No one loves a cowash more than me! As a year-round wash and go lovely, I love cowashing my hair and steadfastly hate shampoo! I hate how it makes my hair feel and shampoos in my past always left my hair rough, tangled and lacking much-needed moisture. Finding the right cowash natural hair products can be hard that will do the job of cleansing while being gentle.
GOING NATURAL: What’s The Difference Between Shampoo & Cowash
Co-washing my hair became a staple when I adopted the Curly Girl Method back in 2013, but it has to be done the right way. Not only the right way but with some assistance of other products. Despite how nourishing and moisturized my curls can feel by cowashing, there are some mistakes that can be made as rules still apply when conditioner washing your natural hair more often than with shampoo. Here is much needed crash course on what NOT to do so you can have healthy and clean hair when using a cowash.
I know many suggest any conditioner is perfect for conditioner washing your hair but to fully cleanse and remove all forms of dirt and build-up, you need a botanical conditioner (plant-based) or cleansing conditioners. These types of conditioners will cleanse, hydrate and condition your hair all at once. They are great alternatives to harsh shampoos. Most naturals have their favorites so try a few until you find your Holy Grail.
Here are some super popular cowash cleansing conditioners that most naturals have tried, really like or on their holy grail list. The market is full of them as more brands become aware of how popular they are with curly girls, but these are the ones I recommend. I’ve personally tried two on the list but I know the other two are just as amazing.
AS I AM Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner
SheaMoisture CoWash Conditioning Cleanser
Eden Body Works All Natural Cleansing CoWash
DEVACURL No-Poo Original Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser
I wish it weren’t true but our hair needs clarifying shampoos sometimes. They are necessary for whenever you are putting non-water soluble silicones (which need shampoos to remove) or when hair is super dirty. They are designed to remove stubborn build-up from your hair and are necessary to use before treatments like color or heat styling. They are also great at removing chlorine from hair after swimming and removing all the minerals from hard water. Just keep one on stand-by and use when necessary.
It can be very tempting to just find any clarifying or deep cleansing shampoo on the market to do this job, but using ones specifically formulated for our hair is important. Although they are deep cleansing, these shampoos are designed to keep hair moisturized even with the stronger cleansing ingredients.
MOROCCANOIL Clarifying Shampoo
SheaMoisture Strengthen, Grow & Restore Shampoo Jamaican Black Castor Oil
Ouidad Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo
Design Essentials Oat Protein Henna Deep Cleansing Shampoo
Please do not do this! Some women are getting confused about what a cowash is and does. It is like a shampoo and should be treated as such so always fully rinse it out. Cleansing conditioners are botanical conditioners designed to cleanse the hair. They are not designed to leave-in.
Even if you use a regular conditioner to cowash, you still need to rinse it all out when cleansing hair to remove all the dirt and styling products that are stuck in your hair. If you want to leave some conditioner in, first rinse the cowash all out when cleaning hair, THEN apply some as a leave-in.
Hair needs to be fully saturated prior to washing it. That’s around 1 minute or more. Just relax and rinse it completely so that you are removing some of the dirt and product build-up so it is ready to receive your co-wash. That also goes for fully rinsing AFTER you co-wash. Often, we rinse a few seconds and keep it moving but to fully remove all the dirt, products and cleanser you need to fully rinse your hair to ensure it is all gone.
Healthy hair requires more than just your hair. You need a healthy scalp and many often neglect the scalp and only concentrate on the hair. Massage the cleansing conditioner into your scalp (not rough) to remove all the build-up, dirt and sweat that is clinging to it. You want to keep your scalp free from clogged pores so the nutrients are getting to your hair follicles. That massage will also stimulate the scalp and make for healthier hair growth too!
Co-washing is a staple for many naturals but make sure to do it properly for healthy, moisturized and clean hair. I shampoo more these days but I still cowash and love it. I just make sure to do it correctly and know to give my hair what it needs and when it needs it.
What cowashing mistakes have you overcome, Naturals?
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