When I decided to lighten up on the weaves and eventually do a big chop, searching for the best natural hair co-washes felt like a job. After being told over and over and over by both experts and friends that a lather-free shampoo was the healthiest option for my new look and lifestyle, I felt pretty much obligated to see it through. Ultimately, deciding whether you want to use “normal” shampoo or a sulfate-free one depends on the person’s preference and the former shouldn’t have you running for the hills.
In the end, experts confirm that a lather helps deliver and deposit the active ingredient in a cleanser to the hair. This is why daily shampooing isn’t recommended while using a co-wash every morning usually doesn’t cause harm. It’s also worth noting that co-washes have gone through an evolution of their own in recent years, with products now including conditioners and even dry shampoo. For this reason alone, I still keep my eye out for what’s getting the best reviews despite going back and forth between co-wash and shampoo. With that being said, here are the formulas, both old and new, worth trying if you’re a co-wash convert or seasoned pro.
As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner
Formulated with coconut oil to rebalance your scalp’s pH and deeply hydrate the hair shaft.
$6.99 at Target
Aussie Miracle Curls Co-Wash
A fruit-infused and fruit-scented lightweight cleanser for in-between your heavier washes.
$4.99 at Target
Briogeo Be Gentle Be Kind Avocado + Quinoa Co-Wash
This Sephora fave gives extra slip for easier detangling.
$32 at Sephora
Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Nourishing Co-Wash
Sweet almond and avocado oils replenish moisture and help ease the detangling process.
$12.99 at Ulta
DevaCurl No-Poo Decadence Zero-Lather Milk Cleanser
This top-seller is made with quinoa protein, an underrated ingredient for strengthening hair.
$24-$46 at Sephora
Head & Shoulders Royal Oils Moisturizing Co-Wash
This newer option is a must-try for any naturalistas who also struggle with dandruff or itchy scalp.
$8.99 at Target
Mielle Organics Detangling Co-Wash
An organic cleanser infused with a mix of coconut, shea, and marula oils.
$8.19 at Target
Mixed Chicks Conditioning Cleansing Co-Wash
A build-up buster and moisturizer in bottle.
$9.99 at Target
Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk 3-in-1 Conditioner
Use this as a conditioner, leave-in or co-wash to improve curl retention.
$7.99 at Ulta
Ouidad Curl Immersion Co-Wash
A gang of oils combined to give your hair a clean, light, and airy bounce.
$36 at Sephora
Pantene Deep Hydrating Co-Wash
This co-wash with a slight lather is the best of both worlds.
$9.99 at Target
SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Moisture Co-Wash
The silk protein will smooth out flyaways.
$10.99 at Target
TGIN Quench 3-in-1 Cleansing Co-Wash Conditioner
Lightweight and fragrant for detangling in record time.
$14.99 at Ulta
The Doux One Love Co-Wash
The best option for addressing breakage.
$12.99 at Target
Aunt Jackie’s Purify Me Moisturizing Co-Wash Cleanser
Flaxseed oil is a great source of amino acids for addressing thinning.
$5.99 at Naturally Curly
Cantu Apple Cider Vinegar Dry Co-Wash
A dry shampoo with tea tree oil for addressing itchiness.
$3.99 at Walmart
Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Cleansing Conditioner
An oldie, but goodie formulated with biotin to encourage growth.
$8.99 at Target
Creme of Nature Curlicious Co-Wash
Lightweight and moisturizing for safely cleansing color-treated strands.
$6.97 at Walmart
Curl Co. Low Wash Sulfate-Free Shampoo
This cleanser has chemical-specific benefits that make it an ideal choice for color-treated or Keratin-treated hair.
$29.99 at Naturally Curly
Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Hair Conditioner
A little goes a long way this thick, ultra-luxurious cleanser.
$20 at Naturally Curly
Oyin Handmade Ginger-Mint Co-Wash
The green tea extract in this top-rated cleanser acts as an astringent for the scalp, removing buildup and soothing irritated areas.
$11.99 at Naturally Curly
Taliah Waajid Conditioning Co-Wash
So subtle and lightweight, you can use it as a leave-in, too.
$9.99 at Naturally Curly
True by Made Beautiful Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner
Chock full of honey for the ultimate moisturizing cleanse.
$8.99 at Made Beautiful
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