As well as ridding your hair of daily grime and dead skin cells, most shampoos also strip your hair of all its natural oils. Now for those people with oily hair this is not too much of an issue but for those of us with dry (read 'rebellious') hair this only makes it feel worse. The idea of 'co-washing' is that you skip the shampoo altogether and instead use a gentle cleansing conditioner. When I first decided to give this a go I researched the products that were available and read many reviews. Some of the products getting good reviews were a bit to pricey (considering I had no idea if co-washing would work for me) but then I came across Palmer's Co-Wash product and at £4.99 decided to give it a go.
To start with the texture of this product is very different to shampoo and is a lot lighter than normal conditioners. It has a nice scent to it - I am not sure I can make out olive oil but it is subtle and fresh. To use it I make sure my hair is completely wet and then I add the product to small sections at a time (as recommended). I will be honest you do have to put some effort in to make this product work - I would say at least an extra 5 minutes onto your shower time. The instructions recommend using 12-20 pumps (up to 40 for thick or long hair), this sounds like a lot but you will soon see that each pump is only actually a small amount. I massage about 5 pumps into one side of my scalp, then 5 into the other and then split the lengths of my hair into 2 and massage 5 pumps into each side. The product does not lather and I did find this odd at first, but you do get used to it. You can add small amounts of water to make sure it is well massaged into your scalp. I then leave the product on my hair whilst I finish the rest of my shower - the longer the better really.
When it comes to removing it I find I get the best results if I first just add a little water to my head and massage it in again - this does create a feeling as if it is starting to lather. I repeat this a few times to ensure the product has been really well massaged in and then wash it out completely. It is important to make sure the product is completely rinsed out - but do not expect to get the squeaky clean feel you usually get from shampoo.
When you read about 'co-washing' people reviewing it often describe that after using a co-wash their hair felt like it normally would the second day after normal washing - not squeaky clean but much softer, smoother and more manageable. I would definitely agree with this and I have been pleasantly surprised that my hair has not felt greasy or weighed down in anyway. I will admit that I do not use this product religiously - more like once a week to give my hair a break from shampoo. It is actually recommended that if you do intend to use a co-wash cleanser you should also use a gentle clarifying shampoo every 1-2 weeks to adequately cleanse your hair.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5. I have knocked off 1/2 a point as it does take some extra effort to use this but overall I really like this product, its price and the results. With it being by Palmer's it is also formulated without all the usual nasty chemicals, which is why I am very happy to give it a place in my new regime!