In this article, we feature the top 10 best co-wash shampoos you can purchase online.
For many curly or kinky-haired women across the world, co-washing is one of the foundational parts of their hair care routine. However, some women with naturally wavy or kinky hair that have trouble with styling aren’t even aware of what co-washing is, or what it can do to simplify your routine. Also called “no-poo,” co-washing is a technique that employs a creamy cleansing conditioner to eliminate buildup and dirt on the hair while hydrating the scalp and maintaining your hair’s natural moisture.
Many people may not realize that curly or kinky hair needs far more moisture than straight hair. When curly hair is cleansed with traditional shampoo, the natural oils of the hair can be completely stripped away, leaving your with dry, brittle tresses. When this happens, you’re much more likely to experience breakage and frizz. Frizziness comes from a lack of moisture, so co-washing will be even more effective if you have unusually frizzy hair. Unlike a traditional shampoo, a co-wash uses cleansing oils to break down your natural oils, so your hair remains moisturized while still eliminating buildup from “greasy” hair.
Co-washing requires a bit of a different technique than traditional shampooing, though. Unlike regular shampoo, a co-wash takes about a minute of full scalp massage to thoroughly clean and moisturize the scalp. Also, you’ll need to spend another full minute rinsing the cream out of your hair. This is because a co-wash is typically very thick and creamy, and if any is left on the scalp, it can result in greasy hair the following day. For many women, it takes a few weeks or a few rotations to get the hair used to the co-washing process. However, it’s very much worth the body, smoothness, and hydration in the end! If you’re curious about what co-wash you should buy, keep reading to see our top ten picks.
1. Anti-Residue Hair Cleanse – by Unwash
Described as a “reset button” for your hair and scalp, this anti-residue cleanse by Unwash is designed to be used once weekly as a deep cleanser for your hair. The cleanser is mild enough to be used weekly but harsh enough to get rid of any buildup of product or oil. Unwash’s cleanser contains no sulfates or parabens, combining its natural ingredients alongside coconut oil to nourish and protect the hair. The company recommends thoroughly wetting your hair and evenly saturating with the cleanser from root to end, using a quarter-sized amount for short hair and up to three times more for long hair. To eliminate as much buildup as possible, focus on massaging the product into areas where there is excess dirt.
2. Moisturizing Co-Wash – by Head and Shoulders
This co-wash has been developed for black hair by black scientists and designed to relieve the scalp whether your hair is kinky, coily, or relaxed. Head and Shoulders created this product to maintain your natural scalp moisture, formulated with the industry-standard ingredients of the brand. With this co-wash, your hair is gently cleaned while the scalp is relieved of dryness and itch. You’re left with a refreshing coconut scent designed to linger long after your wash. Free of sulfates, parabens, and dyes, this product doesn’t contain any of the toxic ingredients known to harm hair.
3. Clenditioner Hair Cleanser – by Keracolor
This cleanser by Keracolor is designed to act as a two-in-one product, completely replacing both your regular shampoo and conditioner. It’s a non-lathering cleanser formulated for color-treated hair, locking in color to prevent fading and leaving your hair with a silky shine. Also, the cleanser neutralizes many of the minerals found in hard water, one of the many causes of hair discoloration and fading. The company suggests applying the shampoo to completely dry hair, using fingers to work the product through until it is saturated. According to many customer reviews, the best results are achieved by then rinsing off the conditioner and washing hands.
4. Coconut Cleansing Conditioner Set – by As I Am
This set from As I Am comes with an eight-ounce leave-in conditioner and a 16-ounce coconut co-wash cleansing conditioner. The co-wash cleansing conditioner is designed to gently cleanse the hair and scalp, eliminating product and oil buildup and making detangling easy. The leave-in conditioner is designed to be used following the co-wash as the first step in your styling process. Using the leave-in conditioner will leave your hair shinier, softer, and easier to manage and style. In addition to cleansing your hair, these products act as a strengthening agent, protecting your hair and promoting healthy growth.
5. Lavender Mint Moisturizing Cowash – by Tea Tree
Born out of the Paul Mitchell hair care family, Tea Tree is a botanical hair brand that uses only premiere industry-standard ingredients. This co-wash is a creamy, non-lathering formula designed specifically to nourish coarse, curly hair. Nicknamed the “cure” for dry hair, this product by Tea Tree aims to gently cleanse the scalp while also adding vital moisture back to the hair using various natural oils. In addition to cleaning the scalp, the main goals of this co-wash are to fight frizziness and enhance shine. The company recommends alternating this product every other week alongside the Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo for best results.
6. Coconut Mint Cowash – by Renpure
Renpure aims to eliminate the damage to hair caused by the friction that occurs during shampooing. Instead, they advise you use their soothing coconut mint co-wash, which contains coconut oil and mint. Gentle coconut-based cleansing agents eliminate buildup from the scalp and hair, removing impurities and leaving the hair silky soft. This co-wash also contains proteins and essential amino acids, which help to repair the damage done to your hair by shampooing or heat styling. The product is safe for colored hair and is free from sulfates, parabens, dyes, or gluten. It’s also not tested on animals, meaning you can trust that your money is invested in cruelty-free practices.
7. Moisture Protect Cleansing Conditioner – by Pura D’Or
This cleansing conditioner by Pura D’Or is designed to remove all residue from the scalp and clean hair from the inside out. In addition to eliminating residue, the cleansing conditioner nourishes and fights frizziness and detangles hair, making it easier to brush and style later. Another main aim of the product is to increase manageability, leaving your hair silky smooth and taming flyaways. The company recommends using this cleansing conditioner following a shampoo regimen and leaving it on the scalp for two minutes before thoroughly rinsing hair. Pura D’Or also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee with their products and will provide a full refund if you don’t get your desired results.
8. Complete Conditioning Co-Wash – by Cantu
Cantu is a well-known brand across the hair industry that’s been trusted with natural hair care for decades. Their complete conditioning co-wash is designed to detangle and condition hair, making it easier to comb through or style later without pulling or tugging. This product works for all types of hair across the curl spectrum and can be used on both wet and dry hair. In addition to conditioning, this product also helps prevent breakage, keeping your ends from becoming split.
9. No-Poo Decadence Milk Cleanser – by DevaCurl
This award-winning product by DevaCurl is one of their number one bestsellers and is essential for curly hair types. It’s a zero-lathering and ultra-moisturizing formula, meaning it won’t foam up and is gentle enough for daily use on curly hair. The method of this co-wash is incredibly soothing, made with natural ingredients like chufa milk and quinoa protein. Using this product will eliminate frizz by nourishing the scalp, leaving your hair silky smooth and free of flyaways and product buildup. All of DevaCurl’s products are 100% free of sulfates, parabens, and silicone, so you can be sure you aren’t putting any toxic ingredients in your hair.
10. Conditioning Cleansing Co-Wash – by Mixed Chicks
This co-wash by Mixed Chicks is very low lather and incredibly creamy, working to eliminate scalp and hair buildup while maintaining necessary moisture. In addition to cleaning and hydrating, this co-wash also aims to detangle hair, leaving it shiny, smooth, and easy to style. The product contains jojoba, castor, and coconut oils designed to deliver essential nutrients to the scalp and hair fibers. The company recommends using this co-wash in regular intervals with a cleansing shampoo, ideally between shampoos, to spare the hair of any natural oil loss. Mixed Chicks is a brand pioneering a multiracial movement, and their curl products are designed to work for women of any race!
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By BCR Staff