What Are The Benefits Of Co-Washing Your Hair?

Whether you prefer bubble baths or steamy showers, many of us have a simple hair-washing routine consisting of using shampoo and conditioner before giving it a good rinse. However, it's easy to see that there are many different types of hair out there. For this reason, hair product manufacturers have created various formulations to cater to these types. That being said, how you use these products can dramatically impact the health and appearance of your tresses.

One term that has become more commonly used as of late is "co-washing." If you've heard of it but you aren't exactly sure what it is, think of it as a way to simplify your hair-washing routine. All it involves is conditioner. Instead of reaching for your shampoo as soon as you wet your hair in the shower or tub, co-washing only requires you to have your conditioner on hand. Those with curly or dry hair textures often co-wash, but does this mean it's beneficial for your hair?

Because we all have different hair types, co-washing may provide more benefits for some than others. Before you make the leap and start ditching the shampoo regularly, you can do yourself a favor by familiarizing yourself with the potential advantages — and disadvantages — of co-washing. In the end, this knowledge will give you the confidence you need to use your hair products more efficiently.

Could you benefit from co-washing your hair?

Shampoo typically contains sulfates, which are known to strip hair of natural oils. This can result in dryness, which is something you should avoid if it's already an issue for you. Co-washing, or only using conditioner when you wash your tresses, can help you lock in moisture in your hair. This can be especially beneficial if you have a curly, dry, or frizzy hair texture. To co-wash effectively, make sure to massage the conditioner across your entire scalp, and then rinse out the product completely.

While shampoo has been deemed "the enemy" by many as of late, it's still an essential hair product in terms of keeping your tresses and scalp clean. "Many people report having softer hair once they have co-washed their hair, but the 'benefits' are often short-lived, with the practice leading to a host of hair and scalp issues," hair product creator Rachael Corson told Healthline. Using shampoo can eliminate the buildup of sweat, excess oil on your scalp, dirt, and dead skin cells. If you love the results of co-washing but still want to keep your tresses and scalp clean, keep your shampoo in the mix. Corson recommends using a gentle (or even sulfate-free) shampoo every seven to 10 days. If you have a particularly oily scalp or notice that "dirty" feeling before a full week is up, don't hesitate to shampoo.

Identifying your hair type and beneficial products

Whether oiliness, dryness, or frizz is a problem for you, your hair care routine can be modified to tackle almost any of these issues. That being said, it helps to know your hair type to ensure that you're using the right products regularly. "Do a ponytail test and see if the diameter of the pony is smaller than a quarter," hairstylist Neil Grupp recommended to Today. "That means you have fine hair. And a quarter or more means you have medium to thick hair." From here, you can begin to shop for shampoos and conditioners that suit your specific hairstyle.

Keep in mind that outlying factors, such as water temperature, play a role in the health of your hair as well. For example, rinsing your hair at the end of your shower with cool water (rather than warm or hot water) can seal your cuticles, locking in moisture to prevent frizz. Using your shampoo once (instead of rinsing and repeating) is also all you need to reap the benefits of the product. Don't forget to focus the shampoo on your scalp, where it can provide the most benefits, and reserve the conditioner for your ends. This can be especially helpful if you have breakage or dryness at the tips of your hair. Happy washing!