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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Kennedi
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 »
Abena

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.

Angela

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.

patricia

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!

NewlyNatural

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.

shonlisa

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.

Rebecca
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 »
Marly

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.

jeje1718

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.

Krys

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!

Felicia

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR:)

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!

Charlotte

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.

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.

AshBash
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 »
CJ

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.

T.

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.

Eboni
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 »
Eboni

Another shampoo tip:
http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curly-hair-care-methods/no-poo/healthy-hair-tips-diluting-your-shampoo

Hope that helps some of us who prefer not to co-wash šŸ™‚

cygnet

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.

Adhara

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 »
LadyV69

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.

Haduko

“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.”

Agree.

jaince

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.

binks

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

ashleymichelle

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.

Cherie

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.

Shay

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…

Beth

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.

LBell
+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 »
Alyse

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

df

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.

E
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… Read more »
Haduko

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

Whitney

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.

vonnie

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.

Vonnie
http://www.socialitedreams.com/

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).

Jasmin

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.

honeybrown1976

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!

Nappynfree

This link shows one way you can make liquid black soap: http://www.southerncrafter.com/african%20black%20soap%20shampoo%20recipe.htm

I have tried it and did like the results!

ambre

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.

Shay

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..

serenissima

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

http://sartorialme.blogspot.com

Cosmolude

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.

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