When to co-wash and when not to

Thursday, 3 March 2016

how to co wash

Adding co-washing to your hair cleansing regime can help soften and strengthen your hair.

Betito Ebengo, Head Stylist at ORS South Africa (formerly Organic Root Stimulator) recommends a weekly co-wash for your natural or chemically treated hair.


What’s co-washing?

A co-wash is when you use only conditioner to cleanse and condition your hair at the same time.

Who should co-wash?

People with excessive dry hair and scalp may benefit greatly from co-washing because shampooing on a weekly basis can strip the hair of natural oils thus leaving the hair extra dry and susceptible to breakage. It is recommended to co-wash dry hair every other week whilst maintaining a shampoo-and-condition regime in the week in-between.


How to co-wash

  1. Create a solution using shampoo, conditioner and lukewarm water

Although specific co-wash products are available any conditioner can be used.

Various co-wash techniques exist, Betito recommends creating a solution in one of two ways when using a normal conditioner: mix your conditioner with lukewarm water to dilute it slightly; or mix one-third shampoo with two-thirds conditioner.

If you use a specific co-wash product there is no need to create a solution because it already includes cleansing properties.


  1. How to apply the solution

– After wetting your hair thoroughly part it into four sections, as you would for relaxing.

– Start applying the co-wash solution from the middle of your head and work your way to the back, front and sides.

– Gently massage the solution into the hair and scalp with your fingertips, not your nails.

– Keep the solution on your hair for three to five minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water.

– You can now detangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb, towel-dry and style as usual.


When NOT to co-wash

There are however instances where co-washing is not recommended. If you suffer from weak, over-processed hair or extremely oily scalp, co-washing is not for you. It should also not be used if you have dandruff.

Co-washing should never be the only cleansing regime because it does not effectively remove product build-up on the hair and scalp which is why it is recommended to alternate between a shampoo (cleansing) one week and co-washing the next.

Ultimately, including a co-wash into your maintenance regime adds moisture to the hair, detangles, softens, strengthens and nourishes your hair. Co-washing will result in lubricating your hair and scalp leaving hair elastic and thus preventing breakage.


For more information on co-washing, watch this video:

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  1. Waseelah Davids

    I’ve only used ORS mayonnaise to deep condition my hair and simply love it. It leaves your hair so soft and manageable.

    2 years ago •

  1. Buyisiwe Tshabalala

    Haven’t tried ORS products yet but great article. My hair is extremely coily and shrinks to about 90% of its length when blowdried. Products with a lot of moisture make it shrink even more!

    2 years ago •

  1. Siyanda Marrengane

    I have been meaning to try this out on my hair, but was not sure how to approach it, now I know.

    2 years ago •

  1. Jane Zuze

    Can i co-wash my hair if it’s plaited cornrows?

    2 years ago •

  1. foreverGLAM

    I still prefer to use shampoo and then conditioner. This will not work for me because of my work environment. However, I do think this routine is good for someone who works in the office and not outdoors.

    2 years ago •

  1. Nixxi

    Wow definitely worth a try, great read :)

    2 years ago •

  1. Njitie

    I love this for my hair. It leaves it feeling really soft because of the conditioner. LOVE!

    2 years ago •

  1. Linell Nyakutsikwa

    will give it a try on my dreadlocks…i love ORS Products

    2 years ago •


    I’m gona try this out and see what happens.

    2 years ago •

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