One co wash or co washing is an abbreviation of conditioner washing. It is a hair product for curls that you use when washing your hair within the CG Method. You have probably seen this term within the cg method. But what exactly is co-washing? And how often can you do it and does it suit your curls? In this article we explain everything about it! 

What is a CG Co Wash?

One co wash is a hair care product that has been around for several years. Instead of a cg shampoo, use a co wash to wash your hair. The idea behind these co washes is that you can wash your hair with mild cleaners (Cationic Surfactants). Cationic Surfactants have the power to clean, but they don't clean deeply like a CG Shampoo that does.  

At the time, a cowash was widely used by women with curly hair and/or very thick hair. Over the years and the emerging trend of using a co-wash, many different co-washes have been formulated. Due to new techniques and the use of new or different ingredients, the co-washes are currently suitable for all types of curls and textures of hair. 

A co wash is actually a 2-in-1 product. It contains the cleansers of a shampoo and caring ingredients of a conditioner. These 2 functions have therefore been brought into 1 product and this is how the cowash was created. 

How do the ingredients of a cowash work? 

If you are looking for a co wash, it is important that the formula contains a number of cleansing ingredients. This is important as otherwise the formula will not be able to cleanse your hair.  

Co Washes  are formulated with Cationic Surfactants. In other words, surfactant is an active ingredient in a hair product. A Cationic Surfactant is a cleansing agent that is extremely mild and suitable for daily use. Cationic Surfactants are therefore mild cleaners and do not foam (as you can see in the photo). They cannot be used together with Anionic (Surfactants, which are strong enough to really clean the hair and rid it of product build-up). But Cationic Surfactants are suitable for cleaning your hair, making it feel softer and nourishing your hair. In short: Cationic Surfactants are milder/weaker surfactants. They can clean but cannot completely rid your hair of build-up and dirt. Cationic Surfactants can cause build-up, so always use a cg shampoo in your routine in addition to co-washing. Anionic Surfactants are strong enough to remove build-up and dirt. 

Bron: RedCarpetCurls 

A CG Co wash is therefore a cleaning product that you can use while washing your hair. A CG Co wash is a product that you can safely use within the CG Method as long as it complies with the guidelines of the CG Method. There are many variants of a co wash available, we have included all CG variants in our collection for co washes. 

Can I also use a conditioner as a co wash?

A co-wash cannot be compared with a conditioner-only wash. This is because most conditioners do not have the cleansing effects that the cg co wash does contain. You can often also apply a cowash to the scalp, when using a conditioner we advise you to focus on the hair lengths and avoid your scalp. Most co washes on the market are made with cationic surfactants, so they really do make a co-wash rather than a conditioner. 

History of the Co Wash 

Let's go back a step. Because where does the co wash actually come from? And who invented it? Hair styling routines started (as far as is known) 4000 B.C. From the Middle Ages, external hygiene became increasingly important. Over the years, it was noted that soap could remove dirt and residue. The first liquid shampoo was created in 1927. At that time, it consisted of soap and several kinds of herbs. 

From the 1930s, the sulfates were introduced. Not much later, many people noticed that sulfates made the hair and scalp drier. The consequence? More moisture was needed for the hair. Conditioners and co-washes followed, to make the hair feel softer, add moisture and to better treat the hair. 

Will a co wash work for me?

Some curlies do not recommend using a co-wash on finer hair or a looser curl. It would be too heavy for the hair but, there are more and more co-washes that are a lot lighter. With fine hair it is therefore extra important to use a cg shampoo in your curly hair routine in addition to your cowash. So all hair types can benefit from using a co-wash. And especially hair that is extremely dry.  

A cowash is not made for regular use with the aim of really cleaning your hair thoroughly. It is a product for anyone who wants to wash their hair more often or because they want to do this more often, or in an environment where it is desirable to wash the hair more often. So using a co-wash is possible, then you will also have to use a cg shampoo regularly within your routine to properly remove build-up and dirt. 

It is not scientifically proven but, certain blogs and articles mention that co-washing has a good effect on hair breakage and restoring the balance after excessive shampooing. 

How do you use a co-wash? 

As mentioned, a co-wash is a product that you use when you wash your hair. Every brand has his or her view on the use of a product, but with a cowash we often see the same explanation for use. So, do you already have a co wash at home? In addition to our explanation, always check the label to be sure. 

Step-by-step plan for co-washing your curly hair: 
  1. Wet your hair completely in the shower with warm water
  2. Take a generous amount of the cowash in your palm
  3. Then apply this to your scalp and massage it gently
  4. Add water if necessary to distribute it even better
  5. Focus on your entire skull (including the back and sides!) These are often places that are sometimes forgotten! Bend your head to massage everything well.
  6. With one product you can also apply the co-wash over the hair lengths and with the other product only on the scalp. Check the label for this. 
  7. Then let the product absorb briefly (3-5 minutes). Always check the label again to be sure. This duration always trumps any other information that can be found. In the meantime, you can brush your hair to get rid of knots and tangles. 
  8. Does your scalp not feel clean yet? Then repeat the steps from 1 to 7. 
  9. Then rinse the co wash completely out of your hair
  10. Do you suffer from extremely dry hair? Then you could possibly use a conditioner 
  11. Then get started with your styling products 

How often do you use a co-wash?

We are happy to explain how often you use a product. We would like to emphasize to you that it is always good to keep checking your own hair and to experiment with different routines. This is our guideline regarding the use of a co-wash: 

  • Use a CG Shampoo weekly together with a conditioner or mask
  • Only use a conditioner on your 2nd wash day
  • Do you want to wash it more often? Because you often exercise or work in an environment that means you really have to wash it more often? Then you can replace the 2nd wash with a cowash. Do you want to wash it more than 2 times a week? Then use a cowash. 

You can experiment with the above guidelines and it is also very important what your own wishes are. Do you want a slightly cleaner feeling on your 2nd wash? Feel free to use a cowash or alternate it with a cowash. We think it is very important to combine a cowash with a weekly cg shampoo in addition to regular use. 

What are the benefits of cowashing?

  • It gives you a fresher feeling than washing your curls alone with a conditioner
  • A cowash provides extra moisture and hydration to the hair
  • Fewer knots and tangles after washing
  • Extra mild cleaning 

What are the disadvantages of co-washing?

  • Build up (always use a cg shampoo every week in addition to co-washing!)
  • Greasy hair with looser curl patterns and/or finer hair.
  • Itchy scalp (if you don't use cg shampoo in your routine) 
  • Too heavy for certain hair types if you don't choose the right product. 
Build up 

Because you use different products, you can suffer from build-upDue to this accumulation of certain ingredients, other caring ingredients and moisture that are in your products can no longer reach your hair. Of course you don't want that! A buildup can arise faster than you think. Signs of build up are: 

- limp/ lifeless hair
- Fluff
- No/less shine
- Itching on your scalp
- A greasy layer on your scalp
- No more getting a cast  

Want more information about build-up? For example, how do you prevent it and what can you do about it? Then read the blog: What is build-up in the CG Method?

Which CG Co wash is suitable for my curls?

As you can see above, it is very important to choose the right product with a looser curl pattern or with finer hair. When choosing the right product, more factors play a role, including your hair characteristics and not unimportantly: your own wishes.

It is important to find out what your porosity is. The porosity of your hair is about the extent to which your hair can absorb and retain moisture. 

It is also useful to know the elasticity of your hair.

The elasticity of your hair gives you an indication of how healthy it is. Take a loose hair from the hair and stretch it gently. 

And finally, we also find 1 of the important things: your texture. You should not confuse your texture with your curl pattern. We think your curl pattern is less important: your texture is a better indicator of what your hair can have. For example, do you have finer hair? Then we do not recommend products that contain all kinds of heavy butters and oils. On the other hand, you can just use a stronger hold gel with finer hair.

To return to the elasticity and porosity: based on these 2 you can determine whether you are going to get a cowash with or without protein. It's also important to look at the rest of your routine. Do you already have a lot of cg products with protein at home? And do you want to keep a good balance? Then you can safely opt for a cowash without protein. Do you use no protein at all in your routine? Then a co-wash with protein can be recommended.

Do you need a little help with this? Then you can read the blog about how to choose the right cg products† We have also posted a schedule in this blog so that you can get a good indication of whether or not you should add protein to your routine. Do you find it difficult to make this choice with a co wash? Then it is strongly recommended to start with a travel size of a co wash first. 

Top 3: Best co wash (CG) for curls

Curlsmith Co Wash

Strictly number 1 is the Curlsmith Quenching Conditioning Co Wash. This co wash has been our number 1 co wash for several months. Why? Curlsmith makes very fine hair products with top quality ingredients. After washing this co-wash conditioner you are ready for a new start. You experience fewer tangles and knots and can easily comb through your hair. This co wash contains no protein. Do you really want to try it and do you need protein? Then make sure you have a conditioner or mask with protein. 

Who is this co was for?

According to Curlsmith, this co wash is suitable for all curl types and textures. Do you have finer hair? or a looser curl pattern? Then try the travel size of this co wash from Curlsmith


 As I Am Co Wash

The As I am co wash is a bit cheaper in price than the previous As I Am co wash. The difference? The Curlsmith Co Wash is slightly more concentrated compared to the As i Am variant. The As I Am Co wash is slightly heavier than the Curlsmith variant. 

As I Am co wash

As I Am Dry And Itchy (specially for sensitive scalp)  

Do you suffer from a sensitive scalp? Then the As I Am Dry And Itchty co wash is highly recommended. This product contains Zinc Pyrithione which is good in the treatment and care of sensitive scalp, dandruff and itching. This is the only co wash in our webshop that is really aimed at the sensitive scalp. 

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