Hello and happy weekend!
YAY, It’s bank holiday! I’m SO excited to have one extra day off! 🙂 Do you guys have any plans, are you going anywhere?
Today I want to share a simple trick and the experience I had with using an unconventional method of washing hair that can improve overall condition, leave your hair moisturised and even tame frizz.
The method is called “co-wash“, and it’s something I’ve been consistently doing for the last 4 weeks or so. You might actually have heard about it before as it’s gaining more popularity…or maybe you haven’t and there’s a big question mark on your face right now. Whichever the case, let me explain…!
“Co-Wash” stands for conditioner wash, and it means exactly that: washing your hair with conditioner.
Sounds gross/weird/impossible? Maybe…but it works! I was really, really sceptical about this at first too, but after washing my hair only with conditioner for the past month I completely changed my mind about it. Before I get into more details, let me tell you why I started doing it…
Over a year ago, I had the brilliant idea of adding some light summer colours to my hair by using a hair spray that contained bleach. I would use it every time after washing my hair and even took it with me to a holiday in Italy, where I was visiting some family (and the nearby beaches). The combination of intense summer heat + salt water + bleach spray made my hair look very exotic at first, but when summer was over I was left with what looked like a broom on my head. My hair was dry, brittle and just looked and felt like straw. The worst part is that, after more than a year, it hasn’t completely recovered and I still struggle with extremely dry and frizzy hair. This is because bleach changes the structure inside your hair in order to remove colour, but leaves the pores permanently open. Basically, it means that whatever you put in it (oils, protein, etc…) will soon leave it again. Because of this, it’s really hard to find a product that can revert all the damage, and pretty much every shampoo I use (salon quality, natural, SLS-free, silicone free…) will still strip my hair of its moisture and make it even more fragile. Of course it doesn’t help that I live in an area with very hard water and lots of chlorine 😦
Now that you know that, you might understand why I started looking for a gentler alternative to shampoos. Fact is, most shampoos contain cleansing agents that are far too strong. If you check the labels on your shampoo, you might find some ingredients in there are also in the cleaning products you use to wash your car, windows, or even your floor! We simply don’t need chemicals this strong just to get rid of oils and styling products. Luckily, the market is now emerging with alternatives to shampoo, the so called “cleansing conditioners”, which are conditioners that gently cleanse your scalp and hair while adding moisture and nourishing it instead of stripping it completely. Alternatively, there are also some good regular conditioners that can be used for cleansing.
After reading about many good experiences people had with co-washing, I decided to try it for myself, although I was very skeptical about it. My fine hair covered in conditioner from root to tip? Sounds like a recipe for gunky, flat hair. I went for the cheapest option available, which was getting the Tre Semme Vibrant Naturals Nourish & Replenish Conditioner. This conditioner contains avocado and aloe vera oils to moisturise hair while also being silicone-free and hypoallergenic, so it’s great for people with sensitive skin. According to what I read, it’s important to use a light conditioner that doesn’t contain silicones, or else you risk getting build up and coated, flat-looking hair. Luckily, this one was on offer at Superdrug so I only paid around £2.45 for 750 ml! It can’t get any cheaper than that and reassured me that, whatever the outcome of this experiment, I wouldn’t lose much if I try (I know…so stingy right?).
So that night, I came home with my big bad bottle of conditioner and took it straight into the shower. I made sure that my hair and scalp were completely soaked with water, then pumped a handful (you’ll need a lot of conditioner to cleanse your hair properly) and started massaging it in focusing mainly on the scalp. The scalp is the part of your head you really want to cleanse, so make sure you work the conditioner in for a couple of minutes. It takes longer and a bit effort as opposed to using shampoo because the conditioner will not create bubbles and has a much more dense consistency.
At first, all I could think of was “OMG why am I doing this? This feels so weird, I’ll never be able to wash it out again!”, but then it actually began to feel quite nice. This conditioner has incredible slip, which means its super easy to spread on your hair and detangle it. It feels very luxurious and has a nice, clean smell. After spreading the conditioner from root to tip, I combed through it with a wide toothed comb to evenly distribute the product, and then finally started rinsing it out. To my surprise it was super easy! I just made sure to rinse the scalp completely first and then spent a few more minutes working the water down the lengths of my hair.
After showering, I applied my usual leave-in conditioner and left my hair to dry naturally. Once dry, my hair was clean,super soft and I had significantly less frizz then usual! There was no tacky feeling or residue left. In fact my scalp felt very fresh and my hair was bouncy even during the next day!
Since then, I have been washing my hair almost exclusively with conditioner, apart from one day a week where I use conventional shampoo to avoid build-up over time. I can tell that this method is really making a difference in the condition of my hair. First off, I get far less flyaways and the amount of frizz has reduced considerably. Because co-washing is also gentler and doesn’t strip the hair, I can also see that my hair is slowly but steadily getting healthier. After little over a month, I have less straw-like hair, the ends are healthy and defined the best of all – I don’t have problems with itchy scalp anymore. I would always get a very itchy scalp on the second day after washing my hair (I wash it every other day), but since switching to co-wash it has stopped completely! 😀
Now, let’s summarise the pro’s and con’s of co-washing:
- Much gentler to hair, does not completely strip it
- Leaves hair moisturised and nourished
- Cheaper alternative as opposed to buying shampoo + conditioner
- Fewer amounts of strong, harmful chemicals
- Generally colour-safe
- Reduces frizz
- Suitable for almost all hair types
- Large amount of product needed to thoroughly cleanse
- Takes longer compared to shampoo
- Some people might find that it takes a week or more for their hair to “adapt” to this method
I’m extremely happy with the results I’ve had with co-washing with conditioner only, as it’s slowly helping my hair get back to its former condition while saving me money because it’s so cheap. I will definitely stick to this routine and I strongly encourage you to try and see if it works for you too, specially if your hair is bleached, dry or otherwise damaged. If you want healthier without spending lots of money on expensive shampoos and treatments, start by ditching your shampoo.
Have you tried co-washing or any other eccentric method to wash your hair before? Would you try this method? Please let me know in the comments below! 😉
Thanks so much for reading and have a wonderful weekend ❤