A guide to co-washing for curly hair

4 October, 2023 / words by IALH Editorial Team

Co-washing might sound complex and a bit alien but it’s actually super straightforward and if you’ve got curly tresses, it might be something to try out and see if it works for you.

What is co-washing?

Simply, it’s using a product similar to conditioner to wash your hair rather than traditional shampoo. Shampoo, particularly on curly hair can have a drying effect so that’s why co-washing has become so popular.

Does it work and will my hair be clean?

Contrary to popular belief you don’t actually need thousands of soap suds to get a clean result. Conditioners work in pretty much the same way to remove build up and dirt as shampoos, the difference is their formulas aren’t as harsh and efficient (hence why you don’t get dry hair after using conditioner because it’s not stripping out so much oil or foaming). The emulsifiers in conditioners are doing all the hard work and binding to the oil on your scalp and hair strands.

Do I need to use a specific product?

We’d recommend a co-wash, or to put it another way – a cleansing conditioner! For curly hair, these products can remove dirt and excess oil but not strip your hair completely so it feels brittle or dry at the end of wash day. Here’s some of our top picks to get you started…


IALH Editorial Team


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