Hair co-washing is most beneficial to consumers with long or super long hair or naturally texture or damaged strands.
#1. Using Conditioner To Wet Cleanse. This method involved getting previously detangled hair very wet, applying conditioner, from the mid-lengths of the hair to the ends and then allowing conditioner to remain on hair for a few minutes.
Conditioner is usually not applied to the roots, especially if hair tends to retain oils. Others might apply conditioner to the roots, especially if their hair is super dry, damaged (chemicals, hair color or maintenance damage).
#2. Using Conditioner As Prep For Wet Wash.
- Previously detangled hair is wet down.
- Conditioner (more often than not a rinse out type) is applied to the hair, usually from the mid-shafts to the ends. The roots may or may not be covered with conditioner depending upon a variety of factors.
- Once the conditioner is on the hair, a shampoo formulation is applied to the hair right over the conditioner. The shampoo formulation might be full strength or diluted depending upon various factors.
- After shampoo formulation is applied, it is almost immediately rinsed out.
- Hair is completely rinsed with water to make sure all pre-shampoo conditioner and condition are removed.
- Another layer of rinse-out or possibly deep conditioner is applied and left on the hair for a few minutes (depending on hair needs).
- Hair is detangled with use of fingers or hair-friendly wide tooth comb with conditioner still on hair.
- Hair is rinsed completely to remove conditioner.
Note: Some co-washers will allow a tiny amount of conditioner to remain on the hair for protection.
- A final cool/cold wash is applied to hair to close cuticle, protect hair and add natural shine. Although not all hair experts agree this is beneficial, many people still believe it is helpful.
- A leave-in conditioning cocktail is applied.
- Hair is air-dried or partially air dried and blow dried with cool/cold setting.
#3. Using Conditioner Pre-mixed With Shampoo
Some co-wash fans who have tried all the different variations might find challenges with all of the variations.
Some people who are concerned with washing only with conditioner or doing a combo conditioner/shampoo wash, might feel more comfortable with just mixing conditioner with their shampoo.
This is also another reason it is called co-wash. Simply people are comingling shampoo and conditioner and applying in one step.
#4. Pre-treating Dry Hair With Conditioners To Prep For Wet Washing
As various methods of co-washing were invented, hair consumers developed their own variations.
One popular method was to pre-treat hair with an oil or similar conditioning product before wet washing.
The pre-treatment could occur 24 hours in advance of the wet washing and might include use of oils such as jojoba, oil, coconut or similar.
Or in some cases it might involve applying a manufactured pre-treatment product to dry strands.