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 girls in our office 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. Click here to read our guide to washing your hair less. 


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. Struggling with day 2 hair? Click here.

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. Click here to read more ways to prolong your hair colour. 


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. This also may cause pimple-like bumps on your scalp.


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.


Give this system of co-washing and let us know what you think!

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How Co-Washing Saved My Bleach-Fried Hair

How Co-Washing Saved My Bleach-Fried Hair

heavy-metal-toxicity-detox-marissaI’m Marissa, the Wellness Manager at kaia naturals. Today I’m sharing with you my experience with co-washing and how I was able to train my hair to need less shampooing. I used to wash my hair every single day, but now I only wash it twice a week. Find out how I did it below.

Two summers ago, I bleached my hair using a box dye just before heading to Florida. I got distracted, left the bleach on a little too long, and my hair looked and felt like someone had put it the deep fryer – crispy and crunchy. Although I wouldn’t call this a blessing in disguise, frying my hair that summer would change how I would shower and wash my hair forever.

My hairdresser (who was appalled by the mess I made) told me the first step I had to do was stop shampooing every day, as that was stripping my hair even more. Motivated to nourish my hair back to a healthy state, I started researching how I could possibly go a day without washing my hair and not have greasy roots. I then discovered the “co-washing and dry shampoo method“.



Co-washing is when you skip the shampoo in your routine and only use conditioner or another moisturizing product so that you aren’t stripping your hair of its natural oils. This may sound odd, but here’s how it works. Scientifically speaking, like dissolves like, which means that oil will dissolve oil

The result? The oils/moisturizing agents in your conditioner will mildly dissolve and cleanse the oils on your hair, but will not strip the hair entirely of its natural oils like shampoo does. By skipping shampoo your hair will also, over time, stop overproducing oil and balance out its own oil production. Now just be cautious and avoid using conditioner near your roots as it could make your roots look really greasy. 

I found that the key to co-washing is rinsing your scalp with water VERY thoroughly. I get my fingers in there and will massage my scalp under running water until I feel like it’s squeaky clean. 

Photo by Amy Humphries




DAY 1: I would shampoo and condition like normal.


DAY 2: By the end of the day, I was itching to wash my hair again but with sheer determination I washed my hair using only conditioner (avoiding my roots so they didn’t become greasy).


DAY 3: This day was tough until I implemented dry shampoo, which was a total game changer. Instead of washing, I sprayed a natural dry shampoo into my roots before going to bed. This hair hack really works because when I wake up the next morning, the dry shampoo had enough time already to absorb the oil, sweat and odor from the previous day.

NOTE: Day 3 is the real hump you have to get through! Stay motivated and power through!


DAY 4: It was time to shampoo and condition again!  Whenever I have used dry shampoo, I like to use a scalp scrub to gently exfoliate my scalp and to avoid clogging my hair follicles.  


What I found after a few weeks of sticking to this routine was that my scalp became less greasy between every shampoo, and I couldn’t believe the time I was saving from not having to wash my hair every day. In just a few months after my bleaching mishap, my hair felt so much softer and even noticed my scalp was less dry and had less dandruff. The co-washing + dry shampoo method is a total life saver!

If you want to learn a few more tips on how to start washing your hair less, read more here.


New Science Reveals An Unknown Cause of Dandruff

New Science Reveals 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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