Beauty 101: Co-Washing

So good.

ByCaitlin M.

You're used to the typical lather, rinse, and repeat formula of shampooing hair. Throw in a little conditioner, maybe a hair mask if you're feeling fancy, and voila, your locks are clean and ready for the day. But there's another type of hair product taking over showers everywhere. 

What is it: Co-washes actually aren't anything new! Many with curly hair have been using them and practicing the "no-poo" form of washing for ages. But for those who don't know, co-washes are an alternative to shampoo. (The term co-washing actually refers to using conditioning washes to clean hair!) Now we know what you're thinking. How can anything cleanse as well as your shampoo? Well, co-washes are cleansing conditioners and are much gentler on hair than traditional shampoos. 

How it works: Just as shampoo cleanses hair of dirt, oil, and product build-up, co-washes are designed to remove all that—but keep the good stuff! Co-washes leave hair with its natural "good" oils, making them an ideal choice for those with dry, coarse, frizzy, or natural hair. Plus, they're very gentle on color-treated hair. Because they're focused on conditioning, co-washes are geared more toward those with dry hair as opposed to oily strands. If your hair is oily, it's best to stick to your regular shampoo!

How to use it: Simply apply your co-wash as you would any old shampoo. Don't be alarmed if you don't see the lather of your normal shampoo. Co-washes are more like conditioners in that they skip the lather step and focus more on nourishing and hydrating your mane! Leave the co-wash on your mane for a bit to let the product get to work, then rinse your hair. If your hair is particularly dry, we recommend opting for a hair mask once a week (or more!). Because co-washes are so effective, you might even be able to skip a few washes.


Products to try: 

Pantene Truly Natural Hair Co-Wash Shampoo

Price: $4.97 at Walmart

Not just for those with curly hair, his drugstore find is under $5 and offers mega control on natural, frizzy, hair. 


SheaMoisture Professional Gentle Curl Cleansing Co-Wash

Price: $19 at

A favorite among curly-haired ladies, Shea Moisture's formula delivers lipids to block out frizz-causing humidity!


Madam C.J. Walker Jamaican Black Castor & Murumuru Oils Ultra-Moisturizing Co-Wash

Price: $24 at Sephora

Meant for use between full washes, Madam C.J.'s coil-friendly co-wash has Jamaican black castor and murumuru oils to hydrate hair.


Ouidad Curl Co-Wash Low-Foam Cleansing Conditioner

Price: $36 at Sephora

This low-later co-wash is sulfate-free and becomes more of a foam upon application. 


Have you ever used a co-wash? What's your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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