The debate over shampoo vs co-wash(conditioner only washing) is very common amongst the natural hair community. While I believe there are benefits to using both, there are many reasons to take in to consideration when using both shampoos and co-washes.
What is shampoo? Traditionally, Shampoo is generally made up of surfactant, sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. The goal for shampoo is to remove build up in the hair without stripping out sebum. So what is sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate? These are chemicals commonly found in shampoos and in other cleaning products. Sulfate acts as a foaming agent that is capable of removing build up in your hair. But is it good for your hair? the answer is no!. Sulfates irritate your hair. It strips away essential oils in your hair which could cause your hair to be dry and could possibly make your hair break off. Nowadays they have a lot of “sulfate free” and clarifying shampoos. These shampoos do not have a harsh affect on your hair and will not strip away your oils. Clarifying shampoos are good for removing build up from all of the products that you use such as gels, creams etc. If you use this shampoo, it is very important to follow up with a conditioner.
What is a Co-Wash? Co-wash is short for conditioner only wash. Co-Washing your hair means skipping the shampoo all together and solely relying on the conditioner to wash your hair. There is a debate going on saying that using a co-wash is the same as using fabric softener to wash your clothes instead of detergent. The results from using a co-wash makes your hair feel smooth and easier to manage, however, I do not believe that your hair will be squeaky clean.
Personally, I’ve stopped using shampoos as much in my hair. I typically use a shampoo maybe after every 2 to 3 co-washes. You can use a co-wash as a weekly cleanser in between your shampoos. I like to use a sulfate free clarifying shampoo because I like to make sure I remove all of the products in my hair. Here’s a secret, I am a product junkie! I haven’t seen any problems so far. My hair is healthy and it’s growing. Recently, I began using CURLS Blueberry bliss reparative hair wash. This is a cleanser and to me, this product seems like a cross between a co-wash and a shampoo. You just have to find the regiment that works for you.
Tell me what you think? Do you Co-wash or shampoo?