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Co-washing

If your hair is Afro, mixed-textured, very curly or perhaps even just extremely dry, damaged or over-coloured, there is a good chance that your haircare regime could benefit from the introduction of co-washing.

Co-washing basically means ‘conditioner washing’, in other words, cleansing your hair using a conditioner as opposed to a shampoo, and if you haven’t tried it yet, once you get your head around missing out the shampoo stage of your routine at least every other wash, you will probably be impressed at how quickly the condition of your hair improves, not to mention the saving you will make on using less shampoo! 

Many shampoos are formulated to include sulphates – harsh detergents which, whilst cleaning the hair thoroughly, can actually strip natural oils and moisture from the strands, leaving them dry and prone to breakage. By cutting down on the use of shampoo via a co-washing regime, hair is able to maintain its natural moisture levels and so becomes healthier and more resilient. However, co-washing is not just about skipping the shampoo and applying conditioner as you normally would; it assumes you will use your conditioner in place of your shampoo, too.

If you are keen to try co-washing, to begin with you will need to find the right conditioner – your personal favourite is probably fine, but just make sure that it does not contain silicones. While these impart shine, the effect is temporary and the silicone builds up over time, coating the hair and making it feel heavy and look dull and lacklustre. The ingredients that will really benefit your tresses are emollients (shea butter, oils, wheat germ etc.) that will soften and smooth the cuticle and reduce frizz; proteins (wheat, wheat germ or soy protein etc.) that will coat the hair shaft and help protect it; humectants (honey, panthenol, vegetable glycerine etc.) that will absorb water and lock in moisture; and moisturisers (amino acids, aloe vera etc.) that will add softness, suppleness and shine.

Once you have found a conditioner you are happy with you can begin co-washing. Wet hair then take a small amount of conditioner (half to one teaspoon) and apply it to your scalp, using your fingertips to rub gently in much the same way as you do when shampooing. Take time to rub over your entire scalp before rinsing thoroughly. The conditioner you have used coupled with the friction of your fingertips rubbing your scalp and root area will have loosened dirt and residue without stripping the natural oils. Next, take your regular amount of conditioner and condition as usual, using your fingers or a wide tooth comb to carefully remove tangles and spread the conditioner throughout the length of your hair. If your hair is particularly course or curly, you might want to try leaving the conditioner in, or just rinsing for a few seconds so your hair is still coated with a light film of conditioner, rather than rinsing out completely – this is where you can experiment with what works best for your hair type.

Depending on the styling products you use, and how often you are co-washing instead of shampooing, you might find that you get a bit of product build-up, and in this case it is advisable to cleanse hair with a mild clarifying shampoo every few washes, as necessary (usually about every three weeks). Many devotees of co-washing have eschewed shampoo permanently and find that through leaving a quantity of conditioner in their hair, they are able to exclude most styling products from their routine and thereby eliminate the problem of build-up altogether.

So, now that you know what it is, why not try working co-washing into your hair care regime and bring back some of your hair's natural bounce?

If you are keen to try co-washing, to begin with you will need to find the right conditioner

Comments (9)
9 Comments

Mr Noubar

about 2 years ago

I'm worried that this would just make my hair greasy! Does Retread contain silicones? I have been washing with Curly Wurly and I've been conditioning with Retread. I wish Retread was thicker though! It's so thin!

diatesferon

about 2 years ago

I use body conditioners in my hair for a heavier condition

Lush Customer Care

about 2 years ago

Staff

Hi there, to give you a comprehensive and detailed answer on this, I would recommend contacting our customer care team on 01202 668545, or [email protected]. They will be more than happy to help - Max

about 3 years ago

Is Veganese made for co-washing? Because when I was sampling it it started lathering faintly and it made me nervous xD

Lush Customer Care

about 3 years ago

Staff

It's meant to be used like any other conditioner, it shouldn't lather, it should lightly coat the hair leaving it soft and shiny.

Shell343

about 4 years ago

I wasn't sure about Co - washing as I don't have Afro, mixed textured, curly or over coloured hair. I am Indian, my hair is in a short bob and is straight. If anything I have some split ends but that's about as damaged as it is. I have it coloured with Henna but not overly. The lady in the shop was showing me the new products and suggested that I try it. As I am always after volume in any product I buy for my hair, I was a bit reluctant, so, Igot a little sample of the Avacado co-wash from the Oxford Street shop today, got home and tried it. I AM IN LOVE WITH IT!! It gives you sufficient volume ( but obviously not as much as BIG or Seanik). Definitely going back for more, smells heavenly too!!

Shadowalker

about 4 years ago

Ok - now got the hang of using this - and I'm a convert. I don't use it every time I wash my hair, but it's going on holiday. Another winning product - and the scent? I want more stuff to smell as good as this.

Shadowalker

about 4 years ago

So how does this work if you use a solid product such as Avocado Co-wash?

junsu_k

about 4 years ago

how can I do co-wash with solid conditioners, like Jungle, or Big? I think solid conditioners just have no choice to skip the shampoo and applying conditioner.