The Co-Washing Method

The Co-Washing Method

OK, time to redirect your thoughts. This is not some cool and trendy way of more people getting their hair clean at one time, leading to less use of water, products and more in a kind of green move. The “co” that’s used in this sense is an abbreviated form of the word “conditioner.” And in “co-washing,” you can safely assume what you’re now beginning to envision. It is entirely possible to effectively wash your hair with conditioner–skipping the shampoo altogether and jumping directly to the phase that has always been historically reserved for a post-shampoo process. Until now, that is. Turns out, shampooing has been more about the bubbles–or suds, and less about the true benefit it brings to your hair. resulting in less of that sharper, squeaky clean effect, and more of an “hours later,” or “second-day” hair.

Could Work for You, Depending on Your Hair Type
Not every type of hair lends itself as well to co-washing, but certainly hair types that are characteristically dry, curly or even wavy (which can both generally be more on the dry side,) are prime candidates for co-washing. A little-known fact is that probably forever–a certain percentage of women have been washing their hair with only conditioner, and we just didn’t know about it. did you know that even in conditioners there are trace ingredients known as cationic surfactants, or “quats,” which are essentially detergents? To find these on the listed among the ingredients on the label of your conditioner, check for “cetrimonium” and “behentrimonium chloride,” for a couple of the ones in more standard use. The thing is, these quats are able to pick up minuscule amounts of dirt when the come in contact with water, and end up leaving hair clean, but perhaps not as squeaky clean as you’re used to. A really nice benefit here is that there’s a healthy volume of your hair’s own natural oil that remains in the strands; unstripped and thus continuing to protect and moisturize your hair.

The Particulars
A necessary component with co-washing involves a “maintenance job” every two to four weeks. While your hair is going to absolutely love this gentle treatment, once in awhile, you’re going to need to clean the slate. Occasional cleansing with a gentle, low-sudsing shampoo (oddly, it’s the sudsing component that does the worst damage to hair,) will keep your hair balanced with the ideal PH, and keep it protected at the same time. It’s important to know that not every hair type does best with one, across the board frequency of sporadic shampooing. You’ll need to observe just how long you can stretch out the times between shampoo sessions with emollient co-washing as your mainstay form of cleansing. Once you figure this out, you’ll be truly set for ensuring that your hair is protected in the very best way–making you look so very good.

Co-washing Perks
Among the less harsh benefits of treatment with co-washing for your tender strands, anyone with chemically treated–particularly color-processed hair can breathe easy, and enjoy guilt-free washing that thoroughly cleanses in cleaning such delicate hair. A conditioner does far less stripping of coloring pigmentation than traditional shampooing cleansing can.

Co-Washing is Questionable Cleansing for Certain Hair Types
There are a few groups that would be better behooved to just stick with the shampoo/condition routine, and be happy anyway. These are:

  • Anyone with straight, fine and silky hair. Co-washing will only weigh down this type of hair, making it look worse, instead of better.
  • People suffering from dermatitis or an oily scalp condition.
  • Bubble/suds lovers.
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