All About Co-washing And How To Do It On Relaxed Hair

When it comes to the relaxed hair and healthy hair communities there are a lot of terms and words that are tossed out and used but aren’t always explained.

I’ve talked about a few of them before either on my blog or YouTube channel including the one this blog post is all about - co-washing.

I talked about co-washing before in a blog post from a few years ago where I shared how to get started with it. I have to admit that the blog post was lacking in some information and I was still new to co-washing so there was a lot I hadn’t experienced yet.

Now that I’ve been co-washing off and on for a few years I decided to write a brand new post to share my current experience and take on co-washing relaxed hair.

All about cowashing relaxed hair | A Relaxed Gal

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First things first, let’s define what co-washing is.

Co-washing is the act of washing or cleansing your scalp and hair with a conditioner instead of a shampoo.

The conditioner that is used can either be a moisturizing rinse-out conditioner or a cleansing conditioner that is specifically made for co-washing.

Now, why would someone wash their hair and scalp with conditioner instead of shampoo?

I used to co-wash my hair a lot in the past and still do it occasionally, so I have my reasons for doing it that I’m going to share but I also did a bit of research online to see what others were saying was their reason for co-washing. The top reason I found seems to be dry hair.

If you have dry hair washing it can make it drier. Even if you use a sulfate-free moisturizing shampoo. Substituting shampooing with co-washing can give your scalp and hair a nice cleansing without stripping your dry hair of its much needed moisture.

Another reason people tend to co-wash is they need to wash their hair multiple times a week. This is currently my main reason for co-washing. When I work out multiple days a week I’m sweating a lot and my scalp and hair start to feel icky. I don’t want to shampoo twice a week which could do more damage than good.

Overall co-washing can benefit colored hair, relaxed hair, or hair that tends to be dry because constantly washing with shampoo can dry out the scalp and hair leading to breakage and frizz. Things we do not want.

Now while co-washing can be beneficial it shouldn’t replace shampoo altogether. Why? Because co-washing doesn’t get rid of all of the product buildup that is created from using heavy creams, butters, heavy oils, or silicones. This can be a problem because not getting rid of product buildup can weigh down our hair and keep our hair from getting much needed moisture.

When co-washing was a regular part of my hair regimen, I would alternate co-washing and shampooing by co-washing once a month, or every other week. Now I just do it as needed as I prefer to shampoo my hair due to the types of products I use to moisturize and seal throughout the week.

What are some good conditioners to use for co-washing?
  • In the past, I’ve used the Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Cleansing Cowash. Full transparency I liked this cleansing conditioner for a while but the last time I used it a couple of years ago it made my scalp itch which is why I don’t use it anymore.
  • A rinse-out conditioner that seems to be really popular in the relaxed hair community for co-washing is the Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner. I haven’t used it but have seen many positive reviews from relaxed hair influencers who have different types of hair.

Now once you have figured out what you want to use to co-wash how do you apply it? Here’s what I do
  • I start by saturating my hair and scalp thoroughly with warm water.
  • Next, I apply the cleansing conditioner to my scalp and massage it in starting with the edges of my scalp and working my way inwards.
  • After massaging it into my scalp I apply the cleansing conditioner to my hair strands starting near my scalp and working it down my strands.
  • Once I’ve applied it to my hair strands I rinse out the cleansing conditioner so no trace is left and repeat if needed.


  1. So you just use the conditioner on wash day? Do you still pre-poo? I apologize if these seem like dumb questions. Thanx in advance.

    1. I would still pre-poo if my hair felt like it needed a lot of moisture. I would also deep condition. I always deep condition my hair no matter what type of cleanser I use.


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