How to co-wash 4c hair
Today I’m back with a topic that I just learned about myself. As you already know, this website was inspired by my own 4c hair journey. Since my big chop in February 2020, I have been obsessed with figuring out how to grow my natural 4c hair.
So, whenever I learn something new – guess what – I share it with y’all. And today I want to discuss co-washing 4c hair.
Do you believe that I did not know about co-washing until recently? All my mother taught me was to wash my hair as rarely as possible and when I do to use shampoo. LOL.
So you can imagine how excited and frustrated I was when I heard about this option. So today, I figured I’d share how to co-wash 4c hair.
What is co-washing?
Co-washing, short for “conditioner washing”, is a method of washing your hair using only conditioner instead of traditional shampoo. The idea behind co-washing is to limit the use of shampoo, which can strip your natural 4c hair of its natural oils.
By doing so, you prevent dryness and breakage and allow your hair to maintain its natural moisture levels which increases growth and strength.
Co-washing can be especially beneficial for women with 4c hair because our hair texture tends to suffer from dryness.
Is co-washing good for 4c hair?
Yes, co-washing can be very beneficial for 4c hair. As I briefly mentioned above, co-washing is much milder on 4c hair and leaves it smoother and shinier than a shampoo-wash.
Because it helps retain moisture, it leads to healthier and more manageable hair.
In addition, most conditioners and co-washing products contain natural oils like coconut oil or olive oil. These ingredients help hydrate and strengthen your 4c hair, which improves the health and vitality of your scalp and hair, and restores its natural shine and body.
How do you co-wash your 4c hair step-by-step?
Now, let’s get to the most important part of this blog post. The instructions on how to co-wash your 4c hair.
While I have only done it a few times, since finding out about it, I have loved the results. Here is how I co-wash my 4c hair step by step:
1. Wet your hair thoroughly
The first step in the co-washing process is to wet your natural 4c hair thoroughly with warm water. It’s totally up to you, whether you co-wash your hair while in the shower or do it over a sink. Just make sure your hair is completely saturated from the roots to the ends.
2. Apply your co-washing product
Next, you want to apply a generous amount of the co-washing product to your hair. Focus especially on your scalp. You can even give yourself a nice little scalp massage to work the product in and thoroughly clean your scalp. Simply create circular motions with your fingers to stimulate your scalp and increase blood circulation.
3. Detangle your hair
While the conditioner is still in, use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to gently detangle your natural hair. Carefully start at the ends and work your way up to the roots in order to avoid pulling or tugging on your hair. Once your hair is detangled, you can opt to cover your hair with a shower cap and let the conditioner sit for 5-10 minutes to enhance the treatment.
4. Rinse your hair
Finally, rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water and make sure to remove all the cleansing conditioner. Use your fingers to help massage the conditioner out of your hair and ensure it’s completely rinsed clean.
5. Moisturize and style your hair
Once clean, proceed with your hair care routine by adding a leave-in conditioner and oil to moisturize your natural hair. This is also the best time to move forward with styling your hair in case you are wearing it in a protective style.
As you can see, co-washing 4c hair is very straightforward and includes fewer steps than the usual wash day routine. Which is why it’s such a great alternative.
How often should you co-wash 4c hair?
How often you should co-wash your 4c hair depends on your hair needs and lifestyle. In my case, I found that co-washing my 4c hair every other week works best for me. I alternate between regular hair wash weeks and co-wash weeks.
This helps keep my 4c hair clean, healthy, and hydrated in between shampoo washes. However, conditioner washing is not a substitute for shampooing your hair entirely.
This is especially important when you use a lot of styling products that include buildable ingredients, such as petroleum or silicone.
Whenever you use products containing these ingredients you will need to shampoo-wash your hair to avoid product buildup and give your natural hair the moisture and nourishment it needs.
So pay attention to your hair’s needs and adjust your co-washing routine accordingly. You may find that you need to co-wash more frequently in the summer months or after intense workouts, or when you are wearing your hair in protective styles.
What products to use for co-washing 4c hair?
Now, here is where a lot of confusion comes in for me. Do you have to use a co-washing product or can you simply utilize a conditioner of your choice?
The answer is: It’s up to you.
If you decide to stick to using a regular conditioner, you want to make sure that it includes natural cleansing ingredients, such as peppermint, lavender, or even apple cider vinegar in its mixture.
This will ensure that your conditioner can rinse away any impurities while deeply moisturizing and detangling your natural hair.
Should you decide to use a co-wash product on the other hand, then my detailed list of the best co-wash for 4c hair will help you choose a good one.
What is the best co-wash for 4c hair?
As I mention in this post, the best co-wash for 4c hair in my opinion is the As I Am Coconut CoWash. This co-wash is free of harsh sulfates and alcohols, which can be drying to your natural hair, but still thoroughly cleanses it.
It is formulated with natural ingredients like coconut oil, castor oil, and tangerine extract which will moisturize and nourish your 4c hair.
When not to co-wash 4c hair?
While co-washing offers a lot of benefits for most 4c hair Naturalistas, it is not for everybody.
If you have a finer hair texture, then co-washing may not be the best option for you, because your hair is more prone to build up.
Therefore, a co-wash alone will not cleanse your 4c hair properly and only layer more product on your scalp, which can clog up your hair follicles and therefore stunt your natural hair growth.
You also don’t want to co-wash your hair if you use a lot of styling products to create 4c hairstyles, because you will not get the best results. To get the best definition out of your curls and coils, styling products need to be applied to a clean scalp and hair.
If not, the product won’t interact properly with your hair and look a hot mess.