Natural Hair Mag

Is Co-washing Good for the Hair?

First of all you wash clothes, cars, dishes and your body; you shampoo your hair. (Hence shampoo for hair and soap for all else. LOL)  But for the sake of the term Co-washing I will use it. I have been reading, hearing and seeing about this ridiculous faux pas.  Many of you have fallen into this trend of co-washing. Well just to clear the air, its not considered washing if you are not removing dirt and build up. So technically washing your hair with conditioner is like washing dirty dishes with oil. You wouldn’t do that now would you? Well maybe some of you would try it because you saw a YouTube video of someone doing it. LMAO. But I wouldn’t eat or drink using your dishes. Ewww. Or it’s like taking a shower and instead of soap using lotion. Hmmm wonders how funky people would be if someone actually tried that. (Gags a bit)


I mean really so you are going to take your dirty hair and put conditioner on it and seal in the dirt and build up in your hair, totally not cool, SMH. You should shampoo your hair at least 2 times using hot water. Hot water lifts the cuticle layer of your hair, which is where your products sit when you apply them. Your first shampoo is to lift & loosen dirt. Your second shampoo is to remove dirt. Shampooing your hair with a clarifying shampoo helps to remove dirt from natural oils, sweating or outside debris and build up from the plethora of products that you use in your hair.  Clarifying shampoos are clear, see through. They will be also labeled as daily cleansers. The second shampoo should be a moisturizing one. Moisturizing shampoos are creamy and opaque in color.  They are great for replenishing the moisture that you just removed with the clarifying shampoo. Your hair should feel squeaky clean once done shampooing. If it doesn’t shampoo again until it does.


Follow up by utilizing a conditioner to help seal in the moisture. If your hair is severely dry you can use a steamer or place a processing cap on and sit under dryer for 15-30 minutes. From what I have found in my product junkie days is that products that are aimed at Caucasian people tend to be more moisturizing to textured hair. These products are not harsh like some of the ones geared towards textured hair. When rinsing conditioner out use cool or cold water. This helps to close the cuticle layer and seal that moisture into your lovely tresses.


When blowing the hair dry alternate between the hot and cool settings. This way it doesn’t burn your hair and it helps to seal that moisture in your hair. If you are noticing a fog or smoke when blow-drying that’s an indication that your hair is still dirty or it has product left on it. Go back and rinse until water runs clear. If you follow this regiment you will notice that your hair will be healthier, softer, and have more body. It’s not that difficult to have healthy hair. It’s really easy. Always remember less is more when it comes to natural hair.

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  • Lena

    I do not believe it is necessary to shampoo your hair. From my personal experience, it is very drying. Since going natural, I’ve used different shampoos, most claiming to be moisturizing. Unfortunately these all left my hair feeling like hay. The moisture they robbed my hair of took over 2-3 weeks to get back. No matter how much water I drank, veggies I ate, oils or conditioners I used, it remained dry. Needless to say, I do not shampoo my hair anymore. To cleanse the buildup and dirt out of my hair and scalp, I use ACV with water. It’s about a half and half mix. This leaves my hair clean, bouncy and light. This is my replacement for shampoo and it does not dry my hair out. I follow this up with a conditioner or deep treatment and my hair feels amazing.

    • Lena I concur. I no longer use shampoo because it strips my hair of everything, including life. As a replacement I’ve also introduced Apple Cider Vinegar 1:1 with water. This cleanses my hair while avoiding stripping it of its nutrients. I follow up with a co-wash. This conditions my hair and leaves a pleasing scent.

    • Brandie Aleman

      I shampoo my hair once a month although it dries my hair out no matter what type of shampoo I use. But I make sure I deep condition after I wash. Also there are special formulated cowashes such As I Am that I use to cowash my hair. My hair is always clean after I use the cowash without drying it out. Everyones hair speaks to them and everyones hair porosity is different.

    • Nikki

      What exactly is ACV and it is a 50/50 mix of what? I am new to being natural and I am trying to get my hair not to be so dry and frizzy looking. I’m almost a year natural but I was straightening my hair. I have been wearing twist outs for almost a month now and is still trying to find the right products.

      • Monica

        Acv= apple cider vinegar 50% water 50% apple cider vinegar

      • Letitia

        ACV = Apple Cider Vinegar. 50/50 mix = equal parts water and ACV. Good luck on your journey

    • Kanani

      I believe this.Article to be true. As I have been natural my entire 24yrs of life, I have tried both cowashing and ACV rinses. Neither works on my hair at all, even after numerous attemots. Cowashing just makes my hair super frizzy and it doesn’t feel clean. ACV rinses dry out my hair badly and make it feel weak and brittle. So I went back to usng a cleansing shampoo and doing a pre-poo regimen and deep conditioner treatment after. Best thing ever for my hair. Everyone’s hair is different and will react differently to different products. But as far as this article, I believe it’s true as far as cowashing is concerned

  • Gigi

    I only use shampoo on clarifying days (twice a month), otherwise, I use Eden Body Naturals coconut co-wash and it works fine for cleansing my hair. It feels soft, clean, and it allows me to easily finger detangle. I don’t blow dry my hair anyway, so that’s no big deal.

  • I ddon’t using shampoo either it’s vvvery drying to hair

  • Chane

    I’ve had natural hair for my whole 22 years. I’ve went from braiding my natural hair to putting in braids (which eventually took some of my hairline. Not cool), to sew in. Once during my sew in the hair dresser creamed the lining of my hair, now it’s growing back and it feels very stumpy, and looks the same. The second time, I did an invisible part and creamed that part of my hair (I didn’t know it was cream, I thought it was the chemical that could be washed out/sweat out). I would love to get ideas in regards to getting my hair to waist length (it’s currently right above bsl but doesn’t look that way unless it’s flat ironed. My curls when wet aren’t tight but they are not that loose either. My hair friz a whole lot and to me it feels as if the texture is going. I’ve been trying to find the right shampoo, conditioner, hair regimen period. Tried tresseme natural, heard it isn’t good (which I have really felt a change in my hair since indeed).

    I’m scared of trying the wrong things and my hair fall out or so. I would cry my eyes out. Can anyone help? I am not able to pay a hair dresser quite often and I do not know how to do hair (cornrow etc), So I’m just stuck here with my hair a lot of times looking shrinky, and frizzy when done, or frizzy and dry when it’s just caught up in one.

    Help someone please! 🙁

  • Jo

    I do not agree. Whether co-washing or clarifying you are using water, scrubbing and rinsing. Conditioner can clean your hair but not strip it. Our hair needs the extra oil to survive at least mines does otherwise it dries and breaks. But you do need to wash it with shampoo at some point as is part of an average monthly co-washing regimen.

    I live somewhere between co-washing and clarifying. Straight co-washing with infrequent clarifying was not good for my hair. But Co-washing allows me to refresh my doo for longer periods between an actual wash and maintain healthy moisture. I will clarify every two weeks and co-wash weekly or as frequently as I need to. I tried the every three day co-wash deal and that was not good over time. Once a week is good fpr me.

    As for the washing dished analogy well that’s just silly. I wash my dishes daily with soap. I do not wash my hair daily. I would be bald and walk around with wet hair most of the time as it takes a long time for my hair to dry. Once dried my hair would become dry fragile and brittle.

    Following the traditional two week shampoo regime as most black people have done my entire life works for me. Now adding an in between rinse with conditioner its even better.

    I feel at a very comfortable hygienic place doing so far from being nasty.

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  • Paige

    Everyone’s hair is different but for most people shampoo’s containing sulfates dry and damage your hair. That applies to people of all ethnicities. I disagree with this article on that aspect but it is correct that you need to cleanse your hair not just condition it. There are many sulfate free shampoos on the market now which can be used. Also using a backing soda/water mixture will actually cleanse your scalp and hair. Most people follow that up with acv/water mixture which dissolves buildup/dandruff and conditions. I personally use wen (a cleansing conditioner) for my day to day washes and about once a month do a deep clean with the backing soda wash and acv condition. This has worked the best for my hair. Shampoos just made it dry and brittle and caused me to have to weigh it down with product to add moisture back in.

  • jeff ndunda

    Prepooing using your best conditioner mixd with EV coconut oil ,use a sulfate free shampoo,then deep condition for 10 -15mins,this ensures your tresses remain clean,moisturised and dont suffer hydra fatigue.

  • Bernie

    I have been a natural off and on for my entire life. I have had periods of time when I would shampoo every day and periods when I would cowash daily. Both methods work well for me. Shampooing daily has never stripped my hair of moisture. I always follow up with either a conditioner or deep conditioner as well as a good leave-in and sealant. Cowashing daily leaves my hair tangle free. I never have to use a comb when using this method and detangling my mbl hair literally takes 2 minutes in the shower. When I cowash daily, I follow the rules of the curly girl method: use hair products and conditioners without silicones and no heavy oils and butters. My hair and scalp are always clean and fresh using this method. Due to the climate that I live in, I do not use this method in cold weather months,I need butters then, but during warm weather months it works well for me.

  • Pingback: Co-Washing: Does it Work? | The Painted Mane()

  • Angie

    Greetings everyone,

    This is Angie the Author of this Article and there shampoos out there that will not dry your hair. As a licensed cosmetologist, conditioners are not designed to cleanse hair. How often are you shampooing your hair? Are you using store bought shampoos or are they professional line? Are they sulfate and paraben free? Do they contain a form of alcohol? Are they marketed specifically for “natural hair/curly hair”? Are you using multiple products on your hair? Do you have split ends?

    Over cleansing natural hair will definitely dry the hair out. Because of our curl pattern oil is heavily concentrated near the scalp and not on the mid shaft or ends. Certain products will have some type of alcohol in it which will dry the hair. Learn how to read labels on products and decipher what really in the product you are using. In my experience,some products that are marketed for us aren’t really helping to keep our hair soft and moisturized. Don’t believe the hype, seeing as though I have worked on sets for product marketing and some of the things you see on the package are not real. Example – eyelash commercials always uses individual lashes or lash extensions to make you believe that the product you are buying will make your lashes look like “false lashes”. So don’t believe everything you see on t.v., internet or product packaging. The goal is to get you to BUY! Also using too many products will cause adverse reactions of the hair. Meaning your hair will become unruly and won’t respond to anything you put on it. Try to stick with the same line of products as they are made to work with each other.

    Personally as a hairstylist I like using natural products as well. You just have to know how to use them effectively. Using too many natural products will give you the same result as with branded hair products as I mentioned before. There is a method to the madness when it comes to natural hair and what works for one may not work for another. My suggestion is to seek a professional for advice and product recommendations. Seek one who specializes in natural hair. If the stylist main thing is relaxers and weaves run far far away. I am simply trying to help educate my beautiful queens on how to properly care for their tresses, with ease and less stress. If anyone shall have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me via my FB fan page: SKYHH Salon.

  • Eyce

    I cowash daily or every few days and my hair grows like a weed. It’s healthy. I was dealing with moisture and frizz issues until I started using Tresseme Natural. And Now my curls literally pop out my head in the shower. The only thing I add is Cantu Coconut Curling Cream. Sometimes a slight dab of Eco Styled w/Argan Oil. I get that you want to see us visit stylists. But the truth is that there are FEW natural hair stylists who know what they are doing. I know my hair and how it grows and honestly it grows faster than anyone I know with little work. And NO I don’t have a specially ‘good’ hair texture. To tell people who you’ve never seen that they are doing it wrong is Kinda pompous. What makes a natural hair stylist better than anyone else? From what I see, you’re learning this the same way we are…trial, error, tutorials (live or online). All hair types are different…but I’m confident my hair isn’t dirty after my co-wash, it’s actually quite beautiful.