I’m going to jump right into the difference between co-washing and shampooing. Co-washing is cleansing the hair and scalp with conditioner. Conditioner? Does it work? It does! I went through a period where I strictly co-washed my hair. Only shampooing once a month with a sulfate shampoo to remove product buildup from my scalp and hair.
Some might ask, “Can regular conditioner be used to cleanse the scalp and hair?” Some people will use this method and swear by it. Personally, I prefer using co-washes such as Wen and Pantene Natural that’s formulated to clean and condition the hair. What I like most about co-washing is it doesn’t strip the hair of all its oils. And it’s super moisturizing to the hair.
Shampooing strips the hair of dirt and oils leaving the hair squeaky clean. Sulfate shampoos are designed to do this exceptionally well. The only problem is the moisture is sucked from the hair and the scalp leaving it dry and itchy. Dry hair will lead to breakage. Think of a strand of hair as uncooked and cooked spaghetti. The dry spaghetti is easily broken, whereas the cooked spaghetti hydrated by water is unbreakable. An itchy scalp is just plain uncomfortable. That’s why it’s ALWAYS necessary to follow up with a moisturizing conditioner and oil your scalp. Massaging the scalp with your finger tips will stimulate natural oil production.
I’m not saying sulfates are bad because there are women with beautiful, healthy hair who regularly use sulfate shampoos. Back in the day when I was relaxed I used Pantene shampoo and conditioner and my hair thrived. Whenever I would go to the salon my stylist swore I was using high-end hair products. Pantene has a curl line I’ve been wanting to try for some time. I will definitely blog about my experience.
Nowadays, there are loads of sulfate-free shampoos. These shampoos still gives you the bubbles, cleanse the scalp and hair without zapping all the moisture from your tresses. Though this is true, still follow up with a conditioner or better yet, a deep conditioner.
These days I’m washing with a sulfate-free shampoo. Mostly because it’s cost effective. I love Wen. My hair loves Wen. But Wen is a tiny fortune! With thick and long hair, I have to use a lot of product. I reserve co-washing for when I’m on vacation. I enjoy splashing in the pool and ocean, but the chlorine and salt water is harsh on my hair. Co-washing every time I come out of the pool or ocean isn’t going to strip my hair the way shampooing would.
As part of your hair journey, whether you’re co-washing or shampooing stay consistent with how often you cleanse your scalp and hair. For instance, if you’re going to wash your hair weekly, don’t stretch your wash day to 2 or 3 weeks. And remember, for hair to grow it needs a clean, healthy scalp free of buildup and dirt.
Co-washing doesn’t strip the hair of all it’s natural oils, whereas, a sulfate shampoo will. Sulfate-free shampoos cleanses without over stripping the hair and scalp.
Sulfate is a detergent used in household cleaners and is drying to the scalp and hair.
Always condition or deep condition after washing.
Make sure salty ocean water and chlorine is washed from your hair to avoid damage.
And stay consistent with your wash day schedule. And if you’re co-washing make sure to use a sulfate shampoo at least every 4 to 6 weeks to get rid of buildup on the scalp and hair. And follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner.
I hope this post helped. Stay tuned for deep conditioning and the difference between a moisturizing and strengthening conditioner.
Until next time,