Adventures in CO-washing!

I have been conducting an experiment for the past two and half weeks or so of just washing my hair with WEN.  I have not let shampoo touch my head since a little bit before the beginning of this month.  I know that WEN is technically a "cleansing" conditioner, but looking through the ingredients and reading from other users I think that menthol is the biggest difference in its ingredients vs. other conditioners. I'm also thinking it's a good transition product. (Oh, I also have only used the Sweet Almond Fig conditioner and like it for the menthol, but that's it.)

So, for those of you not familiar with CO washing, it's pretty much just that; you find a conditioner that works well with your hair type and use it as a cleansing agent rather than just a detangler and moisturizer.  A lot of curly haired people and people with textured hair use this method because it doesn't strip their more delicate hair of the natural oils, but still cleans it enough that it's not dirty.  People with really fine hair can use this method, but many have found they need to "clarify" (use baking soda, or an actual shampoo product.)  People like me with thick, straight hair have had both good and bad experiences, and I think I'm willing to try it and see what happens. 

I know that I've done a WEN review before; I was using it with my Giovanni hair products and what I had been doing was massaging the WEN into my hair after already cleaning it with the shampoo and I think that the two of them together was a really bad idea; I had way too much static and not enough in the way of moisture and my hair just felt plain icky.  I have so far only been using WEN twice a week (I wet my hair down every night in the shower and use my Suave Almond and Shea Butter conditioner on my length every night, except the nights I use WEN) and I haven't deep conditioned at all. 

So far, here is what my hair looks like: 

This is Tuesday Afternoon (I also did a quick brush with my fingers, so it's not smooth, sorry) - I wash my hair Wednesday nights; I didn't show you a photo of the scalp because I have a hat on, but there is no buildup; I don't feel greasy I have been able to consistently run my fingers through my hair all day whenever I want during this experiment and haven't felt like my hair wasn't clean.  I've had a lot of people give me compliments too, which is a big encouragement. 

So yeah!  This is pretty exciting, and since I'm seeing such amazing results I am going to take it to the next step: REGULAR CONDITIONER!! *dramatic music*.  

The problem with WEN is that is it super expensive and if you buy from the WEN website then you have to either cancel your account because they will send you a bottle every two months and charge you the Thirty dollars a bottle or buy it somewhere else - I went through Sephora.  The problem is that it's still thirty buck a pop and you have to use a lot of conditioner in order to get a good, clean, result.  

I've looked online at various reviews and two products really stick out to people: White Rain and Vo5.  The Vo5 moisture milks seem to be best, and the White Rain volume conditioners are popular.  I've decided to start with Vo5 because it seems there is more information about it with people experimenting.  I purchased two bottles, one of the moisture milks and one of the silky experiences.  And the best part of this so far?  The two of them cost less than three bucks.  WOOT!  Yay for cheap products!  The potential down side?  They are silicone free, and if I have learned anything in my experiences with hair products, it's that my hair really likes silicons to help keep static at bay.  I'm going to still try it because 1) I'm hoping that the reason for the static was the over stripped of my hair and without using shampoo I won't have that issue and 2) If I do notice a big issue I will start adding the Suave Conditioner to my length because it does have silicons.  WEN, by the way, is also a "cone" Conditioner, so it does have that coating product.  A lot of people can't stand it, I've never had an issue with them.  I will admit that I didn't get the most popular Vo5 moisture milk which is strawberries and cream because while I really like the smell of it, I didn't want the powerful sweetness of it clash which my typical "smell" - haha if that makes sense.  I love yummy smell good hair products, but I usually go for a richer smell, like coconut.

We'll see what happens.  I am going to do a light baking soda wash tonight along with the Suave so that I don't have leftover product from the WEN; I really want to have a decent review of the Vo5 and a good idea of what it's like and then I'll wash with the moisture milk first.  I really loved the way the silky experiences conditioner smelled so that's the main reason why I got it, but it's a new product and there is not a lot of information or reviews on it yet. 

I've decided that if this doesn't work, I'm going to do a couple of things first.  1) I will evaluate whether or not I need to clarify, which I doubt because it's silicone free and 2) I'll add tea tree oil to it, if I'm not liking the results, because, again the biggest different with WEN and other conditioners, from what I can tell, is the menthol. 

How does one CO wash?  Ever wonder? No? Well, too bad, I'm going to tell you anyhow.  The first thing most people need to realize is that while conditioners do have enough in the way of cleansing products in them to clean, they can't do it alone like SLS based shampoos can; which bind oil and water together to help it wash away from the length.  Conditioners need you to help lift that dirt and oil out of your hair so it goes down the drain and not settle back into your scalp.  So the first thing is to add A LOT of conditioner to your scalp; enough to evenly coat your scalp and length and then massage, massage, massage.  Massaging is good for your hair anyway because it helps stimulate your scalp to promote hair growth and it's going to lift the dirt with your fingers mix it into the conditioner.  I'm not saying you need to use a whole bottle, per say, but I a big palmful of WEN and then another medium size palmful on my length. (The stuff on the scalp will move down the hair length too, so that will help coat the rest of your hair.)  I haven't really noticed a need to squeeze the product throughout my length, but if you find that you're dealing with a lot of oil then I definitely do that.  The reason why I haven't needed to is after I've massaged my scalp for a few minutes, I comb my hair out with a plastic wide tooth comb - CAREFULLY!!  Then I'll let the product sit on my head while I shave and wash and all that good girlie stuff.  I do like to massage the product in my hair throughout my shower, which typically takes about 25 minutes.  Then, at the very end of my shower, I rinse, rinse and rinse some more.  Once I feel like the conditioner is gone then I'll turn the water to as cool as I dare subject myself to, do a final rinse and I'm done. I towel dry, wide tooth comb, add my Giovanni anti frizz serum - I still use it and probably will till the day I die because I love it that much - and then put it in my nightly braids and I'm good to go! 

The main thing I have noticed with not using shampoo is that I can't put my hair up in a top night at night anymore and I've actually just come up with a theory as I'm writing this.  When I pile the length on top of my scalp, some of that leftover conditioner and Giovanni product is not just soaking into my length, but it's also soaking into the scalp that it's sitting on. Hmmmm.  I might have to experiment with that.  I've done side buns with no real problem, but it seems that when it sits on my part then I have issues.  So you might want to be aware of that if you are a damp-bunner.  Personally, I've really been digging the waves anyway, so I'm good to go with the braids anyways. 

I think that's about it.  I will do a gentle massage on my scalp in the shower every night and I put about two tablespoons to three depending on the day of conditioner on my length - I focus on the nape of my neck because my hair there is desperate to create dreadlocks (that has also gone down since I've cut shampoo also, interestingly enough) - but I won't put any conditioner above my ears unless it's just the leftovers in my hands and I'm massaging.  

That was a really long post; I'll post more about my experiences as I get farther into my no-shampoo journey; I'm excited to try the Vo5 can't wait to share with you.  Peace out, y'all! 

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