So, it’s time to throw down the gaunt­let… and get to the bot­tom of the “to-sham­poo-or-not-to-sham­poo” debate. Okay, maybe not exact­ly, but I do want to hear your feed­back. Some nat­u­rals swear by con­di­tion­er wash­ing, and using sham­poo infre­quent­ly while oth­ers swear by reg­u­lar sham­poo­ing.

So, I’m tak­ing it to you, ladies, do you pri­mar­i­ly co-wash? Or do you use sham­poo? Why or why not? Did you switch from one method to anoth­er and see a dif­fer­ence? I’m dying to hear these answers!

Do you co-wash or sham­poo your hair?

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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50 Comments on "Co-Wash vs Shampoo"

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Hi, I find that wash­ing our 4c or what ever type of hair we have to much can lead to dry­ness. See we do not have to wash as often as folks who have natru­al­ly oily hair. If we was once or twice a month it will be just fine. Leave some of the gunk in wear pro­tec­tive styles for a while if you think your hair is to gunky to wear out. On the real though, see how much health­i­er your 4 what ever hair gets and feels w/o all the wash­ing.. God bless and good luck all you… Read more »

Is it bad to sham­poo and co-wash right? A few min­utes apart?
I work out every­day and co-wash alone isn’t a dai­ly option.
I wash my hair once a week.


I just start­ed on a nat­ur­al hair jour­ney 3 weeks ago. My hair is very dry and very coarse. I have only washed my hair with a co- wash since my jour­ney and found out it dose not strip and dry out my hair like sham­poo did. I have read that sul­fate is not good for your hair, so I think­ing of buy­ing a sham­poo with­out sul­fate and use it once a month.


Ive rein­tro­duced sham­poo with black soap and more often. I notice how much shiny my sil­ver my streaks are. Had been cow­ashin for 4 wks and poo-ing once a month. I know now that my hair and scalp needs more shampooing..thank God 4 this learn­ing hair jour­ney!


I just did my BC a few days ago…so I’m new to the game. The day I did my BC, I got a wash, scalp treat­ment (I don’t think she knew what she was doing) & con­di­tion­er. My scalp was itch­ing before I went to bed that night. I have always had issues with dry scalp & have been co-wash­ing dai­ly since my BC & my scalp still itch­es. Some­one please HELP! I don’t know what I should do.


i tried co-wash­ing and my scalp did not agree all. my head nev­er itched so bad in all my life. to me its like rub­bing lotion on your body with­out show­er­ing, it just feels so wrong lol. And i cant do sul­fate-free because they tend to strip my hair more than sul­fates which defeats the pur­pose of buy­ing it. I’ve been nat­ur­al for a year now and im find­ing that the sim­pler i keep my reg­i­ment the bet­ter. All i need is a good and cheap sham­poo, con­di­tion­er, leave-in, & sealant and im straight.

I’ve been tran­si­tion­ing for 11 months now and I’m still hav­ing trou­ble decid­ing wether to co-wash or not. For a few months now I’ve been co-wash­ing but that left my scalp (as well as the rest of my hair) coat­ed with gunk and I walked OUT of the show­er with my hair sticky. Not a good sign. I might have just been using a too-heavy con­di­tion­er but i’m hav­ing sec­ond thoughts about co-wash­ing. And when I DO sham­poo (I use a cha­grin val­ley bar then do a ACV rinse), my hair feels dry and kin­da thin­ner! What do I do??… Read more »

I actu­al­ly used to sham­poo every week, until I col­ored for the 4th time, then I noticed my hair was always dry, and actu­al­ly start­ed break­ing. So now I just clar­i­fy once a month and co-wash at least twice a week and my hair has got­ten bet­ter.


I went through a phase where I cow­ashed alot and it did­nt real­ly work out for me. I pre­fer sham­poo­ing most times because my scalp gets itchy if I wait too long to do it. I usu­al­ly sham­poo every 4–11 days depend­ing on how my hair and scalp feels and how busy I am. I might cow­ash in-between if I feel like it or have the time, but fre­quent sham­poo­ing is a must.


I tried co-wash­ing and it was NOT for me. My scalp suf­fered the most. I only tried it one time and that was all I need­ed.

I sham­poo my hair in sec­tions and that allows me to cleanse my scalp and my hair real­ly well. It also helps with the detan­gling process too!



I co-wash all the time bc I rinse with the acv first. You may dilute it with water and once you put your con­di­tion­er on it and deep con­di­tion the smell goes away.
The acv leaves my hair feel­ing light and fluffy:) that’s the best way I can describe it…
And it is clean. No build up. Plus the ph bal­ance helps the scalp and hair.

I love BGLH!


ive been sul­fate free for over two years now and stopped relax­ing around the same time. did­nt start try­ing to co-wash until i cut my relaxed ends off (aug 10), but it left my hair feel­ing dis­gust­ing, i endured weeks of my hair look­ing and feel­ing gross before real­is­ing it was­nt for every­one. now i used a nat­ur­al sham­poo bar and light­ly con­di­tion with steeped marsh­mal­low root because my hair gets over-mois­turised eas­i­ly, and its been work­ing well, no break­age and my curls feel boun­cy instead of limp and flop­py!

Alley G

I co wash. I have sham­pooed twice in the last 6 months due to curios­i­ty, though. Sham­poo irri­tates my EXTREMELY sen­si­tive scalp. I also find it odd that peo­ple sham­poo and then devote so much time to restor­ing mois­ture. For my medi­um-fine hair, a mix of EVOO/conditioner/water/ACV helps me detan­gle and break up dirt and dead skin. After I rinse that out, anoth­er appli­ca­tion of con­di­tion­er lifts any extra residue. The result, soft, shiny, man­age­able hair whose nat­ur­al oils were nev­er stripped, but aug­ment­ed and cleaned by the treat­ment.

Jo Somebody

I nor­mal­ly sham­poo at the week­end and co-wash mid­week, but every now and then I will have an extra co-wash dur­ing the week. I select­ed ‘both equal­ly’ because I think it best describes me.
I got a selec­tion of sham­poo bars from Cha­grin Val­ley though and I’m going to have to sit on my hands to stop myself doing extra sham­poos! I like the bars so far!
Also, start­ing tomor­row, I’m going to incor­po­rate ayurvedic tea rins­es (with shikakai and aritha — cleans­ing, and amla and brah­mi — con­di­tion­ing) every few weeks. Got the idea from youtube’s Nap­pyN­Free.


Hey, Jo Some­body! Thanks for the shout out! I like using the tea rins­es when wear­ing yarn twists. Since I don’t use a lot of prod­uct on my hair while in the yarn, I feel it real­ly gets my hair clean.

I just start­ed adding a table­spoon of ACV to my tea and I *think* I like it. I plan on doing anoth­er Ayurvedic tea YouTube video soon.

Maybe it’s just because I’m still in the TWA phase (I BC’d 2 1/2 months ago), but I cow­ash my hair either every­day or every oth­er day. It just leaves my hair so nice and mois­tur­ized and soft. Plus my hair seems to be grow­ing well so I fig­ure it doesn’t hurt. I usu­al­ly sham­poo my hair once a week out of habit and because my con­di­tion­er has a cone in it, but I went two weeks with­out sham­poo­ing and my hair and scalp were per­fect­ly fine. I guess it just depends on the per­son and what stage they’re at… Read more »

I sham­poo my hair about twice a week. I co-washed every few days when my hair was short­er, but now that it’s longer co-wash­ing just doesn’t get it clean enough.


These days, nei­ther. I haven’t used sham­poo in months, but I don’t co-wash either. Instead I clean my hair and scalp with vine­gar (prefer­ably ACV, but malt vine­gar works okay too). My hair’s in good shape, and my scalp is flake-free and itch-free, much bet­ter than when I used to sham­poo.

Ameerah Pearman
I final­ly fig­ured out my rou­tine… and it involves sham­poo… well, not your tra­di­tion­al sham­poo. For my type 4 hair I use Kinky Curly Come Clean Sham­poo once a week. I have evil scalp. Evil itchy,flaky, just evil scalp. So, I MUST sham­poo it and get it all off. Then, I fol­low up with a acv rinse, and then my leave-in (Knot Today) and seal (coconut oil). I also real­ized that I need to co-wash in the mid­dle of the week and I use Tre­semme nat­u­rals for that. Evil scalp is MEAN!! But I deep con­di­tion week­ly using the ghet­to… Read more »
Florida Steph

I sham­poo on aver­age, every 4 days. I do con­di­tion after­wards, but I can­not just co-wash. It still feels dirty after­ward and does not “lay” right.

The only rea­son why I don’t co-wash is because I’m not par­tic­u­lar­ly a fan of build-up. And maybe it the con­di­tion­er I used the first time, or the way I’m co-wash­ing. Though I’d cer­tain­ly like to attempt adjust­ing my reg­i­men to add more mois­ture. Recent­ly I’ve been check­ing out Bear Fruit Hair con­di­tion­ers (cleans­ing, mois­tur­iz­ing, and dai­ly leave-in). I read an arti­cle that gave a tip for sham­poo­ing hair: most of the dirt/buildup resides on your scalp, so only focus on cleans­ing the scalp and let the sham­poo rinse through your hair strands — so your hair won’t feel as… Read more »

Anoth­er sham­poo tip:

Hope that helps some of us who pre­fer not to co-wash :)


While my hair is bound in either plaits or twists, I co-wash. When my hair is unbound, or I feel the need to clar­i­fy, I sham­poo. I try to avoid sham­poo­ing a lot, because, as for oth­er respon­ders, my hair can get quite dry, and co-wash­ing helps me clean with­out strip­ping my hair too much. Since I do co-wash fre­quent­ly, I don’t wor­ry over­much about not get­ting my hair clean.


I sham­poo every 8 weeks or so at this point, or when there is a LOT of unusu­al prod­uct buildup (ie. Extra gel, hair­spray, Glitter/color for per­for­mance, etc.)

I’ve tak­en to just co-wash­ing every few days/ twice a week. And Like oth­ers have said above, any sham­poo leave my hair feel­ing stripped (i’ve tried a LOT). The Co-wash with hot hot water does the work for me and gets out any­thing that needs out (sweat, build up…) with­out strip­ping and dry­ing my hair.

W. Lotus
About a month ago I start­ed co-wash­ing after my week­ly Zum­ba work­out. It felt great after sweat­ing for an hour. Last week­end I sham­pooed and con­di­tioned my hair for the first time in a month. That will prob­a­bly be my rou­tine dur­ing the sum­mer months. (My only mis­take was I co-washed and mois­tur­ized it again last night after Zum­ba, and that dried my hair out a lot. I would have been bet­ter just run­ning water over my scalp to rinse out the sweat. But an extra mois­tur­ing ses­sion this morn­ing seems to have set my hair right, again.) I don’t… Read more »

I main­ly co-wash and just use sham­poo every cou­ple of weeks or so to remove prod­uct buildup. Sham­poo, even sul­fate-free ones, leave my hair feel­ing stripped and I tend to need more con­di­tion­er and more prod­ucts peri­od to get it soft again.


“Sham­poo, even sul­fate-free ones, leave my hair feel­ing stripped and I tend to need more con­di­tion­er and more prod­ucts peri­od to get it soft again.”



Can’t co-wash, I tried it, my hair felt strange and extreme­ly oily and dirty. So i had to sham­poo my hair. In fact I would pre­fer to just run water through my hair than to co-wash.


I do both. I wash my hair on wash days but since I work out and sweat from my head I do co-wash­ing just as a refresh­er. Because if I don’t co-wash my hair would be funky and so dry until wash day…lol


I sham­poo week­ly. I love clean, fresh smelling hair. I always deep-con­di­tion w/ sil­i­con mix after every sham­poo to bring back mosi­ture. I’ve tried the no-poo method in the past and I hon­est­ly didn’t care for it…my hair always felt dirty and I always had the urge to sham­poo. I also don’t like to wet my hair so often because drip­ping wet hair annoys me…my apl hair takes for­ev­er and a day to dry.


When I first BC’d and before I fig­ured out a rou­tine for my hair, I would co-wash every day, because I didn’t know what else to do. After a month or so, I got sick of wet­ting my hair so often, so I would twist my hair and wash with sham­poo every week. If I’m gonna wash, I want my scalp to feel clean and I just don’t get that with co-wash­ing. So I nev­er co-wash… I deep con­di­tion any­way, so it’s kin­da point­less for me.


Def. Sham­poo. I;m sor­ry co-wash­ing is not for everybody..It ain’t!. I love to have a clean feel­ing. My hair has grown and con­tin­ues to grow with my cur­rent medth­ods. I have a few things I would like to tweek but for the most part I’m good…


I use sil­i­cone-laden prod­ucts, and I gen­er­al­ly like my hair to be squeaky clean when I wash, so I def­i­nite­ly sham­poo, and when I do, it doesn’t mat­ter to me if it’s sul­fate or not… some­times I even seek out a sul­fate sham­poo.

+1… Since my last BC a lit­tle over a year ago I’ve been try­ing a vari­ety of prod­ucts for coil definition…not all at once, of course, but inter­mit­tent­ly. Some have sil­i­cones (GF Sleek and Shine), some have min­er­al oil (MJ Curly Pud­ding) and some are real­ly heavy and thick (MJ Curly Pud­ding, Beau­ti­ful Curls Curl Acti­vat­ing Cream). The only thing that gets this stuff off and resets my hair to receive more prod­uct is REAL SHAMPOO. I sham­poo once a week with either Gio­van­ni Deep­er Mois­ture (non-sul­fate) or HE HH (sul­fate). I too strive for squeaky-clean because again, I’m going… Read more »

I’ve tried co-wash­ing and for some rea­son it just leaves my hair extra frizzy :P So i sham­poo


same here!!! peo­ple say their hair always feels nice and mois­tur­ized but mine just feels frizzy…it’s prob­a­bly because my hair is low poros­i­ty. I use shea mois­ture sham­poo though because nor­mal sham­poo makes my hair dry.

I saw this on LHCF that was post­ed by IRI9109 and thought you ladies might be inter­est­ed in this info. ——————————————————– Ren­pure is on sale at Rite Aid for 4.99 and you get a 4.99 coupon back (to use on any­thing) when you use your Rite Aid Well­ness card (which is free if you dont have one)…also some bot­tles have rebate coupons on them for the full pur­chase price, so you actu­al­ly could get dou­ble your mon­ey back. I’ve nev­er tried their prod­ucts before, but i was wait­ing for a sale, so this is a good for peo­ple who want to… Read more »

I cow­ashed my hair with the Ren­pure (red bot­tle) yes­ter­day and my 4b hair was left feel­ing soft and mois­tur­ized.


I sham­poo on every wash day using Qhemet’s Egypt­ian Wheat­grass Cleans­ing Tea. If I need to wash my hair in-between wash days (which is rarely), I will use african black soap. I like the feel of wash­ing my hair with sham­poo since I know that it will def­i­nite­ly clean sev­en days’ worth of build-up, dirt, sweat, ect.


when i went nat­ur­al, i switched to cow­ash­ing because i thought it was the only way to go about it and that i’d been sil­ly and doing things the wrong way before. OH BOY, my scalp revolt­ed so much to that lmao. so i’m def­i­nite­ly a sham­poo all the time girl, def­i­nite­ly.



Dit­to! I can go 9–10 days at most with­out sham­poo­ing, and the one time I tried a co-wash, it was laugh­able. I’m envi­ous of girls who can wear twists for weeks and then a twist out for a few more, because my hair def­i­nite­ly requires week­ly styling.

mixed beans

same here! i am a sham­poo girl, with a cou­ple of co-wash­es in between (and then i use cleans­ing con­di­tion­ers like Curl Junkie Dai­ly Fix).


I most­ly co-wash, while sham­poo­ing every few months. My hair sim­ply doesn’t respond well to sham­poo since I start­ed my tran­si­tion near­ly 13 months ago.

Jenna Marie Christian

I have switched from using Sham­poo to using Raw Black soap, but as much as I’d love to rely sole­ly on the co-wash..My scalp just doesn’t feel/get clean with Co-wash or rins­es. So, my com­pro­mise was to put small pices of black soap in my spray bot­tled with water and spray it direct­ly on my scalp and halp to wash away the weeks sweat and prod­uct build up in my hair.

Jo Somebody

Ooooh, inter­est­ing. Just a lump of the black soap straight in there or do you try to break it down? I’ve always won­dered how you can get liq­uid black soap, but nev­er want­ed to buy it. I guess I could try your method as a sort of test? Thanks!


This link shows one way you can make liq­uid black soap:

I have tried it and did like the results!


I just sham­pooed today with a sul­fate sham­poo and I hadn’t in a month or so. I only do if my hair feels espe­cial­ly dirty (from scalp/dead skin buildup). I hate all the tan­gles and knots it cre­ates, AND that I have to restyle my hair, but it needs to be done. Oth­er­wise, I cow­ash, and my curls usu­al­ly stay in tack, so all I do is shake and go.


I’m con­fused how your hair gets tan­gled? I’m not try­ing to be fun­ny but it sounds more like the method in which you wash would cre­ate those knots? I’m just curi­ous..


lol im the oppo­site of cos­molude… i co-wash 9 times out of 10 and only sham­poo when my hair feels reaal­lyyy dirty/sweaty or im notic­ing prod­uct buildup. i used to sham­poo and con­di­tion every week but the poo was just too dry­ing on my hair and used to cause a ton of knots and tan­gles. co-wash fol­lowed by a leave-in works best for me


When I first went nat­ur­al, I used to main­ly co-wash because I was still try­ing to find the right prod­ucts for my hair and I wasn’t sure about using sham­poo. Now, I main­ly sham­poo my hair. I just like for my hair and scalp to feel clean. I only co-wash after I work out if my hair feels “dirty” or needs to be refreshed.