What is co-washing (To cowash or co-wash)?

Co-washing is a no poo method or shampoo alternative method used in cleaning natural or curly hair.


What is co-washing?

Co-washing is short for “conditioner washing,” or cleansing your hair with your favorite conditioner instead of shampoo. I believe the actual term was coined by Curly Girl Method creator and author of Curly Girl: The Handbook Lorraine Massey. The Curly Girl Method is a curly girl’s step-by-step guide to beautiful curls.

A curly girl has to take all measures to ensure that curls stay hydrated. A “no-poo” hair regimen that consists of regular co-washing can create beautifully nourished waves and curls. Some even believe cowashing can prevent split ends and other hair damage.  Today there are so many sulfate free gentle and moisturizing shampoos that you can get the same results as cowashing.

Many swear by cowashing, exclusively. Some conditioners actually contain ingredients with cleansing properties. But conditioners are formulated to leave particles on the hair instead of remove them like shampoo. You may notice that your scalp is itchy and your hair is dull and weighed down. These are good indications that you need to shampoo.

SEE ALSO: Youtuber Shampoos for First Time 3 Years



6 thoughts on “What is co-washing (To cowash or co-wash)?

  1. H. Roberta Williams

    I haven’t used shampoo since i read the attached article on your site (no more shampoo!). I’ve been using baking soda and conditioner ever since. Just this weekend I tried the white vineagar, and it worked just as well. I’ve noticed a marked difference in my hair since I stopped using shampoo and started with the baking soda. No more flakes, no more itchiness, no more dryness and a lot more moisture. I love it!

  2. Karen

    I co-wash at least 2 times per week (more if my hair feels dry). I shampoo maybe twice a month. It’s working for me. I’m all about my hair not feeling and/or looking like brillo pad.

  3. Mia

    I shampoo once a week, with a a sulfate free shampoo. I also condition with no cone products. Works for me hair is soft and free of flakes and itchy stuff..

  4. Silky Coils

    I’ve tried this method before and I’m ok with it…I guess. Lol. Since discovering some good shampoos with no sulfate, I am ok with using these products versus just washing with conditioner.

    1. naturalhairrules Post author

      I totally understand. I have to shampoo at least once a week with a sulfate free shampoo.

  5. Crys

    I recently started working out so I think my routine will include a weekly cowash (in braids) but I’m not sure if I will shampoo bi-weekly or monthly. Prior to working out I was shampoo-ing biweekly. Anyone dealing with working out? I also should mention my hair is 4a/4b and very prone to tangles and breakage; therefore, I wear stretched protective styles during the week.


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