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Co-Washing Explained: Can Conditioner Treatments Save Your Hair?

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Have you ever wondered how that girl sitting next to you has shiny hair that looks so sleek? You know, that girl whose hair looks like it’s been photo-shopped,  except that she is right here, in real life. Well, I have, and it wasn’t too long ago when I discovered her secret: Co-washing.

What Is Co-Washing?

Woman having conditioner combed through her hair.

Conditioning hair.

Co-Washing? Huh? Yes, I had the same reaction when I heard about the latest in hair care.

Short for ‘conditioner-only washing’, Co-Washing relies solely on trace detergents contained in conditioners to clean your hair. This is not as crazy as it sounds. Conditioners do, in fact, contain some cleaning agents and can work to replace shampoo, giving your hair a moisture revival without sucking your hair of all its natural oils that lend your hair its healthy-looking shine.

Have you ever run out of shampoo and only used conditioner instead? Or accidentally conditioned your hair twice, instead of once shampooing and once conditioning? Oh please, it’s not just me!

Well, I may or may not have done both of the above examples, and let me tell you: when you use conditioner in place of shampoo, your hair gets super-shiny.

If you’re frustrated with your post-hair-wash results, you may want to seriously think about adopting Co-Washing. Conditioner only washing cleanses and revives, while maintaining the oil levels in your hair. Results: soft hair that is easy to manage and has a day-after-wash appearance.

What Kind Of Hair Can Co-Washing Repair?

Blonde woman with messy, damaged hair.

Damaged hair.

Co-Washing is most effective on hair that is:

Dry Hair – The dry hair type needs moisture the most. Using hair cleaning products that will suck out the moisture, like strong shampoos, is a no-no.

Damaged Hair – Damaged hair is generally dry, so you want to refrain from using products that are hard on your hair. Using conditioner only will moisturize your hair.

Colored Hair – Refraining from using shampoo on dyed hair maintains the color for longer. Regular use of shampoo eventually fades the color on your hair, so Co-Washing is definitely a good option for dyed hair.

Curly or Wavy Hair – These kinds of hair are usually naturally dryer than straight hair and can benefit from Co-Washing which hydrates your hair without removing moisture.

Co-Washing: Things To Consider…

Only use silicone-free and paraben free conditioners. Silicone’s leave residues in your hair, and not using shampoo regularly will eventually cause a pileup of silicone’s that are stuck to your hair and give an oily appearance. And rinse-out conditioners are preferable – deep conditioners can cause a build-up of residue in your hair because they can be tougher to wash out.

It’s important to wash your hair occasionally with a sulfate-free shampoo. This is because shampoo is needed to properly clean your hair of any conditioner that may have been left behind, even if you have been using a rinse-out conditioner.

Also, if you have naturally oily hair, then you probably associate shine with oil. What I mean to say is, Co-Washing is not for the oily-haired among us. Your hair has all the shine it needs – it will need shampoo to reduce the shine, not extra conditioner.

Plus, Co-Washing is not a good idea if you have a skin condition like dandruff. It might aggravate the situation, which is the last thing you want, so stick to your gentle shampoos. Other than that, though, Co-Washing is guaranteed to give you that beautiful shine you see in all the ads. If your hair is dry, damaged, dyed, curly or wavy, give Co-Washing a go. You’ll wonder why you didn’t tr it sooner!