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What to know about this gentler shampoo alternative


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Shampoo has gotten a bit of frenemy reputation. It’s definitely there for you after you’ve gone too long without washing (you know, the moments when your hair is 90 percent dry shampoo) but you’ve likely heard time and time again that washing daily can dry out strands and leech away color. This is especially true for curly and natural hair textures that tend to be drier and feel the effects of parching formulas more, which is why co-washes can provide a happy medium, by cleaning and conditioning all at once.

“Co-washing is short for ‘conditioner-only washing,'” says Jillian Halouska, OGX brand ambassador. “This shampoo alternative can be found in the form of a cream, lotion, or foam, and typically they’re about 80 percent conditioner and 20 percent shampoo.” So they’re a perfect medium to rid curls of buildup without creating unnecessary dryness that can result in frizz.

“Conditioners still contain cleansing agents, so they’re able to gently dissolve dirt and buildup without stripping away the natural oils.”

“Conditioners still contain cleansing agents, so they’re able to gently dissolve dirt and buildup without stripping away the natural oils that help protect and maintain your hair’s natural moisture and pH levels,” she adds. The result? “Your hair’s healthier and more manageable.”

While these formulas have long been a solution for curly girls, they also can work on other strand types, depending on the frequency of use and the formula. Halouska says that “girls with finer hair should use a lightweight formula with more detoxifying ingredients, while those with thicker hair should reach for something with more emollients like marula oil.” They’re good to use two to three times per week once your hair’s acclimated to them or you can use them in-between shampoos, according to Halouska.

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