By Alison McGill
Curls need special care to keep them springy and shiny. Textured hair—course, curly natural hair in particular—tends to err on the dry side which means pumping extra moisture into your locks is essential. Over washing your hair can lead to dehydration; if you also colour your hair, too much shampooing can also accelerate colour fading.
Co-washing is a way of gently cleansing hair without stripping away moisture or colour pigments. Read on to learn all about co-washing and why everyone with curls and delicate strands should be doing it!
What Is Co-Washing?
This is the practice of using a specially formulated cream cleanser to remove any buildup or residue from your hair. Products provide a light and hydrating cleans. Co-wash products do not contain lather-boasting ingredients like sulfates or parabens, so it’s a practice that’s more conditioning than it is cleansing. The gentle formulations ensure you don’t strip away your hair’s natural oils, which not only help to keep your hair hydrated but also keep frizz in check.
How To Co-Wash Your Hair
Think of this to refresh your hair between proper shampoo and conditioning sessions. Wet hair and apply your co-wash product from roots to ends. Pay special attention to your scalp when you co-wash because this is where the deepest cleansing needs to happen. Massage product into your scalp, giving it a good scrub to remove excess oil and debris. Run a comb through your hair to ensure every strand gets a hit. Rinse hair completely, apply styling products, then air dry or diffuse as usual.
Can You Co-Wash Hair Consecutively?
Because you are not giving hair a proper deep clean, it’s recommended to co-wash hair no more than two times back-to-back. Because it’s so conditioning, you run the risk of product build up on your scalp and ends which leads to limp, listless locks. Also, if you have any existing scalp conditions like dandruff, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, co-washing is not for you. Because it provides only a light cleanse, co-washing will not remove the excessive flakes and oil that builds up on the scalp with these conditions.
The Best Co-Wash Products To Try Now
Oribe Cleansing Cream
$57 for 250ml
If you want to splurge on a luxury co-wash, this is the one! Leaves hair feeling soft, silky, and smelling amazing thanks to Oribe’s heavenly signature scent.
Aveda Be Curly Co-Wash
$42 for 250ml
This co-wash is infused with organic babassu oil which is loved for its deep conditioning properties. Your hair will feel salon-fresh for up to three days after use.
Davines Love Curl Cleansing Cream
$60 for 500ml
The star ingredient in this gem is Noto almond extract—it smells like a dream and provides just the right amount of cleansing. Use for two consecutive co-washes, then treat hair to a traditional shampoo cleanse.
Christophe Robin, Luscious Curl Conditioning Cleanser
$59 for 250ml
Chia seed oil is the magic elixir in this gentle cleanser that foams into a light lather to leave scalp and curls feeling clean and re-energized.
L’Oreal Professional Curl Expression Shampoo
$38 for 500ml
This co-wash contains concentrated amounts of glycerin and hibiscus seed to deliver long-lasting hydration to curls.