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How To Co-Wash Your Curly Hair Like a Pro

by Curl Up Team |

The CG journey comes with a list of Dos, Don’t, Techniques and even its own jargon! Yes, the CG vocabulary is ever-growing and it is certainly exciting to stay on track and trend. Though ‘Co-washing’ has been around for a while, for those of you who don’t know and others who need a refresher, let’s get right to it.

What exactly is Co-washing?

Co-washing or ‘conditioner only’ washing refers to cleansing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo or a specific product known as a co-wash. A co-wash is nothing but a moisturising conditioner with a small amount of cleansing agent added. The co-wash is meant to be a rinse out product which can be followed up directly with stylers like cream, gels etc. 

This is also referred to as ‘No-Poo’ as it eliminates the use of a shampoo. This method is especially popular among those with very curly, coily and kinky hair as it is a great way to cleanse without stripping the hair and scalp off natural oils.

Why Co-washing?

A universal fact if any – we all know that moisture and curls go hand in hand, so anything that adds moisture to curly hair rather than stripping it, is a yes. Here are a few more reasons to consider co-washing:

  • It maintains the natural and delicate balance of oil on the scalp.
  • Avoids harsh and over-cleansing ingredients present in most shampoos that can cause curly hair to become dry, brittle, and frizzy.
  • Co-washing adds more shine and keeps curls healthier due to more natural sebum and moisture being retained in the hair. 
  • Hydration right from the first step on wash days, i.e. during cleansing, which is then followed by conditioning and styling.  This step ensures that curls are less prone to breakage, thus having better length retention.
  • A clean and freshly washed feeling along with softer curls for all hair types. 
  • Can be used everyday in humid weather and sweaty conditions, unlike regular shampoo. Co-washing also results in lesser tangles and knots as it keeps curls well moisturized. 

How to Co-wash like a pro:

Let’s clarify that co-washing isn’t just throwing out your trusted bottle of shampoo and dousing your hair with conditioner instead. If you want to co-wash your hair like a pro, you will need a pro product for it too!

Yes, that’s right. Co-washes are specially formulated ‘conditioning cleansers’ that have mild cleaning ingredients along with moisturizing ingredients that gently wash away scalp build-up while adding much needed moisture to curls. An effective co-wash will contain ingredients that are a blend of emollients, proteins, humectants, and moisturizers to do its job well. These work together to soften hair, reduce frizz, protect and reinforce the hair shaft, lock in moisture and add shine. 

Here’s how to effectively co-wash your hair and get the most of this method:

  1. Wet curls thoroughly in the shower and ensure that both the scalp and ends are sufficiently soaked with water. 
  2. Squeeze out a dollop into your hand and work it into your hair and scalp, as you would shampoo. An important point to remember is to pay enough attention to the scalp, as this will otherwise result in build-up.
  3. Gently work the product into your scalp with your fingertips or a massager to effectively remove dirt and grime. This is an important step as the friction caused is what cleanses the scalp. You could leave the product post lathering on your hair for a few minutes for it to soak up all that moisture. 
  4. Now rinse thoroughly, ensuring that you spend more time rinsing than lathering so as to prevent any build up.
  5. Style with a leave-in and or gel using CG-friendly products and dry. 

You will immediately be left with curls that are softer to the touch and with less frizz. You could follow up with a  conditioner if you have extremely dry or damaged hair, but this step is completely optional. Co-washing is known to promote scalp health as well, since the natural balance of oils is maintained.

Now that you know how to co-wash and have read about its benefits, let’s take a look at the cons of co-washing, especially if you don’t do it right.

  • Co-washing, while being a great way to add moisture, might not cleanse as well as shampoo. Small amounts of sweat, sebum, dead skin cells, dust and pollution might stay on and lead to build-up and dandruff with time, especially in Indian weather conditions. 
  • Too much moisture, especially in light curls, wavy or fine hair might weigh it down, making hair look limp and lifeless. 
  • Co-washing might take some getting used to. After years of shampooing, your scalp might initially feel a bit heavy and not as clean.

But fret not, the secret to making the most of your co-wash, ironically, would be to take the help of your shampoo! Yes, while you can co-wash, twice a week or even every day, based on your needs – using your regular CG-friendly shampoo once a week or every ten days will work wonders.

Regular co-washing also requires clarifying. So, make sure that you use a good, clean, clarifying shampoo once every two weeks to get rid of product build-up and dirt and provide a clean base for the co-wash to work effectively. 

Co-washing can be an extremely fulfilling practice (for you) and a nourishing regimen for your curls! Do try it out for yourself with the pointers above to achieve soft, luscious and flaunt-worthy curls!

Do let us know if this blog was of help and feel free to reach out to us at, +91 9945373597 or @letscurlupdotcom on Instagram to answer your questions or even just be a part of our #LetsCurlUp community! We also offer free Curl Consultations, so hit us up! We’re here for you.

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