The Co-Wash Queen: Choosing the Right Conditioners for You

Ever since I discovered co-washing (washing your hair with conditioner) its effectiveness has been debated amongst naturals. I think it’s great because it allows you to retain as much moisture in your hair as possible while cleansing.

Many naturals are skeptical because they don’t believe hair can be cleansed using only conditioner. However, because conditioners contain cleansing properties you can cleanse your hair with only conditioner, which many  are unaware of. Some conditioners are even formulated specifically for purifying (cleansing) AND conditioning the hair (see, video above for my favorite purifying conditioner). While I love co-washing I do shampoo my hair every few weeks, especially when my hair has product buildup or my scalp is really itchy (which it has been the past few weeks because I’m doing the Castor Oil Challenge).

My Current Conditioning Staples:
Cleanser: Carol’s Daughter Rosemary Mint Purifying Conditioner
Detangling/Conditioning: Tresmme Naturals Conditioner
Leave-In: Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia
Deep: Karen’s Body Beautiful Luscious Locks Hair Mask
Styling: Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Conditioning Milk

Below is a chart from Essence magazine I re-created for those of you who don’t have the issue. If you’re looking for new conditioners, it may guide you in what to look for.








Instant restorer of your hair’s PH balance, which goes out of sync after shampooing with sulfate-based cleansers. Smooths cuticle layers, seals in moisture and protects against dryers and irons. Liberator of hair’s natural sheen, oils penetrate cuticles faster to deliver instant moisture and shine. Savior of fragile, breaking strands. Also the BFFs for chemically processed hair, they deliver what it needs at a more intense level.


Normal, dry, brittle and damaged hair types. Natural and relaxed hair from normal to dry, or brittle and damaged. Dry, dull and/or chemically processed hair. Damaged, dry and relaxed or colored hair.


Two-in-one shampoo conditioner systems for normal and fine hair; hydrating for dry hair and keratin for damaged. Lightweight and liquid formulas for fine hair and locs; creamy for medium and thick/coarse hair and naturals; use silicones if heat styling. Essential oils like jojoba, sage or lavender; they have strong healing properties. Shea, coconut, olive, Moroccan or Argan oils also provide protection. Moisture or protein formulas, based on what your hair craves. For example, just relaxed hair needs moisture, but brittle breaking hair needs protein.


After shampooing. Let sit for 5 minutes mad. Or use instead of shampoo, after gym or between salon visits, to cleanse and moisturize hair. Hair is wet, right after you’ve shampooed (and used a rinse-out) to “lock-in” natural textures, or before blowing hair dry. Hair has lost luster or is extremely dry, and when it’s most porous right after a relaxer or coloring. Loc wearers should add hot oil treatments for best penetration. Hair is overprocessed; after removing braids, weaves or a lace-front wig; or if hair’s been damaged by a health related problem.

*Essence: Special Issue – Hot Hair Fall 2011, “The Right Conditioners” pgs. 101-102

As always, if you have questions about technique, tools or products please feel free to email me at Thank you for reading!

Do you have a favorite conditioner? Is it a staple? How long have you been using it? Please share below.


15 responses to “The Co-Wash Queen: Choosing the Right Conditioners for You

  1. This is a really great list, funny I did something very similar on my blog for deep conditioners, I really seem to love tables! lol!

  2. It’s been almost two months since I’ve only been cowashing and I like it. I’ll probably shampoo if my hair feels “dirty.” But so far, I’m loving just cowashing, may hair feels so much better and no longer stripped!

  3. I wanted to let you know I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger award! My post will be up tomorrow.

    • Thank you so much! I went to your blog and I tried to comment but I couldn’t for some reason. Another young lady nominated me, too. I’m excited to write my response.

  4. Pingback: It’s Been A While « Nail Enthusiast

  5. How did I miss this?!?! I usually co-wash a few times a week and only use my Terressentials to do a good deep clean about once a month. Or if I’ve been watching too many dang YT videos and have too much crap in my hair then I may wash then as well…hahaha. And I just love your hair in this video!

  6. Do you think a hair steamer is essential to keep hair deeply conditioned in the winter. I don’t have a hood dryer either, but I would like to purchase something to help with intense conditioning and moisturizing. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a steamer if a hood dryer is sufficient. Please share your thoughts. thank you!

    • Hi! No, you don’t need a hair steamer to deep condition. While a steamer is on my Wish List, right now I use a Hair Therapy Wrap. I wrote a post on it (you can read it here It is amazing and it’s around $20. Let me know if you decide to give it a try! And, thank you for reading.

      • I think a Hair Therapy Wrap would be a good start for me. The price is good and from the reviews, it seems those who use it really like it. I’m curious though whether the gel packs ‘expire’, do they have to be replaced after sometime or they can be used ‘forever’? Thank you for the quick reply. I hope your wish comes true and you get that steamer 🙂

      • I’ve had mine abt 3 or 4 us now, I use it once a month and it still works perfect. And, I heard the newer ones are even better. You should def post your pics, esp if it will keep you motivated! 🙂

  7. I used to cowash back when I first went natural but I never really like it. It just didn’t really feel like I was cleaning my hair. I don’t know maybe I will try it again now that my hair is longer. First gotta get rid of these bad ends so I can really see if cowashing helps.
    nice post.

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