Co-Washing:Is it really effective?
If you're on the Natural Hair side of TikTok or just a part of the Natural Hair community, you've likely seen an ongoing debate on whether co-washing is effective. The idea of co-washing has had the natural hair community in a tight grip for some time now. Much discussion has taken place about whether it's truly effective and whether it affects your hair. Like you, we're just as curious! Below, we'll discuss the controversy behind this trend and share whether it's worth trying.
Co-washing has reached a level of popularity that it is now being packaged and sold to us in bottles. Before going to retailers' shelves, co-washing meant swapping out your shampoo for a conditioner to preserve the moisture in your hair. As naturals, maintaining hair moisture is one of the most sought goals. Not many things sound better than a product that promises to help retain moisture, strengthen hair and result in more manageable wash days - does it? Yeah, so it's no surprise that co-washing has become such a hot topic.
What is Co-Washing
Co-washing is a formulated cream that removes dirt and buildup without harsh ingredients such as those commonly found in shampoos. We know that shampoos strip the hair of its natural goodness, drying it out. A co-wash will eliminate that concern by doing the opposite. Rather than stripping the hair, co-washes hydrate the hair producing stronger, moisturized strands.
The Benefits of Co-Washing
Co-washes are considered particularly beneficial as they address common hair concerns in the textured and natural hair community. As co-washes are formulated to remove excess oil and buildup without harsh ingredients, users of these products will find their hair more moisturized and manageable. Co-washes remove buildup and excess oils while providing the same benefits as a conditioner. So, you're cleansing and conditioning all at once. Using a co-wash eliminates a step in your hair care regimen, reducing the duration of your wash day.
A Conditioner is not a Co-Wash
Although co-washes are used in place of a conditioner - a conditioner cannot be used as a co-wash. Conditioners place nutrients and moisture back into the hair after using a shampoo. They aren't intended to and are ineffective in removing buildup and excess oil from the scalp; this is the sole difference between co-washes and conditioners. Using a conditioner instead of shampoo will lead to excessive buildup and cause scalp irritation.
The Downside of Co-Washes
Many experts are against co-wash as it can do more harm than good. Co-washes are less effective than shampoos. Co-washes are gentle, so it's not surprising that you wouldn't necessarily remove all the dirt and excess oil from your scalp. Using a co-wash, you risk excess scalp buildup, leading to dryness, hair loss, and other issues. Although considered particularly beneficial for curls and textured hair, we must consider product usage. A co-wash isn't recommended if your hair care regimen consists of many products, as you'll need shampoo to clean the scalp thoroughly.
Co-wash: The Takeaway
Whether you determine that co-washing is for you or not, one of the key takeaways is that co-washing does not replace shampoos. It's about balance. Co-washing may be the additional staple in your hair care regimen that you have been missing when used in conjunction with shampoo and conditioners. Remember that we all have individual hair needs; thus, what works for others may not necessarily work for you. Lastly, always remember when achieving your goal of introducing moisture into your hair, you want to ensure you preserve that moisture with a Satin Bonnet, Durag, or Pillowcase.