Shampoo Or Cowash Natural Hair: Which Is Better?

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So many naturals have questions about these two products. What is a cowash? Is is something I really need to use or purchase? Now that I am natural, does this mean I must give up shampoo? If not, which shampoos are best for natural hair? What’s eve the DIFFERENCE between the two products? We will try our best to answer these questions and many more. 

What is Co-Washing?

I’ve discussed when to use either but that was really for veteran naturals and not for the newly natural just trying to figure this natural hair thang. Here’s a straightforward version on what shampoo and cowash (cleansing conditioners) are, and what both can offer for great for natural hair.

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We’re pretty sure that you are familiar with shampoo. You’ve probably used shampoo your entire life, but do you really know what shampoo is all about. Shampoos are designed to clean the hair by ridding it of all oil, dirt and build-up. In order to do this, many commercial shampoos contain detergents and cleaning agents, such as sodium laureth sulfate. These agents are very harsh and drying, especially to kinky, curly textured hair and as a result, many naturals have ditched them. 

Not ready to ditch the shampoo? Try one of these popular shampoos for natural hair:

Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo

Creme of Nature Moisture & Shine Shampoo with Argan Oil

Organix Shampoo, Nourishing Coconut Milk

Cantu Shea Butter Sulfate Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo

Shampoos will still have a place in your haircare regimen even if you cowash more often like clarifying shampoos, sulfate-free shampoos or moisturizing shampoos. Here’s a list of my favorite:

Clarifying shampoo: Design Essentials® Oat Protein Henna Deep Cleansing Shampoo 

Sulfate-free Shampoo: Kinky-Curly Come Clean Shampoo 

Moisturizing Shampoo: Design Essentials® Honey Crème Moisture Retention Shampoo

Click here to buy MATRIX BIOLAGE MATRIX BIOLAGE CLEANSING CONDITIONER CURLY HAIR, which is one of my favorite cowashers for natural hair!

Cowash is short for “conditioner wash.” This simply means washing the hair with a cleansing conditioner or a botanical conditioner.  In recent years, beauty companies have begun creating products labeled “co-wash” that are designed to clean and condition the hair. These commercial co-wash products may contain cleansing agents, but they are usually far less harsh than those found in shampoo. 

Interested in trying co-wash? Here is a list of several popular co-washes that you should try:

As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner

Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser

I ditched shampoos early on in my Curly Girl Method but found my hair still needed a shampoo from time to time. I still LOVE a good cowash and here is a list of my faves.

As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner 
Matrix Biolage Cleansing Conditioner For Curly Hair

Click here to buy REDKEN REDKEN CLEANSING CONDITIONER COARSE HAIR, a great cowash for natural hair.

Should you continue using shampoo or give it up and simply co-wash? The answer to this depends on your hair type, lifestyle and personal preferences. If you frequently use products with silicones or have a very oily scalp, then you may find it necessary to use shampoo.

Going Natural: What To Expect For The First Six Months

Some women simply prefer shampoo because they don’t feel that co-washing gets their hair clean enough. This is perfectly fine, however you may want to stick with sulfate-free shampoos to prevent dryness and scalp irritation. There is nothing wrong with using both but know there is not right or wrong answer on which route to take. Try both, see which works best for your tresses and allow your hair to guide you.

Which do you prefer? Share below!



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