In the natural hair community you must always be clear what you’re doing or adding in to your natural hair regimen and as always we like to be sources of knowledge/education while we are discussing all these different options you can add into your regimen.

We’ve discussed the pros/cons of co-washing in previous posts in which we came to the conclusion that co washing is simply cleansing your hair with the use of conditioner instead of shampoo. The Curly Girl Method relies heavily on the co washing process. But what is the difference between that other type of conditioner we have been using for oh so long: Rinse Out conditioner.

The rinse out conditioner is the step that usually came right after the shampoo step to add the moisture back int your hair that was stripped out from the shampooing process. So what exactly is the difference? Can you co wash with a rinse out conditioner? Or use a co wash conditioner as a rinse out conditioner? In simple terms the best answer is: Yes and No. Confusing right I know… but here’s why.

Co washing conditioners are usually a bit thinner in consistency then a rinse out conditioner which is why many ladies buy cheaper conditioners or water down their conditioners in order to use them for co washing. Most conditioners that are created specifically for co washing also consist of specific ingredients that are tailored to cleanse the scalp and remove debris/buildup.

Rinse out conditioners usually aren’t tailored for cleansing the scalp or removing build up because rinse out conditioners come after cleansing. A rinse out conditioner’s main purpose is to add moisture to the hair so it usually a much thicker formula of ingredients and consistency. Rinse out conditioners are usually praised the most if they have a great “slip” to allow for easier detangling. When you use a rinse out conditioner you aren’t massively scrubbing the scalp to remove debris either. You are just applying the conditioner to the hair, detangling and rinsing after a few minutes. That differs greatly from the co washing process.

So the best way to differentiate or remember what the difference is between co washing conditioners and rinse out conditioners remember where they are placed in your natural hair regimen. Co-Washing conditioners are used as a replacement for shampooing because co washing conditioner is used to cleanse. They are usually thinner than most rinse our conditioners and can be watered down to ease the cleansing process. Rinse out conditioners are usually thicker in texture and offer a moisture boost while making detangling easier!

What has been your experience with these two different types of conditioners. Our favorite co-washers are all under 10 bucks so that makes our experience with co washing a very positive one! Share your experiences with these conditioners below!


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5 Responses to CoWash Conditioner Vs. Rinse Out Conditioner: Whats The Difference?

  1. I don’t care for using rinsing conditioners to cleanse my hair because that’s not their intended purpose. I liken it to washing your body with lotion. That’s why I’m happy there are cleansing conditioners intended for cowashing. You get the benefits of cowashing while still getting the hair and scalp clean. I wish these products were around during my relaxer days!

  2. Great blog u have here. I love the ease with which you share information. I just had the big chop and I’m looking for every tidbit I can get out there about going natural. Thank you