A cowash-only regimen probably isn’t the most ideal for fine, low-porosity natural hair. Why? Well, fine hair is already more prone to product build up compared to thick hair. Add to that the fact that low-porosity hair doesn’t absorb as much product? You can end up with a situation where excess product is always sitting on your strands, weighing them down, and making them feel gunky. In end, any styling you might attempt on your hair, like twist outs or braid outs, likely won’t turn out as well as if you have clean strands. Some sort of cleansing should be used regularly, whether that be shampooing, clay washes, or other gentle cleansers.
But cowashing does have it’s place within a natural hair care routine, even for fine-haired, low-porosity naturals. It’s a chance to revive dry, dull, and tangled strands between cleansing sessions. Like all things natural hair, the best way to cowash is going to vary according to the individual. But here are a few tips you can use to help you figure out a routine that will work best for you.
How Frequently Should You Cowash?
As frequently as necessary in-between cleansing sessions.
When it comes to low-porosity hair, cleansing is key and necessary. But that doesn’t mean cowashing doesn’t have a place in your natural hair care routine. Cowashing fine, low-porosity natural hair is as individual as, well, everything else about natural hair. Cowashing is a great opportunity to remoisturize your hair, get rid of any knots and tangles, and refresh your style. But you still need to listen to your body. And your hair. And especially your scalp. Your scalp will tell you when it’s time to cleanse, whether that be weekly or once a month. As long as your scalp isn’t itchy or tender, and your strands are still doing its vibrant thang, you can forgo the cleansing session and just cowash. Need some numbers to start with? Try doing cleansing sessions once per week (alongside your deep conditioning session), and cowashing midweek. If that doesn’t work for you, adjust as needed based on your life schedule and what your hair and scalp are telling you. Let everyone know in the comments what method you’re trying and what works for you. You never know. You might be helping someone else out.
This is the hard part: finding a conditioner with the proper ingredients and the proper qualities to get the job done. If you have natural hair, you already know what I’m talking about: that search that seems to never end for a conditioner that has healthful ingredients (so you don’t have to worry about what you’re putting on your body), lots of slip (to make detangling less of a pain in the butt), and is affordable (especially for those with longer hair). Again, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to natural hair, but here are a few things to look for when searching for your holy grail conditioner:
1. Make sure it fits in your budget.
2. Stay away from heavy butters like shea and cocoa butter.
3. In general, coconut oil and low porosity hair are not a match made in heaven.
4. Looks for natural oils and extracts in the ingredients list.
5. Make sure the conditioner is lightweight.
6. Get the largest container you can find.
Coat Hair with Conditioner
This is where getting the largest container of conditioner you can find comes in. The quarter-size amount stated on the packing does not apply to natural hair. The longer your hair, the more product you will use. Maybe even half of an 8-ounce container with each use. So, get the big one.
When you’re in the shower, do your whole body wash routine while the conditioner is sitting on your hair and the heat from the shower is opening your cuticles. That will allow the moisturizing ingredients to penetrate your hair strands. And it will make detangling so much easier.
After you’ve finished your cowash, and your hair is detangled, make sure to rinse your hair clean of conditioner. No residue.
Well, fine and low-porosity hair just doesn’t absorb as much product. That means any leftover conditioner in your hair could mix poorly with your styler and cause flakes. Or it could leave your hair feeling yucky with residue, which could make your final style not come out like it should. It could also cause buildup on both your hair and scalp, meaning for frequent wash sessions and an irritated scalp. So, make sure to rinse your hair clean of your conditioner. Your style and your hair will thank you.