The phenomenal women issue
Co-washing... Have you heard?
BY NICOLE MANGRUM
Unless you are a big hair rockin’, kinky twist wearing, curly haired naturalista you probably aren’t unaware of the movement that’s happening right under your pretty little nose. Co-washing is blowing up on the Internet these days with over 74 million Google results and countless companies coming up with formulas to fill this growing niche. As a celebrity hairstylist and constant professional I’m always experimenting and trying new products and techniques to keep up with trends and to satisfy my savvy clients. So when the concept of co-washing was brought to me during a conversation, I was intrigued. No-poo (no shampoo), hum…I must admit I was a little skeptical at first. I asked myself, “Would the hair actually get clean without the lather of traditional shampoo? Is this new way of cleansing the hair just for curly girls or can everyone use it?”
So this is what I found out. Co-washing is a method of cleansing the hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Conditioners are formulated with small amounts of surfactants (detergents) that aid in removing dirt but not stripping the hair of its natural oils. This is why conditioners are so gentle yet effective in co-washing. Co-washing is not a new concept but rather a road less traveled by forward thinking naturalist that wanted to save their drying hair from the harsh effects of shampoos; in exchange for healthier, hydrated and more manageable tresses.
It has now been six months since I began co-washing. After about a month of just co-washing twice a week, my hair felt a little heavy. To get a squeakier clean, I decided to reset my tresses with a gentle moisturizing sulfate–free shampoo. I missed my lather! The method of resetting the strands with a shampoo to remove the excess oil and buildup is also a great addition to co-washing for thinner and oily hair types. Textured hair is typically dryer because it’s harder for the natural oils to navigate down to the ends because of its coils. With that being said, people with textured curly or dry damaged hair reap the most benefits from co-washing. You can also do too much of a good thing. Co-washing can have amazing results but beware of over-conditioning and products that contain silicone that will coat the hair and eventually cause unwanted buildup.
My advice is to personalize a regime that works best for your hair. Consistent practice in this method will have big payoffs!
When co-washing, remember to manipulate the conditioner into the scalp and through to the ends otherwise you are not really removing the surface dirt and buildup from the hair shaft. Don’t be afraid to really get in there.
Make sure to rinse, rinse, rinse or hair may feel weighed down and appear dull.
Keep your current shampoo regimen and gradually eliminate your shampoo step to allow your scalp to adjust.