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Ten Best Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioners to Refresh Natural Hair

If you have extremely dry and thirsty hair, co-washing with a cleansing conditioner might be a good alternative. This is why in this post, I will be discussing the benefits of co-washing 4c natural hair, what is co-washing and the ten best co-wash conditioners you can use to cleanse your natural hair.

What is co-washing?

Co-washing or conditioner washing is the act of using a conditioner to wash your hair. It can also be referred to as the “no-poo” or no shampoo method. This method was popularized by hairstylist Lorraine Massey in her book “The Curly Girl Handbook”.

This book was written for women who wanted to confidently wear their curly hair in its natural state by learning how to care for it. What’s key to point out about this book is that it was written at a time when “straight” hair was considered beautiful and curly hair wasn’t.

Is co-washing better than shampoo?

If you have extremely dry hair, it may be better to temporarily retire from shampoos for a while. This is because unlike shampoos that remove dirt, oil, pollution and excess products from your hair, co-wash conditioners only gently cleanse your hair without removing everything from your hair.

And when it’s time to re-introduce shampoos back into your hair regimen, you can add one of these sulfate-free shampoos that won’t leave your hair feeling dry.

Can I use a regular conditioner as a co-wash?

Since the full meaning of a co-wash is conditioner wash, it means that a co-wash is the same as using a conditioner to wash your hair. So if you want to use a regular conditioner to wash your hair, you can go ahead.

Although many hair brands are now producing special co-wash conditioners that are formulated with added cleansing agents to ensure that your hair gets a better cleanse than what you would get with a regular conditioner.

Is co-washing good for 4c hair?

As a 4c naturalista myself, I can attest to the many benefits of 4c hair. A key hair product our hair needs the most is conditioners and more of it! I usually find that my hair feels softer after doing a co-wash. Infact, I sometimes co-wash my hair mid-week as a way to refresh my hair in-between wash-days.

This way, I can refresh and cleanse my hair without using shampoo which can sometimes leave my hair feeling dry.

Is co-washing good for low porosity hair?

If you have low porosity hair because it takes a while for your hair to absorb moisture, then co-washing can help your hair to retain moisture than a shampoo would.

You should however ensure that your chosen product doesn’t have silicones in it because silicones stay on the surface of the cuticles, which can further reduce moisture absorption.

Is co-washing good for high porosity hair?

Co-washing is the best solution for high porosity hair that loses moisture to the environment very quickly. Conditioners are meant to soften, hydrate and moisturize the hair, which means that your high porosity hair will be glad to have products with these benefits in them.

What are the benefits of co-washing?

Co-washing is beneficial for every naturalista, especially women with 4c hair. This is because 4c hair has the tendency to feel dry, look dull, tangle and break. And since conditioners are formulated to tackle these problems, co-washing your hair often will help soften and moisturize your hair, so that it’s less susceptible to breakage.

Co-washing is even more crucial in the wintertime because this is when your hair feels more dry than usual. To tackle the dryness, you can co-wash your hair more often in the wintertime.

How often should I co-wash my natural hair?

Your hair regimen and hair routine will determine how often you should co-wash your hair. For example, if you shampoo wash every week, you can co-wash your hair once a week, mid-way to your wash day. And if you shampoo your hair every two weeks, then you can co-wash every other week you’re not going to be shampooing.

Do you co-wash before or after shampoo?

Co-washing is when you substitute shampoo for a conditioner. This means that you will not be using a shampoo on the same day that you co-wash your hair. You can use shampoo to wash your hair on your next wash day.

Do you co-wash before deep conditioning?

Even though co-washing cleanses your hair, it will not cleanse your hair the same way a shampoo would. So if you will be deep conditioning your hair afterwards, it’s best to use one of these shampoos to cleanse your hair before deep conditioning.

Co-washing before deep conditioning will not allow the deep conditioner to work at its highest capacity, because the ingredients in the deep conditioner will be binding onto the other ingredients that the co-wash already deposited on your hair. If you have low porosity hair, this will slow moisture absorption down even further, which isn’t what you want.

hair cuticles and conditioners

best co-wash conditioners for natural hair

10 Best Co-Wash Conditioners For 4c Natural Hair

This post contains affiliate links which means that I make a small commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase with my link. Should you have additional products to add to this list, please feel free to add them in the comment section below. 

If you find a discontinued product on this list, please do let me know so I can keep this post updated. I’d also like to inform you that brands change their product packaging from time to time, which means that the product picture in this post might look a bit different from the retailers website at the time you decide to make a purchase.


1. EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea Cleansing CoWash

Eden Bodyworks - cleansing conditioner

Product Promise: Sulfate-free, no suds gentle cleansing conditioner cream for removing residue and build-up between regular washings to promote a healthy hair environment for growth.

Review: I have thick curly hair and it detangles it like a dream and leaves my hair so soft.

2. Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Flaxseed Recipes Purify Me Moisturizing Co-Wash Cleanser

Aunt Jackie's - cowash conditioner for curly hair

Product Promise: This rich, creamy, triple-action remedy replenishes moisture, softens, and thoroughly removes build-up and impurities.

Review:This cleanser is super moisturizing and cleanses my hair without leaving it feeling dry”.

3. SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser

Shea Moisture - cowash conditioner for natural hair

Product Promise: This sulfate-free conditioning cleanser removes impurities without stripping hair of natural oils.

Review: I really love this conditioner! The ingredients are wonderful as well as the slip. This leaves my hair soft and smelling nice.

4. Alikay Naturals Co-Wash Me Cleansing Conditioner 

Alikay Naturals - cowash conditioners for 4c hair

Product Promise: Gentle enough for daily cleansing without stripping hair of natural oils. Jojoba and peppermint oil blend leaves hair soft, moisturized, hydrated and your scalp feeling clean. Great for all hair types.

Review:This is the only co-wash ingredients I found that are healthy and smells great. It does the job.


5. Taliah Waajid Creamy Curly Co-Wash

Taliak Waajid - cleansing conditioner for 4c hair

Product Promise: The creamy curly co-wash gently cleanses the hair while also keeping the hair conditioned and hydrated. It’s formulated to cleanse your hair without stripping it of it’s natural oils. 

Review:I find that it’s enough for a co-wash and has enough slip to detangle making it a good co-wash option.

Ten Best co-wash Conditioners for 4c hair

6. True by Made Beautiful Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner

TRUE by Made Beautiful - co-wash conditioner for 4c hair

Product Promise: This no-poo cleanser gently removes product build-up and conditions without stripping the hair of moisture. Free of sulfates and parabens, shea butter and coconut penetrate hair to nourish. A unique blend of honey and mango provides ultimate moisture.

Customer Review:Not drying but hair feels nice and clean. Smells great. My favorite cleansing conditioner and I’ve tried a few.”

7. As I Am Coconut Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner 

As I Am coconut co-wash conditioner

Product Promise: Contains a special blend of natural ingredients for healthy hair growth and removing product build-up from your hair between regular washing. Helps hair retain moisture until your next cleanse.

Review:Cleans my hair without stripping moisture.

8. Mielle Organics Detangling Co-Wash 

Mielle Organics - co-wash conditioner for natural hair

Product Promise:  It removes impurities without stripping hair of natural oils. Lightweight moisturizers made with detangling properties. Soften and control frizz, making it easier to detangle while co-washing.

Review: My hair felt soft, it was shiny, my curls were popping.

9. Creme of Nature Argan Oil Pure-licious Co-Wash 

Creme of Nature - cleansing conditioner for natural hair

Product Promise: Gently cleanses and removes product residue. It hydrates natural tresses to deliver unstoppable frizz-free curls, coils, and kinks.

Customer Review:  “After 3 washes, I am pleased that my hair is softer and more manageable with no flyaways and much more smoothness.

10. Design Essentials Natural Almond & Avocado Co-WashDesign Essentials - design essentials cleansing conditioner for 4c hair

Product Promise: This lightweight formula removes product residue and buildup without stripping hair of natural moisture–which is always a plus. This velvety, hydrating, detangling cleansing cream makes curly hair more manageable and nourishes any dry, thirsty curls for a frizz-free, defined hair.

Review: “This product works amazingly well. It helps detangle hair easily. I’ve tried countless other detanglers and hands down this one has been the only one to provide excellent results. It has greatly improved the ease of styling after washing.


Which co-wash conditioners have you tried and which ones do you plan to try next? Let me know in

the comments section.

co-wash cleansing conditioners

co-wash cleansing conditioners for natural hair