Why I Co-Wash My High Porosity Natural Hair 2-3x/wk


Us natural curly girls come in all shapes and forms. I’m talking about everything from springy coils, corkscrew curls, loose waves to the popularized 70’s Afro textured style. While natural hair is extraordinarily beautiful, it can be quite complicated to maintain if you don’t know the proper techniques for your texture. However, I find that learning your hair porosity makes a huge difference in building a regimen for maintaining health and growth.

Quick Background on My Natural Hair Porosity

After taking the hair porosity test, I discovered my type 4 hair is high porosity. Some people consider high porosity hair as damaged because it comes from over manipulation through processes such as excessive use of hair dye, daily rough handling, chemical straighteners, improper use of heat or simply genetics. I believe my high porosity hair comes from past chemical straightening treatments such as perms or relaxers.

I’ve been natural for a little over 6 years and while I’m not sure it’s genetics, I’m leaning towards relaxers as the culprit for my high porosity strands. I never colored my hair and I rarely use heat. However, my hair was chemically straightened for over 12 years. Although I’m fully natural now, it makes sense why my cuticles are lifted. It may take several years to grow out my high porosity hair or another big chop will suffice.

As I have no plans to cut my hair, I’m choosing to deal with the issue in a proactive manner. Since high porosity hair is extremely dry and weak, it thrives exceedingly well from protein treatments and moisture retention. One of the best ways to give my hair the thirst it craves is through co-washing.

Why I Co-Washing My High Porosity Hair -JustNatonya

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What is Co-Washing?

Co-washing is a method used in between shampoo rinses throughout the week to add more moisture back into your hair shaft. Co-washing consists of using an inexpensive MOISTURE based conditioner as shampoo 1-3x/wk or even daily depending on the condition of your hair.

Using Rinse-Out Conditioners as a CoWash

To keep away from clogging my pores, I never apply conditioner directly to my scalp. Also, I mainly use water-soluble silicone based conditioners to avoid product buildup. I use silicone based conditioners such as Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner, Tresemme Curl Hydrate Conditioner or Suave Almond & Shea Butter Moisturizing Conditioner because it adds extra slip for my detangling process. I make sure the silicones are water-soluble for ease in washing out the conditioner.

However, I find using a co-wash that’s actually designed for cleansing works better than rinse-out conditioners. Rinse-out conditioners have a coating that’s meant to stay on the hair to keep it temporarily moisturized. So using a specific type of cleansing conditioner that washes the hair more gently than a shampoo but not coat the hair like a regular conditioner. Overall, it’s more healthy because you avoid a ton of buildup that comes quickly when using a regular conditioner. Plus, the cleansing conditioners are safe to use on the scalp too.  Check out the list for examples:


  1. TheFroExperts White Willow Bark Co-wash
  2. NaturelleGrow Marshmallow Root Slippery Elm Hair Cleansing Conditioner
  3. Omiaje Herbal Co-wash with Marshmallow Root & Babassu
  4. EmbraceYourBeautyLLC Detangling Co-Wash for Textured Hair
  5. LuxeOrganix Refreshing Mint Cleansing Conditioner
  6. PURA D’OR Argan & Lavender Oil Cleansing Conditioner 
  7. Alikay Naturals Cowash
  8. TGIN Quench 3-In-1 Cleansing Co-Wash Conditioner & Detangler
  9. Camille Rose Caramel CoWash Cleansing Conditioner
  10. As I Am Coconut Cleansing Conditioner
  11. Pantene Gold Series Deep Hydrating Conditioner
  12. Ouidad Curl Shaper Weightless Cleansing Conditioner
  13. Briogeo Curl Charisma Co-Wash
  14. Miss Jessie’s Co-Wash
  15. Aunt Jackie’s Flaxseed Cowash
  16. Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Nourishing Cowash
  17. Eden Coconut Shea Natural Cleansing CoWash
  18. The Doux One Love Co-Wash
  19. TWIST Ultra Hydrating Co-Wash
  20. Pantene Pro-V Truly Natural Cleansing Conditioner
  21. Curlsmith Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash
Why I Co-Washing My High Porosity Hair -JustNatonya
Cowashing my natural hair with conditioner defines and hydrates my curls in the middle of the week, reducing shedding and breakage.

Can Everyone Co-Wash Their Hair?

Let me say this, co-washing is not bad for your hair, especially if you have naturally dry strands. Examples include type 4 natural hair, high porosity hair, and chemically straightened hair. People with drier hair CONSTANTLY need extra moisture to replenish their strands and reduce breakage.

Someone with oily hair or closed cuticles like low porosity strands may find co-washing bad. When your cuticles are closed, it’s counterproductive to apply an action like co-washing because the products just sit on top of the hair. When products are sitting on top of the hair shaft, your strands are not effectively receiving the benefits, it just creating more buildup, which causes excessive dryness and breakage. The only way to remove tons of buildup is with a clarifying shampoo.

My Co-Wash Routine for High Porosity Hair

On days I’m not wearing my hair in a low manipulation style such as: a top knot bun, sleek ponytail with gel, braids, a lightweight blowout or twist outs, I’m rocking a playful wash n go to showoff my curl pattern. On my type 4 hair, wash n gos last about 2-3 days, which requires me to restyle my hair. Co-washing makes it easier and quicker to cleanse my hair shaft, hydrate my curls, detangle and restyle my hair throughout the week.


  • I apply conditioner to soaking wet hair.
  • I focus on the hair shaft to detangle and add back more moisture.
  • I never apply it to the scalp because this causes buildup and irritation.
  • After generously apply the product and detangling, I let it sit for ten minutes and rinse out the conditioner with lukewarm water.
  • Next I apply a penetrating oil, leave it on for 5-10 minutes and rinse it out with COLD water.
  • Lastly, I style my hair as usual.

Do I Still Shampoo My Hair If I’m Co-washing?

Co-washing does not ultimately replace shampoo. You still need to shampoo your hair when you co-wash. I use a clarifying or sulfate shampoo. Yes, I said sulfate because I apply heavy products like butters or grease to lay my high porosity cuticles flat so moisture doesn’t escape and leave my hair overly dry. I find shampooing every two weeks is beneficial for my type 4 high porosity natural hair. If you never shampoo, you’ll have tons of products laying on top of your hair making it difficult to stimulate growth. Dirty hair doesn’t grow only clean and moisturized hair promotes healthy hair growth.

Need Some Natural Hair Inspo?

Are you following my Pinterest board Just Eclectic Natural Hair of the incredible unique forms and shapes of natural hair? Check if out for hairstyle inspo or simply admiration for this God-given crown of glory!

If you have thirsty tresses, type 4 natural hair or high porosity strands, I definitely recommend cowashing. The power in cowashing helps to re-hydrate your hair shaft and reduces breakage to avoid drying out your hair with shampooing. From cowashing I’ve seen these things:

  • growth
  • manageability
  • softer hair
  • less shedding
  • reduced breakage
  • moisturized
  • more definition

If you decide to add co-washing to your hair regimen, make sure you use a clarifying shampoo at least 1-2x/month to remove product buildup. If not, the excess buildup will cause breakage and stunt hair growth.

Why I Co-Washing My High Porosity Hair -JustNatonya
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Do you have natural curly hair? Is your hair high porosity? What do you think about washing? Do you co-wash? If so, what do you use?

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