Co-Washing For Natural Hair!
As many of you may recognize, a great article on co-washing has already been published, however the author, Dena, focused on the technique from a relaxed perspective. In order to be fully informative about the subject, we cannot leave the naturals out of the equation, therefore, I’ll be offering my perspective on the process! The benefits of CO-washing (Conditioner Only Washing) on relaxed and natural heads do not differ significantly. Much will be reiterated in this post, but I think it is worth it in order to give all of the un-relaxed ladies a good idea of what co-washing really is.
The basics of co-washing is the same, as stated in the original post (co-washing for relaxed heads where u can read more on the basics of the this method), “Co-washing is simply washing the hair with conditioner only. Shampoo is eliminated from the process when co-washing.” Co-washing has been known to help with detangling, combing, and promoting overall growth of the hair by keeping the scalp clean and moisturized without stripping the hair of its natural oils like most sulfate-containing shampoos do. Many naturals have given co-washing two thumbs up, attributing the method of cleansing the scalp to: defining the curl pattern, softening the hair, and making it more manageable.
If you choose to try co-washing it is done best with the cheaper conditioners. For most naturals, moisturizing conditioners (I use Aussie Moist and love it: see review) work best, as moisture is imperative to our natural curls. All the while, we do not require as much protein as relaxed heads since we don’t have chemicals stripping our hair of the natural protein its infused with. Using a protein based conditioner will actually cause protein overload and result in unwanted breakage.
The conditioner is applied to the hair, slightly massaged into the scalp, left on for a few minutes, then it is rinsed out. You may choose to let the conditioner penetrate the hair shaft by letting it sit on a bit longer, or with a shower cap, however, with the cheap conditioners, you may find that you don’t want some of the ingredients sitting on your hair for too long. Most of us find it beneficial to leave that job to the Deep conditioners. You may repeat the process if you so desire. Naturals may co-wash daily or once a week; the frequency is very flexible, that’s a plus to being natural – the freedom!
A couple of things that you don’t want to forget :
- You still will need to use a shampoo for clarification to remove any product buildup you may experience over time.
- Avoid heavy conditioners, esp those with petrolatum, mineral oil, etc.
- Avoid moisture overload and reduce the frequency of co-washing if you experience such.
- Just b/c you co-wash with a moisture conditioner, don’t totally cut out a heavy protein treatment (every 6-8 weeks more or less) or light protein(1-2x a week), as it’s important for the hair to keep a healthy balance of both.
- You are at liberty to deep condition the same day if you want
Although some naturals (none that I’ve talked to might I add) may not like the co-washing process, when done correctly, co-washing has proven to be very helpful in cleansing and treating our tresses. If you decide to try this process, take heed to the way your hair responds and don’t hesitate to listen! As you will be able to adjust the frequency and overall co-washing routine to its optimal level for your tresses! I hope that I’ve helped someone out there in cyber-space…More info can be found over at the bhp forum in one of many co-washing threads.
Until next time…Happy Healthy Hair Growing!Show
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