Co-Washing: Is Un-shampoo Right for You?

LOB hair

The no shampoo or ‘co-washing’ method of caring for your hair with one all-in-one product has quickly gained popularity among busy, blowout loving women everywhere.  If you aren’t familiar, co-washing (short for conditioner washing) means cleansing your hair with one product that cleans, hydrates, and conditions in one step and it’s a total time, space and money saver! Co-washing came in to my life about a year ago after my stylist recommended it for use on my thick, curly-meets-frizzy hair. Since then, I’ve tried half a dozen conditioning shampoos and made just as many changes to my products and finally feel like I have a formula that works for my hair. If you’re thinking of trying our co-washing or making change to your current un-shampoo, I’ve got some ideas for ya!

Work it in to your routine gradually
Starting use of un-shampoos or any new shampoo can come with a lot of change. Eliminating some of the chemicals many shampoos contain from your regimen can lead to temporary oil build up and you may notice hair and scalp is oiler and needs to be washed more often. To combat this, I use regular shampoo every other wash when introducing co-shampoos. I use regular shampoo every two weeks; usually after a coconut oil treatment so I can be sure I get all the oil out. Try a clarifying shampoo every few weeks to remove the natural build up of styling products, dirt, oil and other impurities. Unwash Anti-residue Rinse is a great option and you can also use plain apple cider vinegar mixed in water to remove build up.

Try scented formulas
After making the switch, I missed the way my old shampoo smelled. Shu Uemura Color Lustre Sulfate-Free Brilliant Glaze Shampoo was my go-to and that stuff smelled like a rose garden — no joke. I still use if from time to time, but in the mean time, have found that replacing shampoo and conditioner with a fruit or floral-scented formula like Unwash Bio-cleansing conditioner makes for better smelling hair than un-scented formulas. I also like the scent of WEN in Sweet Almond Mint and the mint feels great on the scalp.

Make un-shampooing your first priority
Many of the formulas I’ve tried need to be left on the hair for 3-5 minutes. Put your un-shampoo on first and scrub/shave/exfoliate everything else while your cleanser sets in.

Is it right for you?
Co-washing will work wonders for most people, but really ideal if your hair is: curly, frizzy, color-treated, dry, thick or coarse. If you have thin hair, co-washing can leave your tresses oily and tends not to add much body.

Unwash shampoo
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Would you swap your traditional shampoo for a co-shampoo?