This seems to be a big hit among the curly world. I am here to tell you my experience with testing it out. If you don’t know about co-washing, it is basically where you ditch the shampoo and only use conditioner to wash your hair.
I’ve seen many different opinions on this ideal. Some people are strongly against and some people are strongly for it. On my adventures through the great wide internet, I found mostly good opinions about it. People’s experiences with it included lower breakage, dandruff, and frizz.
I tested out this washing style for a week. Before I go into the details about my experience, you need to understand what kind of curly hair I have. It is not super thick, it is long in length and according to the NaturallyCurly.com Texture Typing System, it is type 3A. (To find your hair type, click the link above and read their description of types of hair). It can be oily (I last up to about three days without washing) and is very frizzy.
Most of the articles I read that supported co-washing were written by people with African American type 4 hair (refer to NaturallyCurly.com Texture Typing System). I saw a few with my type of hair, but the majority were those with thick, coarse, and coily hair.
With that, lets begin the examination!
Day 1 Co-Washing:
As I normally wash on day three, I didn’t start co-washing until that day. So my hair had been shampooed three days before. It was definitely starting to feel oily and was in need of a good wash.
I washed with Shea Moisture’s conditioner and when I dragged my fingers through my hair, even after conditioning, it felt very oily. It was hard to drag my fingers through my hair. Once my hair was dry, I did notice that there was a reduction in frizz! (Yay! One point for Co-Washing!) BUT my hair felt very oily, it didn’t look like it, but it felt like it (minus one point for Co-washing).
Day 2 Co-Washing:
By the next day, my hair LOOKED super oily. I had to wash it again (with only conditioner). So I co-washed and again and my hair felt very, very oily and when it dried, it looked like I dumped olive oil on my head (Minus one point for co-washing). It also felt itchy (Gross! Minus one point for co-washing!). By now I was disgusted and not really all for this co-washing thing.
Day 3 No more co-washing!
I woke up the next morning, and my hair felt disgusting (minus one point again for co-washing). This co-washing thing was not working out. People say to stick it out, but I was trying to on day 2, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. This is the day I washed with both shampoo and conditioner. Afterwards, my hair felt free!
Co-washing did not go well with my hair. It did take away frizz, but the oily and itchiness outweighed that. One thing I noticed was that I had to wash my hair EVERY DAY with co-washing. Normally, people would wait a couple of days in between washes, but my hair was too oily to wait. (minus one point again!) On top of not having to deal with oily and itchy hair, I would have liked to wait a few days in between washes. It is very hard as a curly girl to wash my hair every day. When I shampoo AND condition, I can wait almost three days in between washes.
-4 points for Co-washing
Sorry Co-washing. You lost.
I do think that the reason it didn’t work for me, was because I didn’t have African American hair (Type 4). One of my friends who is African American, can wait a whole week to wash her hair and sometimes she doesn’t shampoo. Most people I found that are all for co-washing have this type of hair. So, if you’ve got rockin’ African American hair, try co-washing! But if you’ve got my white curly hair, I would pass on it.
Have any of you tried co-washing? What was your experience like? Was it like mine, or was it awesome for your hair?