Why I No Longer Co-Wash

You only need to be immersed in the natural hair community all of two seconds to hear about co-washing. Although there are benefits to co-washing, let me tell you all why I’ve stopped co-washing… well, for now at least.

In 2013, I almost exclusively co-washed my hair, and the year before that, I did it often. I’d buy a shampoo and conditioner set at the same time. The shampoo bottle would last me 8 months and the conditioner would need to be replaced every month. As of 2014, I’ve been pretty consistently shampooing my hair every wash day, and I have to say, I prefer it. I will note that I’ve also been long term protective styling (2 weeks or more) most of this year, so by the time wash day rolls around, I need a good cleansing to rid my hair of product build up and prep for my next round of protective styling. 

So let me give you all a few pros and cons of co-washing I’ve found:

PRO - since you’re condition cleansing you hair, your hair follicles are not as stripped as they may be when you shampoo. 

CON - while your hair strands may feel nice from co-washing, your scalp may be suffering. I co-washed generally with cheapie VO5 conditioners or Herbal Essences Hello Hydration. My scalp never felt as clean as I would have like dit to feel. 

PRO - if you wear your hair in a wet state, the co-wash can be a great way to refresh your style.

CON - if you set you hair and let it fully dry before wearing a particular style, co-washing can mess with your next set because of the left over product in your hair and scalp.

PRO - if you wear your hair out often, in twist outs or braid outs, the extra moisture retained in your strands can be beneficial to the look of your style. Dry hair is not a good look.

CON - a scalp clogged with product can hinder hair growth.

CON - a healthy head of hair is a clean head of hair, and you can’t really fully cleanse your hair with conditioner alone.

CON - if you’re protective styling often, co-washing simply isn’t a sufficient method of cleansing your hair and scalp before you install your protective style.

This video also has some great pros and cons. 

My main problem with co-washing was that my scalp never felt clean and it irritated me. I’d be scratching my scalp, potentially damaging follicles, when washing my hair with shampoo could have prevented all that. I will say that the shampoo I’ve been using this year is sulfate-free (the Carol’s Daughter Monoi shampoo), so my hair does feel less stripped in general with this shampoo.

I think if you incorporate a good cleansing and moisturizing regimen, you can shampoo more often and let go of the co-wash. I feel that co-washing is something a lot of naturals talk about, but it doesn’t work for every head of hair, and it’s okay to not have it in your regimen if it doesn’t work for you. 

TELL ME:

Are you a co-washer? Why or why not? Did you experience the irritated scalp like me? What have you’ve done to combat this?