Cowashing African American hair is a process in which your hair is washed using only a conditioner, without shampoo.
Why Should You Cowash?
Cowashing is great for keeping your hair moisturized without stripping the natural oils. If you cowash your hair, you can wash it more frequently than you may when washing with shampoo, because cowashing is gentler than using harsh detergents. Cowashing can be a part of your weekly hair care routine, and some people cowash several times a week.
Cowashing softens your hair and will help keep your scalp moisturized, a benefit for anyone with persistent dry hair and a dry scalp. Cowashing may also help your color last longer since you are not stripping it out with shampoo. This method of washing is particularly beneficial for natural hair care.
There are several additional benefits of this cleansing technique:
- It can help define curls.
- It softens your hair, making it easier to comb and less prone to breakage.
- It eliminates some of the chemicals used to manage your natural hair texture, which is great for natural, no-fuss hair care.
As good as cowashing appears, however, there are also some disadvantages.
Disadvantages to Cowashing
Cowashing is not recommended for everyone, and it is not a cure for every hair problem. Cowashing will do more harm than good to weak or over-processed hair. Because conditioners soften your hair, cowashing African American hair may weaken hair that is already thinning and highly damaged.
It is possible to overwash hair using the cowashing technique. Although you can wash your hair more often when cowashing than you will normally wash your hair with shampoo, if you have a relaxer, it may not be feasible to cowash every day. If you cowash daily or even every other day, you may tend to add more heat than you would otherwise. Most people use a heat appliance to dry their hair, but if you prefer using a non-heat method for hair drying, you may get away with cowashing your hair more. Heat appliances will cause more damage to healthy hair than cowashing with a light-weight conditioner.
The Process of Cowashing African American Hair
- Wet your hair. It is easier to saturate hair with conditioner when it is already wet.
- Put conditioner into the palm of your hand and rub it through your hair. You will need to put enough conditioner in your hair to make sure that it is saturated from the roots to the tips.
- Massage the conditioner into your hair.
- If desired, sit under a dryer with a plastic cap for deep conditioning.
- Rinse the conditioner out with cool water.
- Repeat the process if desired.
Tips on Cowashing
- Use a conditioner that is lightweight. Do not use a thick conditioner, which is more likely to build up in your hair.
- Try to use a natural conditioner. Pure virgin coconut oil may be a good alternative to traditional chemical conditioners.
- You can use virgin coconut oil on your face and body. It is an excellent conditioner and will give your hair a pleasant scent. You can find coconut oil in health food stores or grocery stores where natural, organic whole food products are sold.
- You do not have to sit under the dryer if you use coconut oil or any other conditioner, unless you are going for a deep conditioning. Deep condition no more than once a week.
Cowashing Instead of Traditional Washing?
Some naturalists use only water or a natural conditioner in their hair, and others wash their hair with natural products. Decide for yourself whether cowashing African American hair will benefit you. It is important to cleanse the hair using a method that works best for you and for your hair's health and texture. With the right care, your hair will be easier to style, more manageable, and luxuriously beautiful.