What is Co-Washing and Why is it So Great for Curly Hair?

What is Co-Washing?Have you heard of co-washing? If you have curly hair or you’ve researched going without shampoo, you might have seen the term around.

Before we learn what co-washing is and why it’s so awesome, we have two facts to get out of the way:

  1. It’s not good to shampoo your hair every day. Even every other day can be too much.
  2. Lack of moisture can be a problem for gals with curly hair. Even straight-haired ladies can have this problem.

So, what do you do when you don’t want to shampoo your hair but you still need the moisture?

You co-wash!

What is Co-Washing?

Co-washing is simple. Instead of washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner, you skip the shampoo and use only the conditioner.

That’s right, you just use conditioner.

That’s why it’s called co-washing: “co” stands for conditioner!

How do you co-wash?

You know how to use conditioner? You put it in your damp hair in the shower and let it sit for a minute, then rinse it out. Easy! It’s no different when co-washing.

What is Co-Washing? DirectionsHere’s a typical time-frame for washing and co-washing hair (which I use regularly), whether straight or curly:

  • Day 1: Wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner as normal.
  • Day 2: Rinse hair with water only.
  • Day 3: Rinse hair with water, just like the day before.
  • Day 4 or 5: Wash your hair with conditioner. Just skip the shampoo step and use conditioner instead. Be sure to rinse it out!

After co-washing, you can go several more days of rinsing only with water before you feel like you need to shampoo again.

Co-washing can revitalize hair that was starting to frizz, get greasy or become limp and unmanageable—all while avoiding the hair-stripping nature of shampoo.

Why is Co-Washing Great for Curly Hair?

Although anyone can co-wash, curly-haired gals are the ones who use this method the most.

Those with curly hair also tend to have dry hair. Because of this, we can go longer without shampooing because the scalp’s natural oils soak right into the hair.

However, we need added moisture sometimes. Co-washing can actually make hair look better than normal.

To put it into context, I recently went 5 days after shampooing my hair. My curly hair started to look limp, tangled and frizzy.

On that fifth day, I co-washed my hair. I ended up with beautiful, well-formed curls that looked and felt fresh and clean.

Here’s how it looked after co-washing:

What is Co-Washing? Curly HairIt looks awesome. This is way good for 5-day hair. In fact, my hair often looks even better the day after I co-wash.

Will you co-wash?

Now that you know what co-washing is and how to do it, do you think you’ll give it a try?

I recommend following the time-frame above for one week to see how your hair performs. You just might like it!

Added bonus: You’ll totally save money on shampoo.


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  1. I’m glad co-washing is working so well for you. I don’t think I’ll give it a try though. I have oily hair and I’m afraid a conditioner wouldn’t be able to remove all the excess oil and dirt in its own.

  2. I have very dry curly hair. This sounds great for me. I’ll have to give it a try!

  3. I have very curly hair, so I will definitely give it a try. Anything to help with curls I will try.

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