cowashing…pros and cons

Hey Fam…

Today we will be looking at a routine used by so many naturalistas and I figured I research the good, the bad, the ugly and the pretty about washing your hair with conditioner.

So yeah cowash means washing your natural hair with only a wash out conditioner.


One of the great things about cowash is that it helps increase moisture. A lot of naturals complain about normal shampoo making their hair so very dry and so basically cowashing tends to do the opposite.

It is a very light way of cleansing your hair without stripping out what your hair actually needs.

Cowashing helps reduce breakage. A lot of people as I earlier stated complain that shampoo dries out their hair. It basically strips the hair of the natural oils it needs to thrive so cowashing helps with the balance because your are basically cleansing your hair with a moisturizing product.

There are quite a few more but the above listed is mostly why people tend to cowash more.


You may find that you have to wash your hair more often than you would if you were shamwashing. As earlier written, cowash is a really light way of washing your hair so you understand that it means you are not thoroughly washing your hair as it just cleanses topical products and your hair would still need washing because you still have a bit more build up left in your hair. So you tend to wash more often than you actually should.

Moisture/Protein overload. Sometimes this may not be a big deal because you are supposed to cowash with a moisturizing conditioner rather than a protein based conditioner. Now when you are constantly washing with a moisturizing conditioner, your hair becomes really soft and weak and this can lead to breakage. With protein overload, you get the opposite in that your hair becomes so so hard. Now to deal with moisture overload, you would need to do a Protein Treatment and for protein overload, a moisturizing deep conditioning treatment should help.

Excessive build up. Too much cowashing will quite possibly lead to  buildup in your hair and scalp. This is just very easy to figure out because conditioners are not made for washing your hair and scalp. When you shamwash, you are removing everything dirt related and then some from your hair as well as the natural oils your hair needs. Conditioners are created to help restore all that your hair needs which was washed away with shampoo (don´t ask me about scientific reasonings here!!!) So when you opt for cowashing instead and you do this overtime, you are just quite simply laying on more and more and more buildup and this can lead to your hair not absorbing moisture easily.


Now after all that, you should understand that with cowashing, you are concentrating on your hair and not scalp while shampoo is the opposite(not saying you do not use both products on hair and scalp. I´m simply saying you concentrate on scalp when shamwashing, hair when cowashing) so cowashing is obviously not a clarifying cleanse routine.

Do not whip out your conditioner to wash your hair after wearing a PS for three to six weeks because your hair will still be dirty and would need proper washing.

I´m not saying cowashing is completely a no go method. You just need to understand when best to use it. Over at our FB page the admins always advice that you wash weekly with conditioner and one day in a month with shampoo which I think is a totally brilliant idea. Now if you are like me and wash your hair once a month then you best leave cowashing to other naturals. I do not use a lot of products on my hair and when I do it´s mostly never a creamy product except on wash day. Oh I pile on all I can possibly put into my hair:..shea butter, jojoba oil, castor olive ylang ylang and my very creamy leave in. I mix all that and apply on wash day. But the rest of the week I just moisturize with water only or with my mix of Aloe Vera Juice, water and Glycerin.

So it does not matter if a bottle says cleansing conditioner, using it as a clarifying wash will not cleanse your hair and scalp. If you have oily hair, cowashing will not be beneficial to you because cowashing adds in more oils to your hair. Do not over do your cowash routine so you can reap the good benefits. Make certain your conditioner does not contain silicones. Most have additives that are not water soluble and so cowashing will not clean hair and will lead to excessive build up.

So read the ingredients and stay away from anything that has  -cones at the end.

Another tip you might find useful when doing a cowash is to do an ACV rince by diluting apple cider vineger to cold water and massage it into your hair and scalp. This helps to cleanse your scalp after a cowash.

Whatever you do decide, make sure to Enjoy Your Journey!!


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