Have you tried ‘co-washing’ yet? The haircare trend – short for conditioner washing – involves ditching your shampoo in favour of just a conditioning product, whether you cleanse daily or more sporadically.
First coined in New York by hairstylist Lorraine Massey, who recommends it as a way to keep drier, curly locks under control, the movement has officially transitioned into the mainstream with high-profile advocates including beauty expert India Knight.
Whether you have full-on curls or a gentler wave, the technique is designed to leave textured hair smoother and more manageable, not to mention frizz-free – think somewhere between that freshly washed and second-day hair feeling.
Following similar principles to the slightly more intimidating ‘no-poo’ movement (which recommends foregoing traditional shampoos completely), co-washing aims to give hair a rest from the supposedly harsh detergents in some cleansing formulas. Brands have now got in on the action, too, creating specific co-washing cleansers, which offer mild cleansing benefits without stripping the hair of its natural oils.
Take note, though – this technique isn’t for everyone. “Co-washing is best suited to thicker, courser hair,” explains Hairstylist and SheerLuxe Beauty Panellist Sam Burnett. “It has fantastic benefits for very thick, curly hair, as it smooths and controls the curls, while adding much needed shine. Very fine, fly-away hair types should avoid it, however, as they’ll usually be looking for extra body, which co-washing would counteract.”
If you’re planning to try co-washing with a regular conditioner, be careful to stick to lightweight and volumising formulas. “I would recommend the lightest type possible – volumising ones are probably best – and remember to use only half as much as you would normally,” advises Marc Trinder, Art Team Director at Charles Worthington. “This prevents you from overloading the hair with heavy product.”
Sam Burnett also suggests taking it slow, and keeping a normal shampoo part of your routine. “Alternate between co-washing and more traditional cleansing,” he says. “Also, bear in mind it’s important to deep cleanse your hair from time to time, as this will help remove any build-up from city living and product usage.”
Fancy trying the trend? Check out our pick of the best new-gen clarifying conditioners and more lightweight, volumising formulas for smoother, super-hydrated locks...