You may have grown up your whole life being taught that washing your hair means always using the standard shampoo and conditioner combination. But did you know that you don't necessarily need to do both of those steps to ensure your hair is clean? There is actually such a thing as washing your hair without shampoo and that method is called co-washing.

Co-washing is short for conditioner-only washing and it's exactly what it sounds like: you wash your hair with conditioner only instead of using shampoo. The concept is easy enough to understand but why would you want to try this out? The short answer is because co-washing can provide extra moisturization to your hair that your regular shampoo + conditioner routine can't do. Even though conditioners are designed to add moisture, a good majority of them also contain ingredients that can remove small amounts of dirt. You won't be stepping out of the shower with squeaky-clean hair but thanks to those ingredients, you'll be able to remove the right amount of dirt and oil without stripping your hair entirely of necessary moisturizing oils.

Is your hair right for co-washing? It really depends on your hair type and needs. Curly and wavy hair are naturally prone to dryness so the added moisture from co-washing can be beneficial. Unlike shampoo, conditioner won't strip pigment from your hair so people with color-treated hair can also benefit by extending the amount of time between treating sessions. On the other hand, fine or straight hair may get weighed down by the extra moisture so regular shampooing can be better suited for that hair type.

The key to making the method work for you is finding the right conditioner for the job. Regular conditioners can work well if you have thick hair as long as your avoid those with silicones. Silicones are normally washed off with shampoo but since you're skipping that step, the silicones will start to build up and weigh down your hair. You can also use conditioners specifically designed for co-washing which have a little bit of extra cleanser such as aloe vera or apple cider vinegar. These natural ingredients remove dirt from your hair without being too harsh or drying.

Regardless of the conditioner that you choose, you'll have to clarify your hair every few weeks because product and sweat buildup will occur. Fun fact: build up happens even if you always use shampoo so using a special clarifying shampoo is still important no matter what method you're using. How often you need to clarify can vary but you can start with once or twice a month and go from there. If you still notice that your hair looks dull despite clarifying twice a month, then alternate between co-washing and regular shampooing.


 Once you find your rhythm, you'll start to notice how much softer and moisturized your hair will feel compared to the classic shampoo and conditioner combo. Although the saying goes two is better than one, at least now you know that this is one condition where it might not be!

Have you tried co-washing? Tell us if it works for you @boxbeautyco