Here’s What Happened When I Tried Co-washing

Here’s What Happened When I Tried Co-washing

As someone that used to shampoo their hair every single morning, I am a testament for the damage it has done to my hair & scalp health! Not only was my color fading at astronomically high speeds, I also noticed my hair looked lifeless and dry. I immediately made the switch to sulfate-free shampoos, but the girls at the kaia naturals HQ told me I had to try co-washing.

Co-washing was a game-changer for both Marissa, our Wellness Manager, and Yvonne our PR Manager, who had noticed dry, brittle strands. I could not fathom the thought of not shampoo-ing (that’s how addicted I was), but they promised me it was much easier to get use to… and they were right.


cowashing - kaia naturalsPHOTO BY INDIA.COM.


But first, what is co-washing?

It simply means conditioner-washing. You wash your hair without shampoo, rinsing your scalp and roots thoroughly with water only, and then applying conditioner to the ends.


How will co-washing help?

Frequent shampooing with harsh sulfate and detergents can strip your hair of its natural oils, causing dry scalp and hair. This dryness sends a signal to the hair to create more natural oils to protect itself, in turn creating oily hair much faster. By skipping the shampoo you will train your hair to produce only the amount of oil it needs to keep hair healthy.  By rinsing your hair with water and conditioner , your hair will feel clean but not squeaky clean like with shampoo. Unshampooed hair will retain more of its natural oils and the conditioner will help leave your ends smoother, softer and easier to manage.


Train your hair to need less shampoo

If you’re trying to shampoo less, co-washing is the perfect way to prolong the days in between shampoos.  This helped me detox from shampoo, as I loved that I was still able to wet my hair in the shower. I thought my hair would feel dirty and greasy, but I didn’t notice much of a difference in terms of hair odor or oiliness. I did however notice how soft my hair was just after the first co-wash.


co-washing - kaia naturalsPHOTO BY REFINERY29.


Mary’s 5 Day Hair Cycle

It’s been about 6 months since I started co-washing and the best part about incorporating this into my routine, is that it has also helped gradually train my hair to need less shampoo. Here’s what I do now on a weekly basis. My best tip is start off slow!


Day 1: Shampoo and condition as normal

Day 2: During the first few months, I was itching to wash my hair again in the morning, so I simply rinsed my hair and scalp with water, no conditioner or shampoo. As my scalp got used to the transition, I’m now able to skip wetting my hair all together on Day 2.

Day 3: Co-wash

Day 4: Dry Shampoo

Day 5: Shampoo and condition. Cycle restarts again.

From shampooing every single day to now shampooing only about twice a week, I can already see the changes in my hair and my color doesn’t fade as quickly. My hairstylist has also noticed a huge difference.


Before you start co-washing, read this first:

Tip #1: Avoid silicones in your conditioner

Avoid silicones, such as dimethicone, in the conditioner you’re using for co-washing.  Silicones give your hair that smooth feeling, however if it can cause build up and weigh down your hair.


Tip #2: Don’t use dry shampoo before a co-wash

Co-wash only when you have not used dry shampoo or other hair products near the roots. If you’ve used dry shampoo, you need to shampoo it out in order to prevent product build-up on your hair follicles.


Tip #3: Avoid conditioner at your roots

Especially if you have fine hair like me, avoid using conditioner anywhere near your roots. Only use at the ends or you’ll end up with greasy, flat hair.


We hope you try this system of co-washing and let us know what you think!

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New Science Reveals An Unknown Cause of Dandruff

New Science Reveals An Unknown Cause of Dandruff


This week, Mary shares new science behind an unknown cause of dandruff.


The scalp is a balanced eco-system that is very sensitive to changes from the environment, cosmetic products and your internal health.  I’m sure most of us have experienced finding dandruff, or snowflakes’, as I like to call them, on our shoulders. It’s so common yet research in scalp disorders and dandruff remains scarcely explored.

The crazy thing is that most common scalp concerns are caused by one thing most of us have never even considered – a bacterial imbalance!


cause of dandruff - kaia naturals


The snowflakes on your shoulder

Did you know? Dandruff affects about 50% of the adult population. Most of us thought it was from the following 4 causes: dry scalp, fungal growth, product buildup, or psoriasis.

However, a new clinical study has revealed dandruff can also be caused by an imbalance of bacteria on your scalp.

If you are suffering from dandruff, it’s important to diagnose which type of scalp condition you have. Always consult with a medical practitioner first.

There are two main types of bacteria that live on your scalp; Staphylococcus and Propionibacterium, as well as a dominant form of fungus; Malassezia. It is normal that skin is constantly shedding itself, but when this is combined with oil and sweat it can form a thin, white layer over your skin which can trap bacteria.


What New Science Reveals

A clinical study compared the scalp microbiome of 140 women, half of them with healthy scalps and half with dandruff. It was found that all of the participants had about the same amount of Malassezia, a fungus that was previously thought to be the cause of dandruff. Instead, it was found that women with the most dandruff had much more Staphylococcus bacteria on their head than those with healthy scalps.  


cause of dandruff - kaia naturals



Bacteria grows EVERYWHERE on your body

Bacteria thrives on the scalp because it is covered in hair, keeping the area nice and warm – bacteria’s favorite type of environment. The bacteria then multiplies and feeds off of the fatty acids found in sebum, the oil that is excreted through your scalp.

Some species of bacteria found on the scalp are actually beneficial. They are responsible for providing the essential nutrients the scalp needs to maintain a healthy microbiome, BUT some species can cause seriously frustrating scalp issues.


cause of dandruff - kaia naturals



How to control the bacteria imbalance on your scalp:

1. Vitamins

Taking vitamins and supplements like B3, biotin, lysine and amino acids can all help to restore a healthier scalp microbiome.   


2. Exfoliate your scalp

Gently exfoliating your scalp can help to remove any skin cell build up that could result in dandruff and odor. Try this DIY. Click here.


3. Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo soaks up excess oil, which is important as bacteria feeds off on the fatty acids found in oil. I always recommend using an all-natural dry shampoo overnight, as oil production occurs the most at night.


4. Avoid clogging your scalp

Products with ingredients like silicones, dimethicones, and trimethicones will make your hair feel soft, but they will also plug your hair follicles. This can promote the presence of oil and bacteria.


5. Clean your hairbrushes

I’m sure most of us don’t do this enough, but clean your hair brushes regularly to avoid spreading bacteria onto your scalp.


6. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is natural, has antibacterial properties, and it is a great way to naturally balance the scalp. Mix six drops of tea tree oil with 1-2 tablespoons of jojoba oil. Apply it the scalp and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing. You can do this daily, or as a weekly treatment.

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The Most Vulnerable Part of Your Body For Chemical Absorption

The Most Vulnerable Part of Your Body For Chemical Absorption

This week, Mary decodes: Aluminum in dry shampoo

Most of us know that aluminum in antiperspirant is a huge risk because it works to blocks your pores, preventing you from sweating, which traps toxins inside your body. However, did you know that many conventional dry shampoos also contains aluminum? If aluminum starch octenylsuccinate is on the ingredient list in your dry shampoo, you might want to look for an alternative and I explain why what you put on your head is one of the most important considerations.

Based on new pharmaceutical research for topical application of drugs, studies have found that your scalp is a weak spot on your body for protecting against chemical penetration.  The scalp and the forehead show the highest absorption rate for drugs and chemicals (approximately four times greater the absorption rate than your forearms). Follicular penetration allows drugs and chemicals to enter the body with much great ease.





You’ll find that many conventional dry shampoos use aluminum starch octenylsuccinate in the formulation, as it is highly effective at absorbing excess oil and sweat. With its anti-caking agent, it’s also used in aerosol cans to prevent the dry shampoo formulation from blocking the nozzle.




What is aluminum starch octenylsuccinate?

This ingredient is an aluminum salt of chemically modified starch. This synthetic powder-like ingredient is used as an absorbent, thickening agent and anti-caking agent in cosmetics, such as dry shampoo, foundations, eye shadows, face powers and sunscreens.

Based on scientific studies, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel has indicated that Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate is safe in cosmetic formulations, as long as established limitations imposed on heavy metal concentrations are not exceeded.



Although studies have not demonstrated that aluminum starch octenylsuccinate is harmful in cosmetics, the area in which this ingredient is applied on should be noted. With dry shampoo, the problem is that this heavy metal infused starch is sprayed directly onto your hair follicles – the weakest spot on your body for protecting against chemical penetration.

With our overnight dry shampoo, it is formulated without aluminum, aerosol gases, and is made up of 100% natural ingredients.

Think carefully about the ingredients that you place on your scalp and forehead. We are learning more and more about the body through research. The PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE should apply to hair care products based on this new information.

Click here to read more on aluminum in your antiperspirants and the harmful effect it has on your underarms.



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