“Co- washing is short for conditioner-only washing. It means skipping shampoo and relying on conditioner to cleanse the hair and scalp.”
Many women report that since letting their hair go grey, they have found their hair has become dry and frizzy. But it doesn’t have to be this way, it’s just a matter of getting the right moisture into the hair.
Some grey hair becomes wiry because the sebaceous glands become less productive. This is caused by the same genetic and hormonal changes that cause the hair to lose its pigmentation in the first place.
With less natural oil being produced, grey hair can become dry, brittle and wiry for some women. It is therefore important to address this with how you wash, style and care for your hair.
Although I haven’t found my hair to be more frizzy than usual, I do find that my hair has a natural tendency to be this way, particularly when I wear my hair with its natural wave. I have found that co- washing is the perfect remedy for this.
Co-washing is defined as the process of washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Many women, myself included, find that you can cleanse your scalp with only the use of conditioner. You will no doubt find your hair loves you for it. Here’s how I co- wash my hair for my hair type and I hope it will help your grey hair too……
Pre note: When choosing your conditioner, try your best to ensure that they are silicone free. Silicone over time will coat your hair and cause build up, which co- washing won’t remove. Because you will be using blue shampoo occassionally, a small amount of silicone might be ok, but there are plenty of conditioners on the market without silicones, so try and go for those.
Step 1- Preparation
A Light Conditioner and a Heavier Conditioning mask. You will need a good quality botanical conditioner for cleansing and moisturising the hair and a lighter one for cleansing the scalp. I am using Arbonne’s Pure Vibrance Creme Cleanser and a heavier one (like a deep conditioner or masque) for conditioning the ends.
- Blue Shampoo. You will also need a standard blue shampoo. The more pigmented the better, in my opinion. You can buy these in your local supermarket.
- An old cotton t- shirt. For absorbing water from the hair. Use for your hair as an alternative to a towel. Your hair will result in less frizzy by using cotton rather than terry towelling.
- A hair bobble. This type of hair spiral/bobble is made from a plastic type material and is a gentle hair band to use when putting your hair up. You can use this in the shower while you leave in your masque. See image below left.
Step 2- Pre Co- Cleansing
For those of us with grey locks, we can’t get away from the fact that because our hair has little to no pigment, it will attract all manner of foreign material from the environment, water and pollutants in the air and causes yellowing. Even some hair products can cause the hair to discolour.
Because of this, you will need to use a standard blue shampoo at the beginning of this process and then approximately once a month ongoing. This is necessary just to brighten up the hair again and bring it back to its vibrancy. After all, the brightness of grey hair is what gives it the ‘wow’ factor.
Wash your hair with the blue shampoo and apply it to your finger tips. Get right into the scalp and firmly but gently massage the entire scalp for a good couple of minutes but then leave the ends alone.
Next step is to thoroughly rinse it all off under the water flow while still massaging the scalp until all the shampoo has gone from your hair. The shampoo will automatically cleanse the ends as you rinse.
Gently ring out the excess water and use an old t shirt to absorb any excess water and then apply your masque and let it sit in your hair for a few minutes before rinsing, by putting it up in a bun (if you have the length) and then carry on with your shower routine.
At this point I usually cleanse my face and body and then rinse out all the conditioner and style my hair.
Step 3- Co Washing (Cleansing the hair using conditioner instead of shampoo).
Step 3 takes place on your next wash day and every wash day thereafter until your next scheduled blue shampoo wash. Your hair has already been deep cleaned of any silicones or nasties that have been building up on your hair from the environment and from silicone based hair products by using the blue shampoo. Therefore, your hair is now bright and free of any build up and you are now ready to start your co- wash routine.
Co- washing your hair is the same process of cleansing with shampoo but you are replacing the actual shampoo with a light conditioner.
- Completely soak your hair under the running shower water.
- Step out and place your Light Conditioner onto the tips of your fingers and get right onto the scalp and massage your scalp firmly yet gently for a good few minutes. The conditioner and the massage will work together to lift any dirt or build up on your scalp. Then rinse it off thoroughly.
- Next, step out of the shower and ring out excess water and then use your old t-shirt to absorb any excess water in the hair. Then add your conditioning masque.
- Leave the mask in your hair for a few minutes and place your hair in a bun with the hair bungee, while you continue washing and cleansing your face and body etc. Then rinse out the masque thoroughly.
- Use another old t- shirt to absorb any excess water in the hair and then step out of the shower and do your usual styling!
And thats it!!! That is your new highly moisturising hair wash routine. It’s simple, its highly effective if you use the right products and your hair will be nourished and will likely thank you for it by growing in thicker, stronger, and shinier. See a short video below demonstrating how I co- wash in the shower.
I go back to Step 2 once a month or so or if I feel like my hair is losing its vibrancy and needs some blue shampoo and a lift. This means you are not exclusively co washing, but i think your colour may be difficult to maintain without a regular blue shampoo in your routine. Washing your hair with blue shampoo once a month or so will not do it any harm.
So, what do you think? Will you give it a try? Check out and follow Silver Style Life’s activity over on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest if you aren’t already by clicking on the links on the page.
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Disclaimer: This is a blog site with ever changing content. The content comes from my own experience and opinions and doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of any other organisations I am involved with. The information I share is true and to the best of my knowledge and is for information purposes only. Thank you.