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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Co wash for Asian hair

After months of trying out co-washing, I finally decided to write a post on how co-washing worked for my damaged Asian hair. I decided to try co-washing because daily shampooing seemed to be drying out my hair even more and caused many split ends.

First, what is co-washing? 
Co-washing is simply washing hair with handfuls of conditioner (no really, one handful for the scalp and one for the ends). The conditioner must not contain silicones, or else it will accumulate and weigh down your locks. The biggest difference between shampooing and co-washing is that you must use large amounts of conditioner and rinse for a very long time to ensure all the conditioner has come out. 

Trial and Error
I have always washed my hair daily and then applied conditioner to the ends, so not using shampoo was a significant change to my hair.

Take 1: V05 Strawberry and Champagne Conditoner
I started co-washing with V05 Strawberry and Champagne conditioner. The first two days my hair felt softer than ever before, but on the third day, my scalp was a bit smelly and my hair was rapidly losing volume. By the fourth day, my hair was matted, so I caved and washed with silicone-free shampoo. This made my hair smooth and full of volume! I stuck with this pattern of washing every 3rd day, but that only made my hair become greasy faster. 

Take 2: V05 Strawberry and Cream Conditoner
I swapped conditioners to V05 Strawberry and Cream, which is noticeably heavier and more moisturizing than V05 Strawberry and Champagne. It actually smelled like Strawberry and Cream! The downside is that it made my hair crunchy after a few days, even if it did smooth down the frizz better than V05 Strawberry and Champagne Conditioner. This is likely due to protein in this conditioner. You must maintain a balance of protein vs moisture in your hair, so definitely don't overdo it with this conditioner!

Take 3: V05 Chamomile Tea Conditioner
This conditioner was more moisturizing than the first conditioner I tried, but it is really hard to wash out, making my roots greasy after 2-3 days, so I still could not escape washing my hair with shampoo every few days. Hence, I had to cycle conditioners to delay build-up. 

Take 4: V05 Vanilla Mint Tea Conditioner
This is my holy grail conditioner for sure, because it cleansed my hair like shampoo and left behind a wonderful scent. It took out the buildup from my other conditioners and gave my roots volume back. At this point, I cycled V05 Chamomile Tea Conditioner with this conditioner and was truly co-washing for a few months! 
The downside is that eventually my hair became too dry from the cleansing effects of this conditioner. In fact, it began to build-up on my hair too! Hence, I was forced to shampoo it out. 

I had returned to the old habit of shampooing every few days, and this was gradually reverting my hair to its old icky state. I also began to lose more hair than usual!

Take 5; Suave Ocean Breeze
This one is quite similar to the Vanilla Mint Tea in that it helps remove build up from other conditioners. In some ways it is even better because I have yet to get build up from this conditioner! The only downside is that it left my ends very dry! 

Current Solution: Mix Co-washing w/ Shampooing and Water-only
To prevent the disgusting matted look, but also the frizzy dry look, I mix the two on a schedule. I wash with either of the Strawberry conditioners for 2-3 days. When my hair begins to lose volume, I wash with Vanilla Mint Tea or Suave Ocean Breeze for 2-3 days. Finally, I lather on the Strawberry and Cream conditioner or Chamomile Tea conditioner so that my locks feel slick. Then I wash it all off with silicone-free shampoo. The next day, my hair is bouncy and shiny. The day after I only wash with water to prolong that state. 

This new cycle has really worked for my hair, making it smoother than it used to be. I highly recommend you to try it too if your hair is damaged! 

On Scents
I think everything but VO5 Green tea conditioner smells wonderful. Suave Ocean Breeze is definitely a gender neutral scent because it smells a bit "salty" like the ocean. Vanilla Mint Tea and Chamomile Tea are definitely sweet smelling teas. Strawberry Champagne does not smell like strawberries at all, and leaves virtually no scent on the hair after washing it out. The strongest smelling one is Strawberries and Cream, which definitely smells like what it should.
For long lasting scent I would suggest Vanilla Mint Tea, Strawberry and Cream, and Ocean Breeze.

On Thickness

Green Tea, Vanilla Mint Tea, Strawberry & Cream, Ocean Breeze
Unfortunately, I ran out of the other conditioners, so I could not get a picture to compare. As you can see, Ocean Breeze is the thickest of them all, while Green Tea is more fluid. Strawberry Champagne and Chamomile Tea have a consistency similar to Green Tea. Due to their fluid nature, more conditioner must be used to really coat the hair to get it to work. 

I hope this long post filled with several months of experimentation helps you transition or make the choice to co-washing! It can be done, even with Asian hair!

Also, I have just opened a new Storenvy! Please check it out. Unlike my Etsy store, I offer flat rate shipping! See here.

Disclaimer: All products were bought by me and all photos are taken by me. Everyone's hair is different, so I cannot guarantee similar results for your hair!