Co-Washing Dream Turned Nightmare: How Co-Washing Can Go Horribly Wrong

Ariane Hair Doing Max Hydration Method

What my hair looks like doing Max Hydration Method

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Co-washing, for many women, has become a way to mitigate dryness that is experienced after cleansing hair, but this method is definitely not without its flaws. Ditching shampoo for conditioner may leave you with hair that is more moisturized and with curl definition.

See Also: Everything You Should Know About Co-washing

However, without balancing your routine with a moisturizing shampoo or at the very least a natural clarifier, after a while you will find yourself in a sticky situation…literally! Trust me, it can get pretty gross.

Read: 3 Simple DIY Options for Clarifying Natural Hair |

Even though shampoo doesn’t always leave our hair feeling or looking the way that we would like it to it, shampoo plays a very important role. It removes the buildup, dirt, and oil from our hair. While we may find this to be stripping to our hair, sometimes we need it. If you are a heavy product user like myself, your hair needs the relief.

For the past month I was doing the Max Hydration Method. While my results were pretty awesome, as I predicted, I got lazy. The Max Hydration Method includes a lot steps. The first step of this method requires that you remove build up from your hair using a natural baking soda mixture for clarifying. Overtime, I began to slack and decided to take a shortcut by opting to just co-wash my hair and proceeded to the next steps. I went without using shampoo or a natural clarifying solution.

Read How To Do the Max Hydration Method

For a while this worked out fine. My hair was supple, curls were popping, and best of all moisturized. As time went on, I began to notice that the front section of my hair had a spot where my hair gel decided to just cling on. I would try washing it out with my conditioner or rinsing out with water as I scrubbed it for dear life, but it just would not leave. In fact, it seemed like co-washing it was making it worse. It was almost as if the conditioner was sticking to the hair gel and combining with it leaving my hair with this horrible gooky feeling. I tried washing it out using just water at least 3 more times and when I looked in the mirror it was still there! I couldn’t believe it.

To remove the buildup, I ended up letting baking soda sit on my head for at least an hour, and I rinsed it out using shampoo. This ended up getting got the job done. This has to be one of the worst experiences I have had with my hair. Never before had I experienced a product that just sat in my hair no matter how hard I scrubbed it or washed it.

Read: 5 Other Reasons to Clarify Your Natural Hair

This doesn’t mean that I am giving up on co-washing, but it has led me to the conclusion that for my hair, there comes a point where I just have to shampoo. Co-washing, in most cases, will help you to have more moisture in your hair, however it must be balanced by using a cleanser. To avoid experiencing what I went through, make sure you incorporate shampooing or clarifying into your routine, even it it is just 1 to 2 times per month. You can cut down on dryness by following up with a deep conditioning session.

Have you experienced anything like this before?

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4 thoughts on “Co-Washing Dream Turned Nightmare: How Co-Washing Can Go Horribly Wrong

  1. Shirley

    My Hair is very very dry and it shrink so bad,I’m always ask did I cut my hair again. The dryness is causing me not to like my hair at all. What can I do about shrinkage and the it being so dry? Please help.

    Reply
    1. Diane in London

      Cut back on the shampooing and use a conditioner to wash instead. I recommend Treseme Nautrals conditioner. Its cheap and if you mix a handful with 1 teaspoon of vinegar, it gets my hair clean. Less shrinkage and dryness.

      Reply
  2. Pamela

    I hear a lot of naturals say shampooing is drying for both natural and relaxed hair (or black hair in general), but what shampoos are you all using that give such drying results? Most shampoos I try on myself or my daughter, who is 3.5 and, of course, natural, say moisturizing shampoo and are, indeed, moisturizing. I typically can feel the moisture as I am shampooing. My stylist, who does natural, relaxed, extensions, people loosing hair due to cancer or other illnesses, etc does not subscribe to co -washing because her belief is that the hair grows from a clean scalp with no build up, yet I hear my natural sisters loving co-washing then having trouble just as this writer did. I’ve used products in the Paul Mitchell, Joico, Aveda, Design Essential, WEN, Mizani, Beautiful Textures, etc lines and all of these lines feel moisturizing on both me and my daughter’s hair as I am shampooing. There are product lines that i have attempted to use but have found them drying as I shampooed, but I ceased use immediately and went back to the more familiar shampoos I use. I think ethnic women should shop around until they find the shampoo that IS moisturizing because they do exist. Co-washing seems to ultimately cause damage for so many and does nothing to help the scalp. Even when I use WEN, which I now feel is a co-wash, I use a shampoo every third wash just to remove build up.

    Reply
  3. The CrystalLyfe

    I shampoo and condition more than I co-wash. I really only co-wash when I’m being lazy on a wash day. I think it’s important that everyone understands that you have to listen to your hair and learn what is best. For me I get the best results by shampooing and conditioning.

    Reply

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