Ghana Natural Hair Chick: To co-wash or not to co-wash?.That is the question

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

To co-wash or not to co-wash?.That is the question

Over the past week we've talked about a number of things to help with our hair,and yesterday I shared the basics of a hair care regimen in this post.Following a simple regimen is the easiest way to fix dry tangled hair once and for all.For a lot of you who read and watch a lot of hair tutorials,you probably noticed that I didn't talk about co-washing and may be wondering why.

Co-washing is basically 'conditioner-washing',that is washing your hair with conditioner.For a lot of natural haired ladies,co-washing is a part of their regimen.Instead of washing hair with shampoo,a lot of us prefer to use conditioners to wash our hair.The reason for this is to basically help keep your hair soft and moisturised.Shampoos generally tend to remove a lot the hair's natural oils and leaves
Image from Officially Natural
it so clean that you have to immediately replace that moisture or risk hair damage.For afro-textured hair,its already particularly difficult to keep the hair moisturised because it is so tightly coiled and absorbs very little water.That's why a lot of natural hair ladies will wash their hair with conditioner so that right from the cleansing stage your hair has moisture.

In yesterday's post,I didn't bring this up because I think that the decision to co-wash your hair or not will depend on a number of factors.

1.Your location
I think that co-washing works great when your hair isn't exposed to a lot of dust and heat from the sun which causes your scalp to sweat.For an African living in a typical African country,you are faced with lots of dust and sunshine on a daily basis.I really don't think that a conditioner is cleansing enough to remove all of that dirt from your hair.It is purely my opinion based on my own
From Ghana Natural Hair community Facebook page
experience,but in such an environment washing with a sulfate free shampoo,mudwash or African black soap shampoo is more likely to remove all the dirt and sweat and still leave your hair nice and moisturised,especially if you pre-poo before washing.

2.Your lifestyle
Directly related to your lifestyle will be how much you sweat and how much time you spend outdoors.If you spend a lot of time outdoors,you get more impurities into your hair that you will need to wash out.If you exercise  a lot for example then your scalp will need to be cleaned better than someone who doesn't exercise as much.If you swim,then most definitely you will need a good shampoo or natural cleanser to remove the minerals,salt and chlorine from your hair.If you consider all these factors and you don't think co-washing will work for you,then you need to consider a good shampoo or natural cleansing product.

3.The products you use and your styling techniques
Dependent on where you live,chances are so far you haven't been using all natural products in your hair because you don't have access to them.These products,even after you wash them out,will leave some residue behind in your hair and scalp.For example,a lot of gels contain alcohol,parabens and mineral oils and all these are very good at sticking to your hair and staying on your scalp.Co-washing alone doesn't remove these products completely.After a while,you will notice your hair isn't
Photo from Black Girl Long Hair
as healthy,shiny or thick as before and doesn't stay moisturised as well as before.Your hair will also usually feel greasy or weighed down.In this case,you may have product build-up which happens when you use a lot of commercial products.In order to remove product build-up,you have to use a shampoo,mudwash or black soap.Co-washing will only make the build-up worse.

These are the 3 main reasons why co-washing wasn't on yesterday's list,especially since this blog is targeted mainly to Africans living in Africa..;).What I have personally found to help,is to alternate co-washing with shampooing.If I shampoo my hair once a week for example,I will co wash in the middle of the week or something like that,depending on if I have the time.I hope this post has helped answer a lot of concerns for you.My next post will probably be on the politics of natural hair and hair health with regards to physical exercise and water sports such as swimming.And I have a fabulous blog lined up for our next featured blog so don't forget to check back.Please subscribe,like,comment and share!
Till next time,stay blessed and fabulous!