Co-washing Hair Trend: Should You Skip the Shampoo?

woman with long hair

Hair, and the care and perception of it, is evolving. Back in the day, everyone wanted their hair to be straight and shiny. Nowadays, people are more accepting and appreciative of different textures and styles. There is also a push back against using heat and chemicals to alter the natural appearance of the hair.

While people still color and straighten or curl their hair, they immediately seek ways to prevent the procedure from damaging their hair. Hair, when damaged, will have split ends and breakages. It will appear dry and very frizzy.

Shampoo vs. Conditioner

One product that has been under scrutiny in recent years is the shampoo. Experts do not recommend using shampoo on your hair every day. Unless you are constantly exposed to dirt and sweat, you have no reason to wash your hair that often.

When you do wash your hair, make sure to use gentle and hydrating shampoos. Some luxury haircare products are moisturizing. Washing your hair removes the natural oils on your scalp and strands, leaving your crowning glory very dry and vulnerable to damages.

Some people, however, are skipping the shampoos and splurging on conditioners. In 2015, consumers spent 5 percent more on conditioners. A significant portion of all that money went to products called cleansing conditioners that are used for co-washing.

What Is Co-washing?

Co-washing has only recently become a part of the public lexicon, but it began back circulating in 2012. It was a niche then among people interested in hair care and wanted to try something different. Now, however, it is no longer a niche. It has entered the mainstream with even big brands such as L’Oreal and Head and Shoulders releasing their own lines of cleansing conditioners.

Co-washing is the shortened term for conditioner-only washing. The conditioner has long been branded as a partner to shampoos. You should use it after the shampoo because it injects the moisture back into your hair, repairing damage and leaving it soft throughout the day. While the shampoo removes the natural oils of the scalp and strands, the conditioner is supposed to provide the much-needed hydration afterward.

With the cleansing conditioner, one product does the work of two. It removes dirt and excess oils from your hair while also keeping it moisturized and repairing the damage.

Why Not Co-wash?

Co-washing is not for everyone. Some people, especially those who have fine and straight hair, might not see benefit from it. Skipping the shampoo might be good for the hair, but the excess sebum that will accumulate will only weigh the strands down. Your crowning glory will only look limp and dull.

People who have dermatitis should stick to their usual routine. Co-washing might exacerbate the condition. They will need to check with their dermatologist before they change anything to their hair care routine.

What are the Benefits of Co-Washing?

Co-washing promises to make your hair healthier. Everyone has been accustomed to shampooing, but it is not the best for your crowning glory. While it removes dirt, it also takes with it the natural sebum that protects and nourishes the scalp and strands. As a result, the hair becomes dry. The scalp, to compensate, releases more sebum, making the hair oily.

Your hair will still feel oily for a while after ditching shampoo, especially in the beginning while your scalp is still adjusting to your new routine. Other people manage it by rinsing their hair with a solution of apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and coconut oil. This trio of ingredients will kill germs and remove dirt and excess sebum. In addition, brushing the hair will distribute sebum from the scalp to the length of the strands.

You will know it works for you because, eventually, your scalp will be moisturized without being oily, and your hair will be healthy, strong, soft, shiny, and bouncy.

People who have wavy or curly hair will also notice the shape of their strands become more defined. Most importantly, it will weigh the strands down and prevent frizz.

On the other hand, those with processed hair can protect the hair from damage and preserve the pigment of dyed locks. They can go longer before returning to the salon for another round of treatment.

Hair care is not one-size-fits-all. What works for others may not work for you. While many people swore that co-washing improved their hair, you may not get benefits from it. If co-washing is not right for your hair, that is okay; you should stick instead to your old routine and maybe switch to much gentler hair care products.

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