What is Co-Wash? and How to use Co-Wash?

What is Co-Wash? and How to use Co-Wash?

Have you heard of Co-wash? A whole new way to wash and care for your hair. Co-washing, short for “conditioner washing”, is a hair care method that involves using a conditioner to cleanse the hair instead of using traditional shampoos. Co-wash was originally invented by American hairdresser Lorraine Massey. For many years, she was troubled by her curly hair that was difficult to manage and began to look for gentle and non-irritating methods. The purpose of co-washing is to gently cleanse hair while retaining its natural oils and moisture to achieve a deep hydrating effect, especially suitable for dry or curly hair.

Co-Wash VS Shampoo

The Co-wash not only nourishes your hair but also the skin underneath, making it the solution to bring your hair back to life. This is important because we tend to think we are just washing our hair, but we are actually washing our hair and scalp. So co-washing avoids stripping the scalp of essential oils, which is the secret to a soft, shiny and healthy looking hair. Now we will have questions, how to clean the dirt and oil from hair by Co-wash? The answer is that Co-wash uses friction to clean your hair, and the scrubbing action removes dirt and oil from your scalp, leaving your hair clean and healthy without damaging it. We should know that co-washing is neither shampoo nor conditioner, nor is it a dual-use product.

Shampoo is a combination of chemicals that work together to remove oil and dirt from your hair and add more chemicals to add fragrance, and then you use conditioner to add some moisture to your hair and scalp. But most shampoos contain sulfates (chemicals called surfactants that are responsible for the lathering in shampoo), which can dry out hair and irritate your scalp. Of course, sulfate-free shampoos also exist. But the biggest problem is that shampoo and conditioner don’t contain the natural oils produced by the scalp, which are essential for healthy hair, so you end up with hair that feels voluminous right after washing, but then becomes dry.

All in all, the difference between the two is that co-washing removes dirt and bacteria while retaining those natural oils.

What Kind of Hair Type is Co-Washing Suitable for?


  • Dry Hair: Co-wash helps retain hair's natural oils and moisture. It reduces the degreasing effect of shampoo on your hair, moisturizing and nourishing your hair.
  • Curly Hair: The original purpose of Co-wash is to take care of curly hair. Curly hair is more prone to dryness and frizz. Co-washing maintains your hair's natural curl and elasticity and reduces dryness and tangles.
  • Dyed and Permed Hair: Frequent hair dyeing, perming and other chemical treatments on the hair can easily damage the hair. Using a co-wash can reduce further damage to your hair during shampooing and keep your hair's color and texture longer lasting.
  • Sensitive Hair: For scalps and hair prone to sensitivity, the chemicals contained in traditional shampoos may cause discomfort or allergic reactions. Co-washing can gently cleanse the hair, reduce irritation to the scalp and hair, and is more friendly to sensitive hair.
  • *It should be noted that Co-washing is not suitable for all hair types. If your scalp is prone to oiliness, or you like your hair thoroughly cleansed, a traditional shampoo may be better for you.

    What Should A Good Co-Wash Product Have?

    Gentle and Effective Cleansers: Good co-washing products contain gentle but effective cleansers to remove dirt, oil and product residue from the scalp and hair without stripping hair of its natural oils. Common ingredients include: Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cetearyl Alcohol Ethoxylate Sulfate, etc.

    Moisturizers: Helps retain hair moisture and prevent excessive dryness. Common ingredients include: Glycerin, Honey, Serine, etc.

    Natural Oils and Vegetable Oils: It nourishes and moisturizes hair and helps prevent dryness and frizz. Common ingredients include: Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Castor Oil, Chamomile Extract, Rosemary Extract, etc.

    Plant Extracts and Essential Oils: To provide extra conditioning and scalp soothing effect. Common ingredients include: Aloe Vera Extract, Tea Tree Oil, Lavender Oil, etc.

    Protein: Protein is one of the important building blocks of hair. Common ingredients include: Wheat Protein, Silk Amino Acids, etc.Harmless Additives: Avoid harmful additives such as silicones and sulfates.

    If you are unsure about the ingredients of a product, feel free to check it on EWG’s Skin Deep!

    Please note that individual hair needs are different and when choosing Co-wash products, please use your own judgment based on your specific circumstances. Read product labels and ingredient lists to make sure they meet your needs.

    How to Add Co-Wash to Your Daily Routine?

    Adding the Co-wash to your hair care routine can help keep your hair moisturized and minimize the loss of natural oils.

    Determine the frequency that works for you. For most people, washing hair every day is not necessary. Assess your hair’s needs and consider factors such as hair type texture and scalp condition. We recommend using a synergistic wash between shampoo days when your hair needs a light cleanse.

    To choose the right Co-wash product, look for a conditioner formulated specifically for Co-washing and designed to gently cleanse hair while providing moisture and nourishment. Read product labels to make sure they are suitable for your hair type and needs.

    Specific usage steps reference:

  • Apply to wet hair as usual when washing hair.
  • Take a generous amount of Co-wash products and apply all over rubbing your scalp.
  • Allow the Co-wash product sit on your hair for a few minutes to allow it to penetrate and moisturize the strands.
  • Once you’re finished you can rinse this out.
  • A Co-wash is a hybrid between a cleanser and a conditioner, and it uses non foaming ingredients to cleanse your scalp, you can either then follow with a conditioner, or you can skin this step and move straight to your styling products.

    Finally, if you are really not suitable for daily use of Co-wash to maintain your hair, please choose a sulfate-free shampoo to clean your hair, reduce irritation to the scalp, help maintain the natural oil balance of the hair, and reduce hair breakage It reduces frizz and the effects of hair pigments and chemical treatments, helping to keep your scalp healthy.

    Oct 13th 2023 Gen C Beauty

    Explore Related Articles

    Discounts, Specials & New Products. Delivered Regularly.