What Is Co Wash: How to Use & Top 5 Co Washes To Try!


what is co wash

Is it worth it to co wash natural hair? It might be depending on your hair needs. Find out what is co wash and if co washing is right for you in this post below!

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What Is Co Wash:

A co wash is the shorter name used when referring to Conditioner Wash. It simply means to wash your hair using conditioner only. 

A co wash can be just your basic conditioner that you would normally use after a shampoo, but instead, in place of your shampoo step to cleanse your hair. It could also be a cleansing conditioner that is specifically made with gentle surfactants that may do a better job of cleansing the hair when compared to a standard rinse out conditioner.

Th main goal of a co wash is to hydrate, moisturize and cleanse the hair as a temporary replacement for a traditional shampoo. Some shampoo can be drying to the hair due to sulfates and other harsh cleansing agents found in its ingredients, so a cleansing co wash helps to get the hair clean without completely stripping it of all of its natural oils. 

How To Co Wash Natural Hair:

  1. Drench hair in warm running water to help remove any excess product and oil build up on the hair and scalp.
  2. Apply a generous amount of your favorite co wash from root to ends and gently massage into the hair and scalp.
  3. Rinse each section under warm running water and repeat the steps until you feel like your hair feels as cleansed as possible.
  4. Rinse out thoroughly and gently blot hair dry with a microfiber towel.
  5. Apply your leave in conditioner and proceed to style hair as desired.

Does Co-washing Help Natural Hair Grow?

No, co-washing does not help hair grow. However it can help with reducing breakage over time if you are someone who is constantly battling dry hair. The boost of moisture may help with length retention, but it is important to remember that co washes are not actually cleansers.

By leaving oils and traces of some of the residual products left behind on the hair, you can run into product buildup and itchy scalp overtime from solely relying on a co wash to clean your hair.

With enough build up on your scalp, you can clog the pores and prevent the newly growing hair the ability to actually push through. This can definitely hinder your hair growth goals, so be sure to use a shampoo in between the weeks you are co washing.

Should You Use Co Wash Instead Of Shampoo?

It is not recommended to use a co wash instead of shampoo too often, unless you are really pressed for time when it comes to doing your full wash day routine. Co washes are not meant to get the hair completely cleansed and they do not contain a lot of the stronger surfactants found in a traditional shampoo.

They can help to remove some of the excess oils and product on the hair, due to the more gentler surfactants that can be found in co washes, but it is not a substitution for shampoo in every situation. If you are focused on healthy hair and scalp care, be sure to cleanse your scalp thoroughly to avoid dry, itchy and flaky scalp overtime.

However, if you have noticed that your hair is particularly dry and shampoo just seems to make things worse, try using a co wash to hold on to some of the scalps natural oils and see if it helps.

Remember that if you decide to use a co wash more than twice in a row, your hair may feel greasy to the touch and appear flat when styling. This will be one of the indications that it is time to switch to a more cleansing shampoo.

Can You Leave Co-wash In Your Hair Overnight?

Co wash conditioner is meant to be rinsed out thoroughly after each use. It is not an overnight treatment and leaving it in for longer than suggested on the product label can result in hair that becomes dryer a lot faster than when you started out.

A cleansing conditioner typically contains gentle surfactants to help get the hair clean, so leaving a co wash in your hair overnight is counterproductive because it would be similar to leaving a shampoo in your hair.

Having the cuticle layer of your hair strands gently raised for a long period of time can result in internal structural damage of the hair fiber itself. The job of a conditioner and deep conditioner is to lay the cuticle layer on the hair strand back down to seal and protect the inner layer of the strand after it is raised by a shampoo.

For more information on how conditioner works to help maintain healthy hair, click here.


co wash natural hair

What Is The Purpose Of A Co-Wash?

Although it’s not recommended to use co washes on hair all year round, they do have their place in a regimen on occasion. A co wash can be especially convenient to use when it comes to needing a quick way to “cleanse” the hair if you have a very active lifestyle, are trying to extend your wash days or when on vacation and not feeling like having to do the full on production of wash day while living your best life.

Think of using a co wash as a way to stall in between actually shampooing your hair completely to quickly re-moisturize and restyle the hair (wet styling only such as wash and go’s, twists and braid outs).

Remember that co washes do not get the hair clean, so avoid using any direct heat on the hair after using one as you could end up burning the hair strand due to previous products being inadequately cleansed off the hair.

 So, What Is A Good Co wash?

A good co wash is one that provides an insane amount of slip, detangles hair like a dream, cleanses and leaves hair feeling soft and moisturized. Here is list of the top 5 co washes you need to try!



what is co wash


  • Eden Body Works Coconut Shea Co Wash– Packed with coconut oil and shea butter, this cleansing co wash will leave your hair feeling clean without the squeaky feel. It is rich in emollients which help to add a ton of moisture and shine to the hair. 



what is co wash





what is co wash




what is co wash


  • Alikay Naturals Co Wash Me Cleansing Conditioner– Gentle enough for frequent cleansing if you have an active lifestyle and is packed with vital nutrients to help moisturize and detangle. Formulated with tea tree oil, coconut oil and jojoba oil for anti fungal properties as well. 


what is co wash

  • Camille Rose Naturals Coconut Curl Coating Co Wash–  A burst of hydration for curl retention and smoothing the hair strands for a shinier, healthy appearance. It contains coconut water, fruit oils, crushed coconut and herbal extracts for optimal hair health. 


Final Thoughts On Co Washing Natural Hair:

Co washing natural hair can be a great option if you feel the need to cleanse your hair more frequently without using traditional shampoos. They can help to temporarily maintain moisture levels in hair that is dry and help to promote better curl definition. 

Although you will still need to use a shampoo in order to remove oil and product buildup completely from the hair and scalp, you can enjoy the perks of cutting your wash day routine in half  until you are ready to go all in. 


This post was all about what is co wash.


More In Shampoo:

7 Black Owned Sulfate Free Shampoos For Natural Hair

What Is Clarifying Shampoo And How To Use It

How To Use Shampoo And Conditioner: Detailed Step by Step Guide

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