Dear FroBunni: Is Cowashing Bad for Natural Hair?

Friday, September 23, 2016

FroBunni | Is Cowashing Bad for Natural Hair?

Dear FroBunni, I've been cowashing my hair for a few months now, but recently read that cowashing is bad for natural hair. I looked at your regimen and noticed that you occasionally cowash, but most of the time use shampoo. Should I stop cowashing and start shampooing, or is it ok to continue cowashing?

The first thing I am going to say is if cowashing has been working for you - your scalp isn't itchy, your hair is still properly moisturized, and you're seeing no ill effects since cowashing - keep cowashing. For some naturals, cowashing is an effect way to cleanse the hair and scalp, so if it isn't broke, don't fix it. Of course, if you're seeing bad signs, then stop and switch to a different method of cleansing, such as shampooing or clay washes.

The issue with cowashing is that it doesn't always effectively remove build up from the hair and scalp, even if it's a cleansing conditioner with mild surfactants. This is a problem because build up on the scalp can cause scalp conditions like dandruff and folliculitis, as well as stunt hair growth. While build up on the hair can prevent it from being effectively moisturized, which can cause breakage.

In terms of my own regimen, I shampoo for this very reason. Cowashing caused my scalp to be very itchy and tacky, and my hair, while it felt moisturized in the shower, would dry slightly crunchy and with an odor. I realized that it wasn't effectively cleaning my hair and scalp, and switched to Kinky Curly Come Clean* for my weekly wash, and occasionally cowash when my hair is particular dry or dirty, and I don't have time for a full wash day.

This works for me, but it may not work for you. So pay attention to the health of your hair, and only make one or two product changes at a time so that if your hair begins to suffer, you know specifically what it was that caused it.

*I will probably be removing Kinky Curly Come Clean from my regimen in the near future.

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