Time needed: 15 minutes.
Ever wondered what cowashing is and how to cowash natural hair? Cowashing is a hair care method that uses conditioner instead of shampoo. First, I’ll give you a brief overview of what cowashing is and why you might want to try it. I’ll also explain the benefits of using conditioner over shampoo as well. And finally, I’ll discuss how to properly cowash your natural hair in a step-by-step tutorial format.
Cowashing is a technique that I have been exploring since transitioning into natural hair. It’s a big step to take, stepping away from your beloved shampoos. But once you do it, you’ll never go back! That’s why the exact steps to follow are so important. In this post, we will break down all of the steps to cowashing so that you can begin this process without any confusion.
Cowashing is one of the most popular natural hair routines, it is very simple to do, and it’s a great way to give your hair a much needed deep condition.
- Apply conditioner
First thing is to apply a conditioner or leave-in to your hair. You can use a cowash (which contains both conditioner and shampoo) or use two separate products.
Conditioner is great with natural hair. It’s thicker than shampoo (the watery stuff), so it will easily blend in and coat the hair strands. Also, most conditioners have a creamy, soft consistency that makes combing through your mane easy.
Your hair won’t be completely covered with the conditioner. However, you want just enough that you can work with it as you wash. Remember, the purpose of this step is to soften the hair. This will make it easier for the shampoo and water to penetrate.
If you are transitioning from using your hair’s natural oil (sebum), then you should probably start off using soft water and a light, lightweight conditioner.
I like to use a heavy moisturizing leave-in just like I would on my natural hair. I usually pick a product such as the Hair Rules Curl Hydration Lock which is especially great for co-washing.
Natural hair is like any other hair on your body. It requires the right balance of moisture, nourishment and protection to maintain its elasticity and shine. One way to keep it strong and healthy is by using a conditioning product. Some excellent conditioners for natural hair include a daily conditioner and a deep-conditioning treatment.
- Detangle your hair
Now that you have your protective style in place, you can go ahead and detangle your hair. Detangling your hair while it’s conditioner-coated makes the process less painful and “messy” when compared to detangling wet hair.
Using conditioner to detangle plays an important role in the cowashing process. It allows you to easily comb through your hair and deep condition without damaging your hair. The best part about conditioners is that they don’t have any build up so there isn’t worries of removing residue from products. Even if you aren’t worried about having residue building from products, you can still use a conditioner to detangle because it will leave your hair feeling smoother.
Natural hair care is a journey and learning to do your own natural hair care will always be the best way for you to take it. What might not be the best thing is you taking first steps with damaged hair. This is why detangling is such a crucial part of natural hair care.
If you want your hair to feel like butter when you touch it — or if it’s winter and you’d rather not have ice hands — then it’s best to get in a little bit of detangling. Detangling your hair is the act of combing your hair product through your hair so that all of the knots are out (or at least minimized).
The second step in how to cowash your natural hair involves the most important step of them all: the massage. Massaging your scalp is the key to properly removing dirt from your hair.
tart from the middle of your head and work your way outward, towards the edges, pausing a bit longer at the ends. Also spend a few extra minutes making sure you get all the milk residue out of your hairline and ear.
Although I just explained that conditioning usually takes place after washing, there are certain pre-wash methods to keep in mind for washing natural hair. Hands down, the most effective method would be massaging your scalp with your fingertips and conditioner.
You’ll have to really get your fingers in there so you can remove all the dirt. This step is not always fun because it can get super tangled in there, especially if you haven’t been co-washing lately.
After you have used the towel to get all of the conditioner out of your ends, now put your hair in fours and run your fingers from root to tip on each section before gently massaging your scalp. This will help you remove any dirt lingering from the track.
You want to make sure every strand of your hair is covered in conditioner. This step removes dirt from the shafts of your hair, and therefore promotes growth. Naturally, this is an optional step for you to add into your cowashing routine.
Massaging the conditioner into your scalp will help to remove a lot of dirt and buildup. I like to use my fingertips to simply just rub my scalp in tiny circles. This helps me relax and helps my conditioner penetrate better.
One of the biggest mistakes many people make when cowashing is not massaging the conditioner into their scalps. While doing so doesn’t necessarily improve the quality of your hair, it does benefit your scalp tremendously.
Alright, now that we have massaged our hair and scalp gently, it’s time to rinse out the conditioner.
The final step in cowashing your hair is to rinse out the conditioner. Because there isn’t any additional product used, it is important to make sure you get all of the conditioner out.
The first time you do this process, it’s wise to turn the water in the shower on as hot as you can handle it and don’t touch your scalp with the water. This will allow you to loosen up any dirt or residue that may have built up on your scalp without burning yourself.
After a few washes, you should no longer need extremely hot water because you won’t have impurities to loosen up. At this point, you can touch your scalp with the water stream, if it feels uncomfortable then it is probably not too hot.
Before rinsing out the conditioner, you can apply an extra rinse. While letting the conditioner sit, squeeze some more water into your hair, and then follow up with a very mild leave-in conditioner. This creates two rinses for detangling!
Rinsing is arguably one of the most important steps to a good wash day. The way you rinse and how long you let the conditioner sit determines what kind of hair you’re going to have on your head for the next week.