THE CO-WASH CONTROVERSY
Okay so here’s my disclaimer: I am NOT completely opposed to the idea of co-washing. I think it can be a very helpful cleansing method and it’s actually a method that I’ve adopted into my regimen every now and then. However, the topic of co-washing seems to be a touchy subject matter in the natural hair community. So, to co-wash or not to co-wash…tis the question.
Here it is, plain and simple. Co-washing is a great alternative to shampooing as it is a way of cleansing the hair and scalp without using shampoo. Evidently, shampoo is designed to strip the hair and scalp of product build-up and its natural oils (which you will end up replacing by following up with conditioning, deep-conditioning, applying a leave-in, oils/butters to seal in the moisture). Co-washing (washing your hair with a conditioner) can do the same if done correctly and thoroughly. Recently, natural hair product companies have been formulating cleansing conditioners that are created with cleansing agents, designed to condition and clean your hair simultaneously. While co-washing works for some, others contest that they do not feel as though the method cleanses their hair as well as shampoo. So, really you see it is all about preference. And of course, everything in moderation.
There are a couple of things to consider when choosing co-washing over shampooing. I say, if you’re going to co-wash make sure you incorporate shampoo in your hair washing regimen at least once a month. Why? Because essentially, conditioner is a product. Products breed build-up, even if you are rinsing or washing it out. Shampooing or using ACV or baking soda are great ways of removing the build-up of product on your scalp and hair. Keep in mind that if your hair and scalp are filled with build-up you are actively stunting the growth of your hair because your pores and hair follicles are filled with this build-up. Another thing to think about is the fact that washing your hair with a conditioner does not and should not replace the deep-conditioning step, application of a leave-in and sealing steps after washing your hair–even if your hair feels soft and supple. Understand that maintaining this softness and manageability is only possible if you continue with the regular steps of your hair washing regimen.
Happy co-washing! =)