Hair Care

What Is Co-wash? And Is It Better Than Other Hair-Washing Methods?

Who knew conditioning sans shampoo would be so good for your hair!?

Written by Anshita Singh

On Apr 12, 2023 – 10 minutes read

Co-washing What it is and is it better than other hair-washing methods - Feature

what is co-wash? and how does it work? Who knew conditioning sans shampoo would be so good for your hair!?

Did you know? If you have coarse, dry, and mixed-textured hair, you can benefit a lot from deep conditioning. Just conditioning and a lot of it.

We have all followed the simple method of washing our hair. That is shampooing followed by conditioning. The reason why we are vetoing shampoo here is that it typically contains harmful chemicals like sulfate which strip your hair of natural oils and moisture. 

Co-washing aka conditioner washing is a hair wash method that involves cleansing your hair with the help of a conditioner while skipping shampooing. This method helps retain natural oil and moisture in hair and is preferred by people with curly, coarse, and multi-textured hair.

In this blog, we’ll learn about the co-wash method in detail and what products to choose for the co-wash. We will also dive into comparisons of co-wash with alternate methods. 

Let’s start by understanding Co-wash:

What Is Co-wash?

Co-washing is the process of washing your hair with conditioner and conditioner only. It involves using specially-formulated cream cleanser to get rid of the build-up and give hair a silky smooth finish.

Co-wash is occasionally a better method than shampooing since it eliminates treating hair with sulfates and parabens that are typically present in a shampoo.

What Is Co-wash?

Though co-wash could be considered by people with straight hair and any hair type on occasion, co-wash is specifically suitable for people with curly, coarse, and multi-textured hair. Co-washing products usually contain non-ionic surfactants like cetyl alcohol with cleansing qualities.

Note that co-washing is not only cleansing your hair but also using conditioner in place of shampoo for cleansing your scalp as well.

Now that you’ve learned about co-wash, let’s see what products you can use for co-washing at home:

What Is Co-Wash & Top 10 Products For Co-washing

Here are a few co-wash options you can choose from for giving your hair the best co-wash treatment:

1. Wella Nutricurls Waves & Curls Cleansing Conditioner

If you are looking for a light formula for treating your hair gently then Wella Nutricurls Waves & Curls Cleansing Conditioner is the best option for you. It is a low-foaming cleansing conditioner, formulated without silicones. It gives great luster and defines your locks.

 Wella Nutricurls Waves & Curls Cleansing Conditioner

Price – $29.99 at Walmart

2. As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner

Made with Tangerine, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Saw Palmetto, & Phytosterols; As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner gently removes scalp sebum, residue, or product buildup from styling products. This shampoo promotes the healthy growth of your hair while maintaining the optimal moisture that your hair needs.

 As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner

Price – $38 at Amazon

3. Ouidad Coil Infusion Cleansing Conditioner

If you wish to give your hair that springy and voluminous feel that they crave, you’ve got to go for Ouidad Coil Infusion Cleansing Conditioner. This high-slip, creamy conditioner nourishes your hair, the anti-oxidants in the conditioner restore deep hydration, and black castor oil provides protection from damage.

Ouidad Coil Infusion Cleansing Conditioner

Price – $26.49 at Walmart

4. Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner

Made with Chamomile extract(2), cherry bark extract, calendula extract, aloe vera gel, and glycerin; Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner is an all-in-one shampoo replacement for deep-cleansing your hair. This conditioner moisturizes, strengthens, nourishes, and adds luster to your hair.

Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner

Price – $59.99 at Walmart

5. Matrix A Curl Can Dream Co-Wash

A nutritional treat to your hair, Matrix A Curl Can Dream Co-Wash is made with Manuka honey which is a nutrient-rich ingredient. This is a gentle-cleaning formula that revives your curls and gives them that bouncy touch. Made especially for the co-wash process, Matrix A Curl Can Dream Co-Wash can be your best bet for making your locks healthy.

Matrix A Curl Can Dream Co-Wash

Price – $17.90 at Walmart

6. TPH By TARAJI Hustle & Co Co-Wash

Infused with Shea Butter, Olive, and Sage Oils, Taraji P. Henson’s is a super-moisturizer for your curls. The ultra-creamy and suds-free conditioner deeply cleanse your locks, leaving them hydrated. And about your hair’s natural oils? They’re safe with this conditioner.

TPH By TARAJI Hustle & Co Co-Wash

Price – $10.29 at Target

7. Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Cleansing CoWash

With the nourishment of aloe vera juice, shea butter, and coconut oil; Eden bodyworks promotes a healthy hair environment for growth. This conditioner is specially made for the co-wash process. It is a no-suds, sulfate-free cleanser that effectively removes residue and build-up.

Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Cleansing CoWash

Price – $19.14 at Amazon

8. RENPURE Cleansing Conditioner Rosemary Mint

RENPURE Cleansing Conditioner Rosemary Mint is a plant-based product, featuring Argan oil, bamboo, coconut, lemon sage, manuka honey, mint, and tea tree oil. This is a beloved conditioner brand of customers with over 8000 five-star ratings on Amazon. The conditioner is protein-rich, promoting hair strength and shea butter restores silky and shiny hair.

RENPURE Cleansing Conditioner Rosemary Mint

Price – $6.58 at Walmart

9. Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Conditioner

A perfect option for lightweight conditioning, Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Conditioner is a gentle conditioner for your hair co-wash. The conditioner is made of fatty alcohols, cetrimonium chloride(1) conditioning agents), and behentrimonium methosulfate (mild hair detangler). This conditioner claims to be made with 97% natural ingredients. It removes mineral deposits and other build-ups from your hair.

Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Conditioner

Price – $31.60 at Walmart

10. Big Hair Soft Co-Wash Conditioner

This super minimalistic bottle of Big Hair soft co-wash conditioner contains some powerful cleansing ingredients for your hair. Featuring aloe vera, vitamin, and B5, Big hair covers your hair’s needs of nourishment. The softening oils in the conditioner make your hair silky and tangle-free. 

Big Hair Soft Co-Wash Conditioner

Price – $25 at Thirteen Lune

We know the list above is quite long and competitive. But once you settle with a conditioner for co-wash, you can move ahead with the next section of this blog, which is — How to Co-wash?

How To Co-Wash Natural Hair?

The usual process of washing hair involves shampoo and conditioner. But what do we do when it’s just conditioning? Let’s see

  1. Dampen your hair with water and make them wet thoroughly.
  2. Apply conditioner to your hair and scalp thoroughly 
  3. Massaging and scrubbing are necessary. But more so the massaging motion is important. It removes dirt, build-up, and other impurities. 
  4. Put a shower cap on and leave your hair for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  5. Now, take off your shower cap and rinse your hair thoroughly until all the conditioner rinses off.
  6. Repeat the process twice or thrice a week to see the results that silky, smooth, residue and build-up-free hair.

What Is Co-Wash Technique? Who Should Co-wash?

Though the co-wash technique could be adopted by people with any hair texture, It is mainly beneficial for people with coarse, curly, and multi-textured hair. 

So, Co-wash is:

  1. For dry and curly hair: Curly hair is prone to frizz and damage. Co-wash helps in retaining moisture and provides the required nourishment for them.
  2. For color-treated hair: Most shampoos contain harmful chemicals like sulfates that can fade hair color. Co-wash only involves conditioning which is a gentler alternative to washing color-treated hair.
  3. For Sensitive scalps: Again, the chemicals and harsh detergents in the shampoo can irritate the hair scalp. Co-wash is a gentler way of treating sensitive scalp. 
  4. For people who live in dry or humid climates: It is important to maintain hair moisture value in dry and humid weather. Co-wash can help with that as it specializes in hair moisturizing. 
  5. For 4C hair: 4C hair means tightly coiled, dense, and fragile strands that have a zig-zag pattern when stretched out. Co-wash is a richer technique for people with 4C hair because it maintains the hair’s natural oils and moisture balance.
  6. For fine hair: Shampoo is not the best option for fine hair. For fine hair, it’s important to choose a lightweight formula that doesn’t strip off its natural oils and does not make the hair look flat. But the goals could be achieved with co-wash. 

If you’re still wondering why you should ditch other hair-wash options with this then have a look below:

Co-Wash Vs Other Hair Care Methods

There are various methods of performing the hair-care ritual and following hair-wash regimes. Due to the simplicity of the co-washing definition, that is “conditioning of hair”, people often confuse co-wash with other methods. 

Let’s clarify these common misconceptions…

1. Co-wash Vs Shampoo 

Most shampoos contain harmful chemicals and detergents like sulfate. These chemical ingredients might help in thoroughly cleaning your hair but they are harmful. Sulfates in the shampoo strip natural hair and moisture from your hair that makes your hair prone to damage and breakage. 

Conditioning, in addition to shampooing, can help to restore your hair’s hydration. Thus, shampoo and conditioner strike a good balance for your hair’s good cleaning and healthy growth. 

However, implies just conditioning with specific conditioners or co-washes. It avoids letting your hair go through harmful chemicals of shampoo, washes your thoroughly, and maintains your hair’s natural oil and moisture

2. Cowash vs Conditioner-Only Washing

Co-wash and conditioning might appear like twins but they are different. Conditioning is all about moisturizing and detangling your hair. Conditioners with protein-rich formulas strengthen your hair and replenish breakage. Conditioners with cleansing ingredients can help get rid of hair build-up, dirt, and other pollutants. 

While co-washing is also done with mostly conditioners, not any conditioner can play the role of a co-wash. Doing so might run you the risk of not properly cleaning your hair and leaving behind dirt and pollutants. 

For co-wash, make sure you use only specific conditioners and co-washes. The above list of co-wash products will be a suitable start for picking one. 

3. Co-wash Vs No-Poo Method 

While no-poo might sound like a “no shampoo, conditioner only” method, It is actually anything but no shampoo. Well, you cannot wash your hair with absolutely anything, there are some ingredients commonly considered for the no-poo method. Some of them are baking soda, vinegar rinses, or just water. 

Co-wash is different from the no-poo method in a way that when you go for the former, you wash your hair with products like co-washes and conditioners. And the no-poo method means no shampoo and no conditioner. 

Benefits Of Co-Washing 

Co-washing is great for curly and textured hair as it involves the method of cleansing the scalp without stripping off its natural oils and moisture and leaving them dry and frizzy. This is done by eliminating shampoo and using a conditioner in its place. 

some expected benefits are as follows:

  • Deep hydration
  • Silky, frizz-free, and untangled locks 
  • Restoration of natural oils
  • Protection from harsh chemicals like sulfates 
  • Enhanced curls structure
  • Fresh and clean hair 
  • Manageable curls 

FAQs On Co-Washing 

Is co-wash the same as a conditioner?

No. It is true that co-washing is done with conditioners but for the co-wash, you cannot go with any conditioner. We suggest co-wash-specific conditioners that do both the jobs of cleansing and hydrating your hair.

How often should I co-wash my hair?

The frequency of co-washing depends on several factors like hair type, scalp condition, and your personal preference. Usually, It is suggested to co-wash your hair once or twice a week to see the results and adjust the frequency accordingly.

Can I use regular conditioner as a co-wash?

No. Your regular conditioner might not have cleansing ingredients for removing dirt, build-up, and pollutants from your hair. There are co-wash-specific conditioners and co-washes that can help you clean your hair thoroughly while balancing its moisture value.

What is the difference between cleanser and co-wash?

A cleanser is a product used to clean the hair and scalp, while a co-wash is a specific type of cleanser that uses conditioner to wash the hair and scalp. Co-washing is a gentler alternative to cleansing.

Do you rinse out Cowash?

Yes. You should rinse your co-wash just like you do with shampoo and conditioner. 

What Is Co-Wash: The Final Verdict 

Moving past shampoo and picking co-wash might be your best bet for healthy hair. The shampoo contains harsh detergents and sulfates that strip off natural oil and hydration from your hair. Ditching shampooing for co-washing might make you go a long way in promoting the good health of your hair.

Before going in with “only conditioning”, make sure that you’re choosing the right products for co-washing your hair. A few of the best co-washes and conditioners are stated above in this blog. 

Co-washing is a great hair-care method for people with curly, coarse, and textured hair. These hair types are prone to dryness and frizz. Shampooing might worsen this situation. Enter, co-wash. This helps in restoring hair’s natural oil and hydration which is necessary for textured hair. 

So, let’s give our hair some goodness and hydration. Co-wash, here we come!

  1. John Wiley & Sons.( 1999-2023).Simple and rapid analytical method for the simultaneous determination of cetrimonium chloride and alkyl alcohols in hair conditioners. Available at:
  2. Spandidos Publications.(2023).Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with a bright future. Available at:

Subscribe to Newsletter

Elevate your routine, stay on trend, and embrace a personalized beauty journey with our curated insights.

Anshitha sigh

As a seasoned critic, a style icon, and a compassionate relationship advisor, Anshita has carved a distinctive niche in the world of entertainment and personal development.

Reviewer name

Reviewer bio

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *