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Co-Washing & Cleansing Conditioners

Co-Washing & Cleansing Conditioners
Writer and expert6 years ago
View Laura's profile

If you're into your beauty blogs, you might have heard the phrase 'co-washing' floating around. We're also seeing cleansing conditioners popping up everywhere too, with even haircare giants like Kérastase getting on board with the concept. But what is it all about and is it right for you?

What is Co-Washing?

Co-washing is essentially just using a conditioner instead of a shampoo to wash and cleanse your hair. It has been used by black women for a long time to keep naturally coarse hair from drying out or becoming damaged from over-washing.

Now more and more women with dry, damaged or coarse hair are catching on and skipping the shampoo!

What are the Benefits?

Co-washing doesn't work for everyone but when it does, it can totally revitalise your hair. The key benefits are:

  • It is gentler than traditional shampoos, making it perfect for damaged, brittle hair
  • It doesn't strip natural oils, leaving dry hair hydrated and conditioned
  • It helps make hair prone to tangles and breakages more manageable
  • It can give fluffy, limp hair a bit of grip and life, like having perfect second-day hair straight away

All of these benefits tend to make co-washing the perfect option for natural afro hair, curly hair, coarse hair or very dry, damaged hair.

How to Try it for Yourself

There are a few golden rules for making co-washing work for you:

  1. Don't do it too often. Start with once a week and depending on how much hydration you feel your hair needs, you can decrease or increase the number of times you co-wash.
  2. Avoid sulphates. These are harder to rinse out without a shampoo so if you're co-washing with a conditioner containing sulphates, it will build up on your hair.
  3. Try a cleansing conditioner. These incorporate some of the shampooing ingredients that can help prevent product build up and remove dirt more effectively than traditional conditioners alone.
  4. Use a clarifying shampoo. Even if you discover your hair loves co-washing and you could do it all week long, it is important to clear out any build up at least every week or two. It will keep your scalp clear and healthy.
  5. Give it time to work. If you are using a cleansing conditioner, many take a little time to penetrate and cleanse effectively. Massage product into the scalp and hair and leave it for about 5 minutes before rinsing so that the gentle cleansing agents can work.

The Best Cleansing Conditioners

From fine locks to curls and coils, these are the best cleansing conditioners around to make co-washing a breeze.

hif Intensive Detox Conditioner (180ml)

This intensive conditioner from hif (Hair is Fabric) works to remove styling products and dirt from the hair and scalp whilst conditioning and detangling. It also helps reduce hair loss and breakage thanks to high iron levels from a desert date bio-complex. There are a wide selection of different cleansing conditioners for different hair needs so this is a brand to check out.

Grow Gorgeous Curl Defining Cleansing Conditioner 400ml

This cleansing conditioner from Grow Gorgeous is a total hair saviour. Boasting 11 different benefits from cleansing and conditioning to protecting and smoothing, it is everything you need to revitalise your scalp while conditioning your hair, all in 1 step.

Ojon Moisture Rich Cleansing Conditioner (240ml)

This sulphate and glycerine free conditioner created a gentle lather to cleanse without stripping. It is packed with Coconut Oil Cream and Ojon Oil to nourish your hair and add beautiful shine, perfect for extra dry hair.

Matrix Biolage Cleansing Conditioner - Fine Hair (500ml)

Matrix's Biolage range has a number of different cleansing conditioners for different hair types. We love this one specially formulated for fine hair. It adds shine and flexibility without weighing down the hair, thanks to the citrus extracts and low-foam, soap-free cleansing agents .

Joico Colour Co+Wash Whipped Cleansing Conditioner for Colour-Treated Hair (245ml)

Dyed or treated hair can quickly look dull and damaged after too many washes so using a cleansing conditioner in between shampoos can help keep your hair bright and shiny. This one from Joico contains Arginine to keep your colour looking its very best and the whipped texture feels beautifully light and fresh.

Macadamia Flawless Cleansing Conditioner (90ml)

This cleansing conditioner from Macadamaia helps packed full of hair friendly ingredients like Macadamia Oil, Chamomile and Vitamin E, to help soften and hydrate. It has a lightweight formula and the pump makes sure you don't overload your hair, so you get gorgeous soft, shiny hair every time.
Writer and expert
View Laura's profile
Major fan of scented candles, Make Up brushes and Highlighter. I’m always on the hunt for those Holy Grail products and my dressing table is covered in more beauty products than I like to admit. As an adopted Northerner originally from Brighton, I spend most my days wondering what all this rain is about. My hair isn’t grateful for the move. Currently loving: NIOD Photography Fluid