How to Cowash Natural Hair (and which products to use)

For those of us with natural hair, cowashing instead of shampooing can be a game changer. Keep reading to find out more about this technique and how you can incorporate it into your haircare routine.


What is Cowashing?

Cowashing, or conditioner washing, is the act of cleansing your hair with a conditioner instead of shampoo. This technique can be beneficial for a number of reasons. First, cowashing can help to preserve your hair’s natural oils. Shampooing strips the hair of these oils, which can lead to dryness and breakage.

Conditioner, on the other hand, is formulated to help replace lost moisture. Additionally, cowashing can help to detangle knots and tangles, making for easier styling and fewer split ends.

This method is also ideal for those with sensitive skin or scalp conditions like dandruff or psoriasis since it is less drying than shampoo.

How to Cowash Natural Hair

First, you’ll want to wet your hair thoroughly before applying the conditioner. Make sure to evenly distribute the product from root to tip, using more conditioner on the ends of your hair where damage is more likely to occur.

Once you have applied the conditioner, gently massage it into your scalp with your fingertips in a circular motion. This will help to loosen any dirt or build-up on your scalp while also stimulating blood flow to the area which can promote hair growth.

Finally, rinse the conditioner out thoroughly before proceeding with your usual styling routine. You may find that your hair feels softer and looks shinier after just one treatment!

You may want to integrate a clarifying shampoo into your routine periodically if you start noticing build up over time. Doing this only once a month or so can help protect your hair from the damage and dryness incurred by frequent shampooing.

What to Look For in a Cowash for Natural Hair

If you’re ready to give cowashing a try, there are a few things you should keep in mind. It’s important to use a high-quality conditioner or specially formulated cowash product that is designed for your hair type. If you have fine hair, look for a lighter formula that won’t weigh down your strands. For thick or coarse hair, opt for a richer conditioner that will provide extra hydration.

Cowashing products may be referred to as cleansing conditioners, cowashes, co-washes, or just light conditioners.

Our Picks for Best Cowash for Natural Hair

Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Curl Cleansing Conditioner

  • Cleanses and Detangles
  • Sulfate-free
  • Safe for colored hair
  • Features pro-vitamin B5 & biotin for strength

Pantene Gold Series Deep Hydrating Co-Wash

  • Rich and moisturizing
  • Free from parabens, sulfates, and dye
  • Infused with Argan oil
  • Leaves hair feeling very soft

Pureology Hydrate Sheer Conditioner

  • Increases moisture and softness
  • Features jojoba oil, green tea, and sage
  • Soft lavender, bergamot, and mint scent
  • Easy to rinse out

MopTop Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner

  • Good for all hair types
  • Free from parabens, sulfates, silicones, dye, and pthalates
  • Contains honey, aloe, and sea botanicals

Pura D’or Moisture Protect Cleansing Conditioner

  • Detangles and controls frizz
  • Great for dry, damaged hair
  • Contains oat bran extract, aloe vera, argan oil, and apple fruit extract

There you have it! Everything you need to know about cowashing natural hair. Give this method a try and see for yourself how much softer and healthier your strands will look and feel!

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