Natural Hair Advice | To Wash, CoWash, Or Not To Wash For Growth… What Is The Answer?!!

August 8, 2015

Recently, I have been trying to initiate a better, healthier growth pattern for my hair and have been exploring ways to increase my hair growth rate. I have searched through other blogs and research articles to compile some novel methods to help me achieve my next goal of reaching BSL (I am currently APL). I discovered that most of the tips I found that established a faster hair growth rate were already implemented into my regimen: I was taking vitamins that targeted hair growth, I was using oils that stimulated growth, and I was keeping my hands out of my hair (for length retention by preventing breakage). Here is more of a breakdown on my hair growth methods. The suggestions that appeared most frequently were the practices I wasn’t taking under consideration, which were periodic scalp stimulation and adding lots of moisture with water or re-wetting. My main problem with these methods is that when I style my hair, the style usually needs to last 5-7 days (because there isn’t enough time in a day!), and adding water to the style, or too much manipulation of my scalp, can ruin it and cause excessive frizz. The only time I add water or stimulate my scalp is on wash day, which is usually once every week. Applying these practices into my routine would warrant MAJOR CHANGE. So, I took to YouTube to find some videos to help me find some ways to incorporate this without messing up my styling, There were two videos that I found that sparked my interests the most.

In this first video by Maryam Hampton, she says that she co-washes her hair everyday. Now, for me, this is too much. There isn’t enough time in a day, let alone one week, for me to co-wash everyday. And, my hair responds best when I make my styles last as long as possible. Also, that sounds like a lot of conditioner to buy! All in all, I see her point. By co-washing her hair daily, she completes the task of wetting her hair and stimulating her scalp by washing, which are the main points in getting hair to grow and maintaining moisture.

In the second video, Naptural85 explains how she is also on a growth journey. Her original regimen consisted of co-washing every 3 days, but the constant mild-stripping of her hair caused it to dry out too much, so she incorporated water-washing into her regimen, which is washing build up from the scalp, with the help of gentle massaging, without product. This process is most effective at aiding distribution of sebum across the hair shaft, which can overtime stop/slow the production of sebum, which Whitney (Naptural85) did not want. She eventually found a way to alternate water-washing and co-washing so that her scalp still produced the sebum she wanted but didn’t cause build up on her scalp. Whitney also noted she could not recreate some of her stretched styles as often, such as curl former sets, because the tension along with the frequent friction on her scalp was too much. Having a sensitive scalp myself, this is something that I pay serious attention to. I am contemplating the water-washing method, but I am not sure how it will affect my color-treated hair. My hair is damaged from repeated color treatments and responds better to heavy products, while water-washing encourages you to use lighter, natural products.


SO, WHAT DO I THINK?

We all wish there was a simple, all-inclusive regimen, but the reality is that everyone’s hair is different and responses to certain methods vary. This being said, a certain amount of trial and error is unavoidable.

Things that were absent in my routine vouched for change. From both videos and the articles with supportive research, I don’t think washing frequently is any type of option for someone with naturally dry hair. I do, however, believe that a certain amount of washing the scalp with shampoo is necessary. Co-washing everyday is not an option for me either, seeing that it has the same end result. I support co-washing 2-3 times a week and water-washing, but I do not know enough about water-washing to support is 100%. I have compiled a list of pros and cons in terms of washing/cowashing frequently to help anyone who is having trouble deciding how to change their regimen for hair growth:

PROS

    • Less scalp build up
    • Stimulates more growth
    • Detangling become easier the more frequently you wash
    • Hair stays moisturized

CONS

    • run out of product faster
    • too much manipulation
    • can dry your hair out due to too much washing
    • may need to clarify more than usual
    • hair being constantly drenched in water is not good for you

SO, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

As far as me implementing change in my regimen, there are some things that I will start doing. For starters, instead of washing my hair once a week, I will try to co-wash once and wash once every week. In my newly natural days, I would do my hair every 1-2 days. I deep conditioned at least twice a week and loved to wash my hair. My hair grew a lot doing this, and I expect the same results with these tweaks in my regimen. Here is a list of the various other steps I will take.

    • Use light and natural products
      • Product lines with no bad silicones, sulfates or parabens are preferred.
    • Moisturize my hair at least every 2 days WITH WATER 
    • Scalp massagse in between washes
      • Because I have a sensitive scalp, I will try to style in loose styles to ease the stress on my scalp. My only concern is length and style retention. The massages, depending on the style I’m rocking at that time, can cause a lot of frizz and mess up the style. Some styles may have to be avoided.
    • Apply light oils that aid in hair growth
      • my hair loves JBCO so I may have to make an exception. But oils like peppermint oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil are some oils that are great for this type of hair regimen. Avoid olive oil and castor oil. Click here to learn how I use my oils for growth.
    • Wash/cowash my hair at least twice a week
      • I was always worried about doing my hair TOO much. I would deep condition twice weekly during the warmer months. Now I only do it once a week. I plan to keep doing this for the rest of the summer and early fall.

I hope this helps for anyone contemplating a change in routine! Let me know in the comments if it helps or if I forgot to mention any other helpful information!

9 Comments

  1. Reply

    BeingDevaCoils

    Great read, I agree that frequent co washing works, while on the other hand I love my hair in its stretched state….which means I ain’t got time for all that either! Lol

    Gonna check out the rest of your blog!

    1. Reply

      naturalitc

      Thanks so much, and I’ll check yours out too!

      1. Reply

        BeingDevaCoils

        You’re welcome, thanks!

  2. Reply

    Sharon V, Jackson

    This is a very good article. Very well researched and well written. I’m going to share this in one of the natural hair groups.

  3. Reply

    mspurplereigns

    Love this well researched and well written article! I’m going to share in one of the natural hair groups on FB.

  4. Reply

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    […] To see my opinion on water-washing vs. cowashing vs. shampooing for hair growth, click here. […]

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