Everything You Need to Know About Co-Washing Natural Hair

You have probably heard of the term ‘co-washing’ before. Co-washing your natural hair can provide numerous benefits for the health of your hair both short-term and long-term. But what is a co-wash exactly? And what are the benefits of co-washing? Here is everything you need to know about co-washing natural hair:

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co-wash natural hair

What is co-washing?

So, what is co-washing? Co-washing is the process of cleansing the hair with the use of a conditioner product only. In comparison with shampoo, co-washing your natural hair can be a much gentler cleansing process. The reason being is because the conditioner is not stripping the hair strands of their naturals oils, and helps to replenish moisture in the process of cleansing. For curls, coils, and kinks, this can be very beneficial because the natural oils of the spiral-shaped strands already have more difficulty reaching the ends.

Certain shampoos cleanse too harshly to the point where they can dry out your hair by stripping the strands of their natural oils. Shampooing your hair too frequently can also contribute to dry hair. Although it is still necessary to shampoo your hair to thoroughly remove build-up, co-washing is a good way to gently cleanse the hair without the harsh drying effects. 

The benefits of co-washing natural hair:

Following up with a conditioner after shampooing should be included to restore any loss of moisture with washing. However, it definitely pays off to incorporate routine conditioner-only washes in your hair care regimen. There are a variety of benefits to co-washing natural hair. One of which is moisture retention. Because co-washing is such a quick process, it makes it easy to apply and retain moisture. You are cleansing your strands and scalp of build-up, allowing for unrestricted growth and better absorption of product.

Additionally, a routine co-wash can help to improve the manageability of your hair with the help of constant moisture. The more often you hydrate your strands, the better they are at retaining moisture and  the less prone they are to tangles, breakage, etc. The creamy consistency and softening ingredients of the conditioner products additionally helps to loosen tangles, making the detangling process much easier.

More benefits of co-washing natural hair:

  • Quick and easy process
  • Promotes moisture retention
  • Adds shine to strands
  • Helps to soften hair
  • Conditioner consistency makes for smooth detangling
  • Improved manageability
co-washing hair
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How to co-wash:

The co-washing process is simple and quick. Any conditioner will do, and there are also products made specifically for co-washing natural hair. Either way can still provide benefit. 

You are first going to start off wetting your hair with lukewarm water. Then, thoroughly apply your co-wash throughout all of your hair strands from root to tip. Working in sections will make it easier to apply the product to ensure your hair is fully covered and cleansed. Also, make sure you are cleansing your scalp of build-up as well. Add a scalp massage to further stimulate the hair follicles. Leave the conditioner on your hair for about 5-10 minutes (this is a good time to detangle). Then, rinse out any remaining product.

The results after co-washing are soft, shiny, and hydrated strands. Co-washing is great for when you want to refresh your hair sometime throughout the week without going through your whole wash day routine.

Co-wash hair products:

As co-washing has gained in popularity, there has been an introduction of products made specifically for co-washing natural hair. A lot of these products consist of a variety of hydrating and strengthening ingredients. Some of those ingredients include natural extracts, smoothing butters, and oils that serve as moisture sealants. All of which are formulated to help provide a gentle, hydrating cleanse.

Here are some good picks of co-wash hair products:

1. Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Cleansing CoWash

The Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Cleansing CoWash includes a moisturizing blend of not only coconut oil and shea butter, but other natural extracts like aloe vera as well. Coconut oil is a penetrating oil (when water is applied first) that is able to provide moisturizing effects for the hair shaft. Shea butter consists of varying fatty acids and vitamins that offer conditioning properties throughout your hair.

Aside from the moisturizing abilities of this co-wash for natural hair, the product is thick and creamy and is able to provide a thorough coverage of your strands to cleanse. With the help of softening agents in this co-wash, your detangling comb will be able to glide more smoothly throughout.

co-wash hair products

2. Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp & Tamanu Co-Wash

This co-wash from Nubian Heritage contains multiple naturally derived oils and extracts. Some of those unique extracts include monoi, garlic extract, and bamboo extract. There is also a nice addition of shea butter that aids in softness, and essential oils that help to contribute to a lush scent. This array of ingredients all work together to hydrate and cleanse the hair of build-up, without the harsh drying effects that some shampoos cause.  The Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp & Tamanu Co-Wash is gentle enough for those with color-treated or damaged hair too. 

co-wash hair products

3. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser

With a luscious scent of coconut and hibiscus, this cleansing co-wash is not only formulated to leave your hair smelling good, but feeling good as well. The Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser features a combination of conditioning ingredients that help to moisturize, cleanse, and promote healthier hair. Aside from coconut oil and hibiscus extracts, this co-wash additionally contains shea butter and essential oil blends that help to seal moisture.

The shea butter helps to smooth your hair strands and reduce frizz, while the added hibiscus extracts aid in gradually strengthening the strands. You will also find that the natural oil ingredients help to add a nice shine to your hair. Those with damaged or excessively dry hair will find benefit with this gently cleansing product that does not strip the hair of its natural oils.

co-wash products


Do you co-wash your natural hair? If so, have you noticed any changes in your hair?

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