Many women have been hopping on the co washing craze! It is short for “conditioner-only washing.” It means to skip shampoo and rely solely on conditioner, whether you’re a daily or a weekly washer.
The result is something between squeaky-clean and second-day hair that is softer, smoother, and much easier to manage.
Are You a Candidate for Co Washing?
If your hair is curly or wavy, these textures tend to naturally lack protein, which makes hair dry (see tips for moisturizing hair), so chances are that you’ll benefit from the technique.
In fact many naturalistas swear by it but why? Most conditioners contain trace amounts of detergents called cationic surfactants, or “quats” for short.
When mixed with water, the "quats" pick up tiny amounts of dirt, leaving unshampooed hair feeling clean. At the same time, the conditioner contains emollients and natural oils.
Unshampooed hair retains more of its natural oils than shampooed hair, so the conditioner moisturizing agents will leave your hair even silkier and smoother than usual.
Also if you have color-treated hair, you would be a prime candidate for conditioner only washing. The conditioner doesn't strip the hair of pigment the way that traditional shampooing can.
Non-Candidates for Conditioner Only Washing
Non-candidates for co-washing are people with fine, straight hair, or chemically relaxed hair, which would get weighed down. Also those with an oily scalp or dermatitis should steer clear too.
Washing with conditioner alone won't effectively treat either condition so it is best to stick with your regular shampoo before conditioning routine.