What You Need to Know About Co-Washing Your Hair

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Do you suffer from dry and brittle hair? Does your hair seem unable to absorb moisture no matter what you put on it? Many women believe that conditioner washing, or co-washing is a solution to their dry hair problems. 

But co-washing could actually be ruining your hair. 

Co-washing can be wonderful at times. It’s essentially the process of “washing” your hair using a conditioner instead of shampoo.  

This technique is good for some women with textured hair because it helps to keep moisture locked in.  But conditioner is NOT shampoo and cannot be regularly used as an alternative. 

In this article, I will share what you need to know about co-washing and three reasons why it may be ruining your hair.

1. Co-Washing Does Not Clean Your Hair

When you use conditioner to “wash” your hair, all you’re doing is adding an additional layer of product to coat your hair strands. You’re essentially masking dirt, product buildup, sweat, and bacteria that forms on the scalp and gets into the hair.

Hair has to be free of these things properly absorb water, absorb moisture, and absorb all the styling products that you use. If you don’t use a high-quality shampoo with cleansing agents that can effectively dissolve dirt and oil buildup–over time your hair will feel dry and become limp. 

2. Co-Washing Can Cause Hygral Fatigue

Did you know there is such a thing as over-moisturized hair? Even if you regularly clean your hair with shampoo, co-washing too often can still damage your hair. When you hair absorbs too much moisture and doesn’t have enough protein to strengthen the cuticle, bad things can happen.  The repeated swelling and de-swelling that occurs when your hair is often saturated with water can cause hygral fatigue. This will result in weak and gummy hair that breaks off.

3. Co-Washing Is Bad For Your Scalp

Shampoo is made for cleansing the scalp. Conditioner is formulated to nourish the hair, but not your scalp. Putting conditioner on your scalp will cause product buildup that will clog your follicles and hinder hair growth. It can also lead to dryness, flakiness, and dandruff on your scalp. Yikes! 

The Bottom Line

If you are co-washing your hair, make sure to include a clarifying shampoo in your hair care routine on a regular basis. If you are removing dirt and product buildup from your hair, then your hair will actually be able to absorb the conditioner and it will work more effectively. 

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Brandelyn Green is the Founder of VoiceOfHair, a platform to help women of color find the best hair care products, regimens and hairstyles! Since starting VoiceOfHair in 2014 she has grown the social media platform to over 1MM+ on Instagram and Facebook. As a natural who is also a salon goer, she wanted to create a platform where people could find the best products, hairstylists, advice and trends.
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