A Newbie’s Guide To ‘Co-Wash’ And ‘No Poo’

Find out if either of these trends are suitable for your hair type.
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While not exactly a new trend, the ‘co-wash’ and ‘no poo’ movements have always invited skepticism. What do these terms mean? Should you give them a try? What are the benefits? We hear you. Sheryl Chai, the founder of hair supplement Caremesphere, answers these questions and more.

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HW: What is co-wash?

Sheryl Chai (SC): Co-wash is short for ‘conditioner-only washing’, which means skipping shampoo and washing your hair solely with conditioner. Often, shampoos contain cleaning agents that help to clean our hair thoroughly, but that can also strip the natural oils and moisture from our hair, leaving our mane frizzier and more prone to breakage.

HW: Does it work on all hair types?

SC: Co-wash is typically more beneficial to those with curly, coarse and brittle hair. I would advise people with straight locks to stay away from this practice, as the natural oils encase straight hair easily. Hence, co-washing will make it oilier and less voluminous.

HW: Will any conditioner do? 

SC: It’s not just about skipping shampoo; it’s also about getting the right type of conditioner. Make sure the conditioner is free from preservatives such as paraben and silicone, or just look for conditioners specially formulated for co-wash if you have really fine hair.

Alternatively, if you have an oily scalp or dandruff, try a scalp scrub instead. It’s also beneficial for normal hair. Use it on a weekly basis to purify and clean off shampoo and conditioner residue.

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