Firstly before we start I sometimes forget that the extensive natural hair community moves so quickly that some times people may feel left behind with all of the changes and terms. Co-Washing is simply washing your hair with conditioner. It is the shortened term for conditioner-washing.
Now… Co- washing should be a step/part of your regimen that you highly consider. There are several reasons/ benefits your hair will encounter if you add this step into your hair regimen (especially if you are transitioning) However with every good, there is always some bad that can come along. Let’s take a look at a few pros and cons co-washing can cause on your natural hair.
Pros And Cons Of CoWashing Natural Hair
Pro- Detangling: Co Washing helps to soften the hair shaft therefore making it softer and easier to detangle. This also means less tension and pulling during the detangling process which therefore also limits/lowers the amount of breakage that can occur.
Pro– Moisture Retention: For those that suffer with moisture retention co-washing is a great way to help curb that issue. With the ability to co-wash 4-5xs a week you are able to re-add any moisture that may have been lost during your day to day lifestyle.
Con– Over Moisturization: I know that sounds crazy right! As naturalistas we like to think of moisture as the end all be all in our natural hair care routines and rituals. And in some sort of way we are right. However too much of a good thing can often turn into a bad thing. Over moisturization of your natural hair will actually be a cause of breakage. Those who don’t have issues really retaining moisture may want to cut down their co-washing rituals to 1-3 times a week instead to avoid overkill.
Con- Left Over Residue: Many women who opt for a no-poo natural hair journey wind up with residue (sticky gummy left over) especially if their conditioner isn’t silicone free. If you are strictly co-washing and have eliminated the use of shampoos (even the sulfate free ones) you are preventing the “reset” of your scalp. You are allowing product build up and oil build up to stay and sit on top of the hair. This must be taken care of with another form of cleansing that will allow the dirt and reside to be stripped away without stripping away moisture form the scalp. A few good alternatives would be Bentonite Clay, ACV, or Baking Soda rinses.
*Remember just because the co-wash says it is a cleanser does not mean that you are getting all of the buildup off of your scalp. Clarification is still a vital part of your natural hair regimen that can not be skipped or ignored. You should be clarifying at least once a month or more if necessary. No Poo natural hair regimens do not mean you skip out on the clarification process!
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Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.