As you may know, I started this year with a no-poo experiment. (If this is news to you, please see my first cowash post). When I say “no-poo”, I mean “no shampoo”. I’m not trying to confuse anyone or freak them out! Below are some Q&A about how this works:
Why No Poo?
I’ve been unhappy with my hair for, oh, all my life basically. As a teenager I washed it twice a day sometimes, and it was always dry and frizzy. In college I cut it all off and highlighted it blonde, which was okay because it was short. But, when I wanted to grow it out again, it was dry and brittle. I have spent the last fifteen years trying product after product, in an effort to get my hair to look soft and moisturized. Nothing worked long term. A few years ago, I read some articles about how overwashing hair actually made it produce more oil at the root but dried out the hair shaft, so I decided to start washing my hair less often. This had a great effect on my hair and I saw some great improvements, but I still lacked the healthy shine that I craved. I tried the “no poo” baking soda and ACV method last summer, but I didn’t love it and there were articles claiming the pH of these ingredients are not great for hair. In an effort to try something new, I did some more internet searching over winter break and found the Co-wash Method. I decided to give it a try.
What exactly IS co-washing?
So, that’s a complicated answer. A simple Google search gets you several different options. Some people use a cleansing conditioner, like Wen or SheaMoisture. As far as I can tell, these products are mostly conditioner, with a small amount of a shampoo-like substance mixed in to do some cleansing. I am mostly unclear about how these work, and they didn’t sound like the solution I was looking for, so I passed. Other people only wash their hair with conditioner, which is the option I decided to try, mostly because I didn’t have to buy yet another new product to try it out.
How do you co-wash?
The blogger Foodie With Family had a great explanation of how to go about it, so I gave it a try. The basic idea is to get your hair really super wet, then goop a bunch of conditioner on your scalp and scrub it in all over the place. Let it sit for a while, at least five minutes. Then, rinse your scalp really well, scrubbing, tilting your head at every angle to be sure the water rinses all the conditioner away.
How is the co-washing going?
There is definitely a learning curve to this process – the first few times I co-washed, I had some greasy spots where I had either (a) not scrubbed conditioner in properly or (b) failed to rinse well. At this point, I have not washed my hair with shampoo for two and a half months. I LOVE IT. I wash my hair twice a week – once on Saturday morning, when I give myself a fancy blowout and style so I look good all weekend. This blowout lasts until Wednesday night, when I co-wash again and let my hair air dry for a curly, tousled look for Thursday and Friday.
How do you prolong the blowout?
The tip is a sleep bun. I have been doing a bun at night for FOREVER, as it rejuvenates my wavy hair, but I totally love this explanation of how and why a sleep bun rocks. Before I go to bed, I comb or brush my hair, put a little conditioning oil on the ends, then wrap it all up on top of my head. I leave the sleep bun in while I work out in the morning, and then let my hair down once I get ready for my day. On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, it is usually awesome and ready to go. I will spray a tiny bit of hairspray on for staying power, but the sleep bun makes for amazing hair. Wednesday is a mixed bag – I usually wind up with some dry shampoo on my roots and some sort of braid or ponytail that day. Some weeks, though, it looks great even on Wednesday!
Conclusion? I love co-washing. My husband has not said anything about my hair looking or smelling gross, which he would certainly do if he noticed anything of the sort. I am losing a LOT less hair in the shower, only a few strands every time I wash. Previously, every time I shampooed I lost a handful of hair. My hair is shiny and bouncy, and I even though I usually co-wash twice a week, I honestly think I could get away with only once. I may try that in the coming weeks, just to see what happens. I have long hair, so I know what my ends typically look like three months after a cut. They look great, compared to what I am used to.
If you are interested, I would really encourage you to give co-washing a try! Your hair will thank you.