I heard about co-washing about a year ago. And I have to say I was kind of intrigued. If you don't know what it is, it's basically skipping out on shampoo and using a cleansing conditioner instead. It's supposed to be a whole lot better for your hair. So, I tried co-washing.
First things first, you must know that I'm a hair nut.
I love my hair. Always have. Always will. When I was in NYC, I had a wonderful hair stylist that I went to every five weeks or so. She gave me the best cuts and colors. I also like to experiment with fun colors -- reds, purples, etc.
Now I do things myself. I've managed to get my hair a fun shade of purple. And since I know a thing or two about vibrant, unnatural colors, co-washing seemed like something I should try since it's gentler. I'm also allergic to a lot of shampoos so I have to be careful about what I use.
Secondly, let's talk about how you co-wash.
Purchase a cleansing conditioner.
There are a lot of them out there. If you have a brand of shampoo and conditioner that you already use, I'd say see if they make a cleansing conditioner and try that. Amazon also has quite a few as well. I chose this one because it had good ratings and wasn't too pricey.
Wash with the cleansing conditioner.
It feels like you use a lot more of the cleansing conditioner. You'll want to put a good 15 pumps or more into your hand. I found that it worked best to pump a few pumps into my hand, put it on my hair, then add more as necessary. I also found using a little water helped work the cleanser through my hair. It doesn't lather like normal shampoo so it will feel really weird. I also gave my scalp and ends a good scrub.
Leave it on for a few moments while you do your other business.
Rinse like you would normally.
You don't have to use conditioner. But I usually did because I found my hair was far too tangled without it.
Now likes talk about my verdict.
Here's what I don't like about co-washing:
I miss the lather. Sorry, but I do. I know that the lather doesn't matter. It doesn't make your hair cleaner. It does NOTHING. And some people say the lather is the thing that makes shampoo bad. But I still miss it.
I don't like the way cleansing conditioners smell. It's kind of clinically. It's not that bad, depending on the brand, but I do enjoy a good smelling shampoo. And so does Mr. T.
I miss conditioner. I just love that silky smooth feeling.
I don't feel like my hair was that clean. The first couple of days it felt fine, but the third or fourth time I used it, I just felt like my hair didn't feel as clean. I may not have given it enough time, but I simply didn't want to.
It's not really that cost effective. Sure, I save on conditioner, but given that you have to use so much more of the conditioning cleanser I actually think it might have been more expensive in the long run.
And here's what I do like about co-washing:
My hair did feel somewhat better. I did notice that my hair felt better, texturally speaking. It was calmer. If that makes sense.
My color stayed vibrant for much longer.
I didn't get suds all over the shower. With the purple, my hair bleeds a lot. So that means purple suds get everywhere. I didn't have that issue with the cleansing conditioner.
Rinse time was shorter and easier. Which means I probably use less water.
I don't think I'll fully make the switch to co-washing. But I did find that using it along with regular shampooing is pretty awesome (and gives me the best of both worlds).
I use it in between shampoos to extend the life of my shampoo.
I also use it on my bangs on days when I'm just going to wear my hair up and dry shampoo. That way my bangs don't look gross and greasy.
I also found it's great for those days when I've just shampooed, but really want to shampoo again. Like, say, after painting or vigorously cleaning. Or those days when you just want to shampoo in the shower (and I the only gal who feels this way?)
And it would have been amazing over the summer when I was in the pool a lot.
I'm not sure if this is the "correct" way to use it, but it works well for me.