Sunday, 28 September 2014

Why Co-wash?

My hair after a year of co-washing.

Co-washing: Simply using conditioner to wash the hair and scalp without the use of shampoo.

I have been co-washing for about a year and I would say and have found it a really beneficial thing for my hair. My hair was very damaged when I started (falling out, snapping) and I would now say it is in good condition, with much less frizz and much more curl definition. It also looks a lot shinier and silkier. I have been doing a number of things to help get my hair healthier but I would say that co-washing has been the most effective thing overall. Here are some questions I often get asked about co-washing...

Q: Why is co-washing beneficial?

A: Co-washing is beneficial because of the absence of shampoo. Most shampoo contains something called sulfates. They are very effective at removing oils, hence why shampoo makes the hair feel clean. They are also found in products, such as washing detergent. The problem is that hair needs oils. Our scalps naturally produce an oil called Sebum that is vital to keeping our hair and scalp healthy. When we frequently shampoo and remove this oil the scalp goes into overdrive and produces more oil to compensate. We then think 'Oh no my hair is greasy!' and shampoo more and more, thus making the problem worse. If we leave the oil to do its thing it will only produce the necessary amount to keep hair healthy and shiny and hair will maintain a balance.

Q: Won't my hair go greasy if I stop shampooing?

A: Maybe, for a short period of time. A lot of people report going though a 'transition' period where the production of natural oils goes though an adjustment period. This can make hair very greasy for about a 1 or 2 weeks but after this period of time there hair is basically as it was when they used shampoo. Except shinier and healthier.

Q: Do I need a special kind of conditioner?

A: A silicone free conditioner. Silicone is used in conditioner to smooth the hair surface to lessen frizz. Now silicones themselves are actually okay, but they coat the entire hair strand and cause build up very quickly. The only way to remove silicones is with sulfates, which are bad. So we need to use a silicone free conditioner. They are less common than silicone containing conditioners but still pretty easy to find. For example Tresemme Naturals Conditioners are silicone free :)

Q: How long will I need to do this?

A: I have never looked back. I see co-washing as more of a permanent change to my hair routine. You can really do it for as long as you want to but I would recommend as long as it is working for your hair. Large amounts of people make it a permanent change but there are people who decide that it is no longer works for them and change. Just pay attention to your hair and if you decide to stop, you can always start again and vice versa.

Q: How do I do it?

A: Easy! Wet your hair as you would to shampoo, then take as much conditioner as you will need to coat your scalp (I usually need about a palm full) Massage the scalp to remove any dirt and promote hair growth. Then rinse.

Would you consider trying co-washing?

Let me know!
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