Best co-wash for 4c hair
If you have been on your natural hair journey for a while, then you are familiar with the concept of co-washing.
It’s when you wash your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. An alternative that has become very popular among women with coily hair in recent years.
Why? Because our 4c hair texture, in contrast to other curly hair types, is more prone to dryness and breakage and suffers even more when we use traditional shampoos that are known to strip hair of its natural oils.
Therefore, finding the right co-wash products is essential for maintaining healthy 4c hair. That’s why in this post, I’m sharing a list of the best co-wash for 4c hair.
What is a co-wash vs shampoo?
Conditioner washing and shampooing are two different ways to clean your natural 4c hair. While a regular shampoo is specifically designed to remove dirt, oil, and product build-up from your hair and scalp, a co-wash cleansing conditioner gently cleanses your hair without stripping it of its natural oils.
Another difference is also that many shampoos include surfactants, which are cleansing agents that help to remove dirt and oil from your hair and scalp. Co-washing conditioners, on the other hand, are made with natural ingredients that are gentle on the hair and scalp, such as natural oils and botanical extracts.
While shampooing is effective if you want to properly cleanse your hair after wearing a protective style for weeks or the use of heavy hair products, it also strips your hair of natural of natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle.
Co-washing, on the other hand, helps to add moisture and shine to your hair, while also reducing frizz and helping detangle your 4c hair.
And lastly, you could co-wash your hair every day if you want to. This is because shampooing, even if it is a really good sulfate-free shampoo can be drying to your hair, while a creamy cleansing conditioner is a much gentler method.
At the end of the day, both methods serve a purpose. And depending on your hair type and needs you will want to use these two methods interchangeably.
What is the difference between co-wash and conditioner?
I’ll be honest: the difference between co-wash and conditioner is much harder to explain than the above. Simply because many people, myself included, use their conditioners to co-wash.
But of course, as you will see later on, many brands do offer specific co-wash products. And the reason for that is that they do have some key differences.
A regular conditioner is primarily designed to moisturize and add shine to your 4c hair after it has been washed with shampoo. It contains silicones that help seal in moisture but also add to the existing buildup on your hair and scalp.
And yes, some conditioners may contain mild cleansing agents, but they are not typically designed to be used as primary cleansers. A good co-wash product, however, is formulated to thoroughly clean, moisturize, and smooth your natural 4c hair.
What products to use for co-wash?
When it comes to co-washing your 4c hair, you can choose specific co-wash products, but also products that are already part of your natural hair care routine, such as:
- Deep Conditioners: If your hair is particularly dry or damaged, you can use a deep conditioner. These are designed to penetrate your hair and provide intense moisture and nourishment, which strengthens and repairs your hair. When used as a co-wash, I usually just leave it in for 10 minutes before rinsing it out.
- Moisturizing Conditioners: The most essential function of a good co-washing product is that it needs to be moisturizing to ensure that your hair stays hydrated. That’s why I try to look for conditioners that contain mineral oils such as olive oil, avocado oil, or argan oil, which can help to nourish and strengthen your natural hair.
- Co-wash Cleansers: As mentioned above, many natural hair care brands now offer specialized co-wash cleansers that are formulated specifically for co-washing. Their lightweight formula removes product residue, without robbing your hair of natural oils and simultaneously nourishes your hair, and promotes healthy growth.
In conclusion, you can use different products to co-wash your 4c hair. But for best results, you want to opt for products specifically formulated for it.
Best co-wash for 4c hair
Now let’s get to the meat of this post. I researched and reviewed a few of the best co-wash conditioners for 4c hair and can honestly say the best co-wash for 4c hair is the As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner. This co-wash is a fan favorite and has received rave reviews from thousands of customers on Amazon. Which made me buy it and I agree.
But of course, your hair may be different from mine. So I do want to share, not just one, but five of the best cleansing conditioners on the market.
Each of them has key ingredients that benefit natural 4c hair in different ways, which will lead to healthier hair and in many cases increased length retention too.
1. As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner
As I was saying above, the As I Am Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner is probably the most reviewed and loved co-wash product out at the moment. It combines the cleansing power of a shampoo with the conditioning benefits of a lightweight conditioner.
This means it perfectly cleans and conditions your 4c hair without stripping it of its oils.
It includes natural ingredients such as coconut oil, castor oil, and tangerine peel extract, which nourish and hydrate your hair. Of course, it is also free from harsh chemicals such as sulfates, silicones, and parabens, which can be damaging.
The As I Am Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner is a popular choice for good reason, and definitely worth a try on your next wash day.
2. Gold Series from Pantene Sulfate-Free Deep Hydrating Co-Wash
Now I know that Pantene does not scream “natural”. But hear me out. The brand has put a lot of effort and money into figuring out black hair in recent years. And came up with a whole series of hair care series of products specifically formulated to help restore and revitalize natural, curly, and coily hair.
This co-wash included!
The Gold Series from Pantene Sulfate-Free Deep Hydrating Co-Wash is designed to provide deep hydration and nourishment to natural hair, while gently cleaning your hair. It also can be used as a regular cleanser, replacing your favorite shampoo, or as a conditioning treatment.
It’s a great choice if you want an effective sulfate-free formula that is available in most grocery stores.
3. Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Sulfate Free Cleansing Conditioner
The next best co-wash product for 4c hair is from a well-known natural hair brand – Carol’s Daughter. This cleansing conditioner is part of their Hair Milk line of hair care products, which deeply moisturizes and improves softness.
Its ingredients, such as agave nectar, cocoa butter, and shea butter, don’t only strengthen your kinky hair but also help detangle it.
And because the Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Sulfate Free Cleansing Conditioner is sulfate free and paraben free, it will leave your curly hair beautifully soft and manageable after using it.
4. The CURLSMITH Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash
The CURLSMITH Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash is a sulfate-free, co-washing formula that doesn’t just clean and condition your natural 4c hair but also defines your curls.
All of that with one single step and one single product.
It includes some of the best oils for 4c hair, like avocado oil and coconut oil as well as aloe vera. All those together enrich your hair with vitamins, antioxidants, and a lot of moisture. Which is what you need if you desire healthy hair growth.
5. The Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Moisture Co-Wash
Lastly, we have the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Moisture Co-Wash. A lightweight co-wash product that is full of organic ingredients, such as coconut oil, silk protein, and neem oil.
While the coconut oil hydrates and protects your hair from breakage the neem oil, helps to control frizz and adds shine, and the silk protein ensures a smooth and soft feel. Something you want when only using one product.
As always SheMoisture is a safe choice but will get you the best results on softer hair in my opinion.
These five co-washes are all excellent options if you ask me. However, always remember that you have to listen to your hair and scalp to find what works for you.
So, observe your hair whenever you try out new products, to make sure that it is benefiting you.
How often should you co-wash?
The amount of time you should co-wash your natural 4c hair depends on different factors, such as your hair texture, scalp condition, and styling routine.
For example, if you have dry hair, you may want to co-wash your hair twice a week to keep it moisturized and prevent split ends. On the other hand, if you have oily hair, you may only need to co-wash once a week to prevent your scalp from becoming too greasy.
Similarly, if your scalp’s natural oils tend to produce quickly and you experience a lot of product buildup, you may need to co-wash less frequently, but increase your shampoo days to help keep your scalp clean and healthy.
What happens if you only co-wash?
If you only co-wash and don’t use shampoo, your natural hair and scalp begin to accumulate buildup from styling products, sweat, and environmental pollutants. Which can lead to scalp irritation and flaking.
While a co-wash is a gentle cleanser that can add moisture and shine to your 4c hair, it’s important to remember that it is not sufficient on its own to fully clean your hair and scalp from dirt and product residue.
Therefore it’s important to implement a co-washing process into your natural 4c hair routine while continuing to use a clarifying shampoo whenever necessary. That will help prevent buildup and maintain healthy hair and a healthy scalp.