Co-washing is the surprising tip that'll replace your shampoo. And it's perfect for curly hair.

For as long as we can remember, we've been taught to wash our hair with shampoo and conditioner. Shampoo to clean, followed by a conditioner to hydrate. And never, ever, skip the shampoo.

However, a new(ish) technique, favoured by those with naturally curly hair, insists otherwise. Maeva Heim, the founder of Bread Beauty Supply, spoke to Mamamia's daily beauty podcast, You Beauty, to discuss everything you need to know about co-washing, and we took notes. 

Read on as we delve into the technique and debunk whether you should ditch shampoo altogether.

What exactly is co-washing?

"In its simplest terms, co-washing is washing your hair with conditioner. So, the co in co-washing stands for conditioner," Maeva shared.

Otherwise known as "no-poo" (no shampoo) the technique cleanses the scalp like a shampoo does, without stripping moisture. The aim is to help your hair keep its body, bounce and definition, whilst also making it softer and easier to manage. 

Watch: Five ways to lift your hair game. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

What hair types benefit from co-washing?

Most typically, co-washing benefits curly or textured hair types. As both are more prone to dryness (because the sebum our scalp produces struggles to run down curly hair as easily as it does with straight hair), co-washing is a great way to clean the hair while maintaining moisture.

"People are turning to co-washing because it's not as harsh as using shampoo," Maeva said. "And people with curly or afro-textured [hair] turn to co-washing because it's not going to dry their hair out."

However, the technique isn't limited to those hair types.

"Co-washing can be tried by all," Maeva said, before explaining that those with oily hair might actually benefit from co-washing too.


"People with oily hair tend to steer away from co-washing because they like the feeling of clean [hair], but there is a theory that like attracts like and oil attracts oil," she said.

"So, if you have oily hair, co-washing might actually work for you because you're not over-stripping your hair."

What are the best products for co-washing?

While the method started with women using whatever conditioner they owned, brands are now making specific products designed for co-washing, which delivers better results.

Here are our favourite options:

Aveda Be Curly CoWash, $39.

Image: Adore Beauty.

evo heads will roll co-wash, $40.

Image: Adore Beauty.


Bread Hair-Wash, $20.

Image: Bread Beauty Supply.

Exactly how to co-wash.

As Maeva explains, there's a bit of a transition period going from shampoo and conditioner to co-washing - so don't throw out your shampoo just yet.

"I would begin your routine with a really thorough cleanse," she shared. "Before you go straight in with the co-wash you need to deep clean with a clarifying or chelating shampoo (which removes all the mineral buildup)."

After you've done that, you'll want to follow these steps.

1. Drench your hair.

2. Dole out your conditioner - just enough so that it coats your hair. 


3. Apply the product to your hair, concentrating on your scalp. Use one hand to rub your scalp with the pads of your fingers and the other to hold the end of your hair so it's not being vigorously rubbed around. Then glide the product down the ends of your hair.

4. Rinse it out thoroughly.

5. Dry your hair with a soft material such as cotton (avoid your bath towel if you can, as it's too abrasive).

When it comes to how often you co-wash, that's completely up to you. If you like washing your hair every few days or once a week that's fine, but Maeva suggests not co-washing too much.

"You can absolutely overdo it, she said. "You don't want to be co-washing your hair every day."

"Make sure to use a clarifying shampoo every now and then so you're not getting an overload of conditioner," she added.

Listen to the full You Beauty episode with Maeva Heim here. 

Have you tried co-washing? What did you think? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Feature image: Getty.

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