Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Co-washing: What It Is and Why I Do It!

Good morning!  Today we're going to talk about something I have a complete over-abundance of.  I'll give you one guess:

Child-like humor?  Yes, but also,


I am not a beauty blogger and you will rarely/never catch me sharing makeup tips or the latest nail trends, however, having lived with a giant POOF on my head for most of my life, I feel at least mildly equipped to share some knowledge I've acquired over the years in that realm.

I think you know by now I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to hair/makeup/etc so I'm especially interested in tips that allow me to streamline my already bare bones routine even more, or utilize more natural products.  That's what got me interested in the co-washing or 'no-poo' movement a couple years ago.

I'm guessing most of you have probably heard of this hair care phenomenon, but for those that don't, the terms refer to washing with just conditioner (co-washing) and therefore using no shampoo (no-poo).  The idea is that modern day shampoos are just too harsh on both the hair and scalp and contain harmful ingredients.  Using conditioner only is supposed to more gentle, natural, and be healthier for your hair.  Check out this article for a good starting/reference point.

My hair is incredibly long and thick and has been this way for as long as I can remember.  And for my entire life I always subscribed to the age-old hair care adage of "lather, rinse, (repeat)"; washing, conditioning and drying my hair each and every day.  It was time consuming and a ton of work!  But I just thought this is what you do with hair.  You wash it every day, right?

In fact, up until a few years ago, I did this every morning before work.  Which required me to get up extra early and meant I left the house (even in the dead of winter!) with a soaking wet head.  I finally realized I could do this at night at the suggestion of my sister, who is a busy mom of 3, and routine night-showerer.  Side note: I love night showering now!  I rarely morning-shower any more.  I'm a convert.

But back to the business at hand, co-washing.  The more I read about co-washing, the more I liked both the time saving and hair-health benefits of it.  So I decided to try it and I've been doing it for about 2 years now! 

There are many different approaches to co-washing, but the basis is that you wash with either regular conditioners only, or the newer 'cleansing conditioners' that are now on the market because of this movement.  I have used both and still do, mixing them up throughout the week. 

This is the cleansing conditioner I use:

It's made by Herbal Essences and is cheap, and works well for me.  There are a lot of more expensive options out there in the newly developed cleansing conditioner line but if you're on a budget, I'd start here. 

For conditioners, I also use whatever's cheapest.  You can use your regular conditioner/whatever you have on hand.  I actually really love VO5 conditioners, which you can find at any pharmacy or dollar store for less than $1!  They are super conditioning, not greasy, and contain no parabens.  They've also been around since the 1980s.  You can't go wrong here!

Ok so, so far co-washing is cheap and saves time, but does it actually work?!

I am a believer and a convert.  I can't believe up until a few years ago, I was washing my hair every day.  It's not like I'm working outside wrestling pigs in mud all day.  I'm not sure why I thought my hair was so dirty! HA

I not a complete 'no-pooer' as I still shampoo 3 days/week, but I alternate those days with 2-3 days of co-washing, and 1-2 of no washing at all.  I am hoping to reduce my shampooing days even further to 1-2 times/week. 

I don't know if co-washing will work for all hair types but for thick, curly hair, I think it's ideal.  My hair is already prone to dryness and frizz so over-shampooing only exacerbates those conditions.  If you have really fine/thin hair, you probably need to shampoo more often but it can't hurt to give it a try!

Here's my hair with no retouching and no added products a morning after I co-washed.  (I put gel in it while it's wet right out of the shower at night.)  I slept on it and when I woke up this is exactly how it looked!  Zero effort required at this point to get me out the door.  It is so much more manageable and soft the days when I co-wash as opposed to the days I shampoo.  (Shampoo days now make me feel like my hair is too 'fluffy'.)

I've seen bloggers/writers do no-poo challenges (like this one), and I'd encourage you to give it a try! I'll never go back to shampooing every day.  Unless I become a pig wrestler. 

How often do you shampoo?

Ever hear of the co-washing or no-poo movement?

Have you tried it?


  1. I've heard of this and considered trying it before, but admittedly never have. The best I do is trying to not wash it every single day LOL. When it's curly, I always feel like I need to wash it the next day because of the product in it, though. I'm also intrigued by how you manage to sleep on your hair and have it look so nice in the morning! Maybe I'm more of a rough and tumble sleeper. :-)

  2. I've been meaning to do this but haven't bitten the bullet yet. My thing is I have thin hair; there's a decent amount of it..but it's thin. So by the end of the day, it falls flat and starts to get greasy. I just feel so much better with "clean" hair - but this is definitely intriguing to me - more so than doing no poo completely (using just water or apple cider vinegar or whatever). You have gorgeous hair!!!

  3. I think your hair looks great! This is clearly working for you.

    I wash my hair 2-3 times a week. Dry shampoo on the days in between. If you asked me five years ago if I'd ever skip a day washing I would've said NO!

  4. Interesting! I'm not a full "no-poo"-er either, but I try to wash my hair with just conditioner a few times a week. Unfortunately I am a very sweaty girl and my scalp & face are the sweatiest parts of me. So I cannot do an intense workout (is there any other kind!) without needing to wash. To help preserve moisture, I put coconut oil in my hair every other week for an hour or so before washing.

    I'm envious of your thick hair! My hair is so fine. :(