Five Cleansing Conditioners for Curly Hair

Conditioner washing is a gentle way to clean hair without stripping natural oils. Conditioners don’t contain harsh cleaning agents, that are normally found in ordinary hair shampoos. They use gentle cationic surfactants with mild cleansing power and contain moisturizing ingredients in their formula.

Including co-washing in your regimen can give your hair a break from harsh, chemical-filled shampoos. You can co-wash as often as you feel like it, without causing hair and scalp dehydration. Many people have noticed that going shampoo-free makes their hair softer, less frizzy, and easier to detangle and style.

Co-Washing Natural Hair

Attractive African-American woman with co-washed hair

Side note: aren’t you glad that a lot of terms in the natural hair community are really simple abbreviations?

Co-washing is also called the ‘No Poo Method’, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. You basically skip using regular shampoo and use a rinse-out conditioner instead. I know it sounds crazy, but let me explain why you may want to incorporate this into your routine as well.

Co-washing is great for natural hair if you’re struggling to retain moisture, or your hair is damaged and feels brittle. It’s another way to boost moisture on wash day, and it should leave your hair feeling soft and hydrated.

However, co-washing isn’t recommended for everyone. If you suffer from contact dermatitis or happen to have an oily scalp, co-washing can aggravate your scalp. Also, you should not co-wash if you have wavy hair or very loose curls, since these hair types can easily be weighed down by the conditioner. Co-washing would therefore lead to your hair looking thinner and lifeless.

Co-Washing Products

Cleansing conditioners are formulated to cleanse and condition your hair in one step. You can also use regular conditioners to co-wash your hair, while deep conditioners and protein conditioners are not suitable for co-washing.

Co-washing products are usually designed for a specific hair type. When you are purchasing a cleansing conditioner, look at the label carefully to ensure that the product will work for your hair type. Also, look at the ingredients list to ensure that your co-washing formula is free of sulfates, silicones, and parabens. Stay away from products that contain non-soluble silicones as they cause buildup and require a sulfate shampoo for removal.

The moisturizing properties of co-washing conditioners make these products especially suitable for naturally curly or wavy hair. Conditioner washing offers gentle cleansing, provides optimal curl hydration, and leaves your curls feeling soft. The following are some co-wash conditioners designed specifically for curly hair.

Best Co Wash Products for Your Curls

1. If you care about what you put on your hair and scalp, Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser is worth trying. This co-wash conditioner is formulated with natural and certified organic ingredients. According to EWG safety standards, only one ingredient (Behentrimonium Chloride) is classified as a medium health concern, while other ingredients are considered safe for use in personal care products.

In addition to conditioning ingredients, this co-wash conditioner also contains African Black Soap extract and Kaolin Clay which are natural cleansing agents. That is why you can use it as a shampoo replacement. It works great for natural hair and you don’t need a conditioner unless you have very coarse hair.

a happy girl with co-washed curly hair

2. PURA D’OR Moisture Protect Cleansing Conditioner is a gentle co-wash formula made for dry and frizzy hair prone to tangles. It comes with an impressive ingredient list and is free of harmful chemicals and cruelty. Certified organic plant extracts and oils help revitalize dry damaged hair, giving it a healthy shine.

This co-wash helps maintain the moisture inside the hair shaft and makes your hair soft, weightless, and easy to comb. It leaves the curls more defined and makes curly hair more manageable.

How to: Co-Wash & Clarify your hair | YouTube video by SunKissAlba

3. As I Am Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner works best for natural curls, coils, and waves that look and feel dry. This light conditioning cream contains cationic surfactants that are capable of breaking down sebum and styling product residue. Natural oils and humectants help seal in moisture, while a blend of natural ingredients works to promote healthy hair growth. This conditioner has a great slip for easy detangling. The mild coconut scent doesn’t linger in your hair. The product comes in a jar which is appreciated by people who try to reduce the use of plastic bottles.

How to use: Wet hair thoroughly to make co-washing more effective. Rub a generous amount of product in your palms and spread it through your hair until it feels saturated. Massage the scalp with your fingertips just as you would when using a regular shampoo. Carefully detangle hair using a wide-tooth comb. Rinse thoroughly. No conditioner is needed.

4. Macadamia Oil Flawless is a multi-tasking hair care product that leaves hair feeling clean and hydrated. It makes combing effortless, reduces frizz, and cuts down on drying time. This color-safe co-wash also leaves hair soft, and shiny and can be used on all hair textures.

How to use: Take 1 to 2 pumps and apply them to soaking wet hair. Gently massage throughout the hair for 3 to 5 minutes, spreading the product over the hair and scalp area. Add more water to help spread the product if needed. Comb through using your fingers or a comb. Rinse thoroughly.
Rotate the Flawless with your normal shampoo or clarify regularly if you use it as a replacement for shampoo.

5. NATURALICIOUS Moroccan Rhassoul 5-in-1 Clay Treatment (Curly/Wavy Edition) is claimed to do the work of five products. It gently cleanses hair and removes excess sebum, toxins, impurities, and product buildup. It also acts as a smoothing conditioner, detangler, deep conditioner, and leave-in conditioner.

Naturalicious Moroccan Rhassoul 5-in-1 Clay Treatment is infused with natural mineral clay and is rich in silica, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Cocoa butter and olive oil nourish your scalp and keep your hair soft and easy to detangle. The product is free of sulfates, mineral oil, parabens, and gluten.

How to use: Shake well before using. Wet hair thoroughly, then apply a generous amount of the product. Make sure you coat all of the hair evenly. Massage the treatment into your scalp and hair, then gently detangle. Don’t let the product dry too much. Rinse quite well to make sure you have washed little sand bits out of your hair.

a mixed-race woman with healthy co-washed hair

Disclaimer: All content on this blog is created for informational purposes only. It would be best if you didn’t use it as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Last Updated on April 3, 2022 by Gaga

About the author | Website | + posts

Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.


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