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Co-washing is the latest beauty buzz word of Instagram, but you've probably already tried it before

Is it time to ditch the shampoo – again?

IF YOU’LL CAST your mind to a few years back, glossy mags and beauty gurus alike were all aboard the ‘no poo’ train.

Unfamiliar? Don’t be too alarmed: the ‘no poo’ method simply involves washing your hair without shampoo. The official website recommends using a natural alternative such as apple cider vinegar, baking soda or just water depending on your buzz.

shutterstock_348769379 Source: Shutterstock/MosayMay

Why though?

The official No Poo method site claims that frequent shampooing strips you off your own natural oils, leading your hair to compensate and over-produce sebum, resulting in hair that gets greasy much more quickly. There’s also the argument against chemicals in shampoo, but that’s a hard one to take seriously given the number of natural options on the market now.

As said previously, the hype came and went as many trialled the method to see if it was any use.  Now however, the movement has re-emerged under a new name – co-washing.


Co-washing involves only using conditioner in your hair. A long beloved method among the curly-haired community, it’s started making waves on my Insta feed in recent weeks.

Is it essentially the same thing?

Yes, just with a slightly more palatable name.

Can I co-wash?

The ideal candidate for co-washing are those with

  • Healthy scalps
  • Colour-processed hair
  • People with thick/curly hair
  • All of the above!

Those with fine, straight hair may find the method leaves their gruaig feeling weighed down. Similarly, those suffering from oily scalps or dermatitis need specialised treatment.

What conditioner should I be using?

Those with thicker hair usually have more choice when it comes to conditioners, but are advised to go for silicone-free ones.

If your hair is on the thinner side, cleansing conditioners are your best bet – the Grow Gorgeous 11-in-1 Cleansing Conditioner (€23.99) from Boots seems to be a popular choice (and it’s cruelty-free, always a bonus.)

710Pt0ogPvL._SX569_ Source: Amazon

How to co-wash

  1. Your hair needs to be soaking wet to ensure the product is distributed easily.
  2. Lash on the conditioner – squeeze out enough so that you’re able to coat from root to tip. 
  3. Massage the conditioner into the scalp and distribute evenly through the ends. Then allow the conditioner to be absorbed for three to five minutes. If your hair is particularly dry or damaged, leave it in longer. 
  4. Use a clarifying shampoo once every two to four weeks. Build-up – from sweat, stylers, or conditioner – is inevitable, regardless of whether you shampoo or co-wash. Experiment with how frequently you need to clarify your hair (here’s a good link on scalp scrubs, if you’re curious.) In general, a once-a-month or twice-a-month wash will cure dullness without drying.
  5. If your hair still feels weighed down after biweekly clarifying, alternate as needed between co-washing and shampooing. It’s all a matter of personal preference. 


Happy co-washing!

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