oils, WOW’s Coconut & Avocado Natural Hair Conditioner is a great choice for natural or curly hair, providing a silky, smooth texture.

  • WOW Green Tea and Tea Tree Anti-Dandruff Conditioner

This powerhouse formula is great for individuals with greasy or dandruff-prone hair. WOW’s Green Tea and Tea Tree Conditioner is the perfect combination of gentle and strong. The conditioner includes green tea, tea tree oil, and rosebay oil, which are great for soothing irritation in the scalp and preventing flakes, thanks to helpful antioxidants. Plus, with argan oil and shea butter, the formula provides fatty acids that improve the shine and overall appearance of your hair.

conditioner for curly hair, conditioner for straight hair
  • WOW Red Onion Black Seed Oil Conditioner

WOW’s unique Red Onion Black Seed Oil Conditioner formula offers a world of benefits. Combining the capabilities of red onion extract and black seed oil, this formula is great for repairing your hair, promoting growth, and restoring its shine. Using this conditioner as part of your co-wash routine helps to improve circulation to your scalp and strengthen the individual hair strands. Sweet almond oil and argan oil also factor in fatty acids that help moisturize your hair and scalp.

  • WOW Himalayan Rose Conditioner

For dry and damaged hair, WOW’s Himalayan Rose Conditioner is a light formula that helps to reverse dull or lifeless hair. This floral-infused conditioner is made with a foundation of rose hydrosol, which contains an abundance of flavonoids and antioxidants that improve hair growth and give your hair advanced hydration. The formula is supplemented with purified water that keeps your hair soft and a touch of coconut oil to keep it hydrated.

hair conditioner

Ultimately, co-washing is a great way to provide your hair with additional hydration and nutrients throughout the week without stripping its natural oils. However, your hair care routine is only as good as the products you use. Ensure that you are using products that will truly nourish your hair by exploring your options here at WOW Skin Science. We are proud to offer products that are 100% plant-based and free from harsh chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and unnecessary fragrances.

Whether you are looking for a conditioner for your co-washing routine or hoping to provide additional nutrients with hair oil, WOW can help. Browse our complete collection of products to determine which products may work the best for you.

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Tyler Teresi

Tyler is a content writer specializing in blog writing, landing page content, and website copy. He is passionate about health and wellness, travel, and B2C content. When not writing, Tyler is riding his bike, playing his guitar, or hiking in the mountains.

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Author: Tyler Teresi

Latest posts:

Tyler Teresi

Tyler is a content writer specializing in blog writing, landing page content, and website copy. He is passionate about health and wellness, travel, and B2C content. When not writing, Tyler is riding his bike, playing his guitar, or hiking in the mountains.
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