VIDEO: Differences between Clarifying, Shampooing, & Co-Washing: GetGlammedUp - Everyday Beauty, Simplified

VIDEO: Differences between Clarifying, Shampooing, & Co-Washing

Sunday, April 19, 2020

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When you're first starting out with taking care of your natural curls, all the terminology can be so confusing! You likely have heard about co-washing, sulfate-free shampoos, and clarifying. If they're all meant to cleanse your hair, then what's the difference? When you do need each one, and how often? I'm breaking it down for you in simple terms, and sharing some of my favorite clarifying shampoos, sulfate-free shampoos, and co-wash.

What is clarifying?
A clarifying shampoo is basically a deeper cleanser compared to shampoo, that is designed to remove buildup on the scalp and hair.

How often should you clarify?
It depends on your hair and the products that you use. If you use products that contain ingredients that are known to cause buildup, such as silicones, polyquats, heavy butters, and oils, then you'll need to clarify more frequently. If you use very lightweight products are not prone to buildup, once a month should do the trick.

How do you know when you need to clarify?
If you hair feels sticky, curls are limp and weighed down, roots are flat and/or oily, scalp has build up or flakes, it's time to clarify.

When do you use basic, sulfate-free shampoo?
Whenever you need to cleanse, but don't have major buildup going on. Some shampoos can remove buildup, but most are more moisturizing and simply remove product from the hair and cleanse the scalp. I shampoo once a week, and alternate with a clarifying shampoo.

What is a co-wash?
Co-washing, or "conditioner washing" is a gentle form of cleansing. The product is thick and creamy like conditioner, and doesn't lather up much. Some co-washes give a mild suds when scrubbed and rinsed out under water.

When do you use a co-wash?
Co-washing is great for a quick wash and go, when you want to re-style your hair but you're not due for a deep cleanse. Perhaps your scalp is not oily yet, and your hair is feeling tangled, dry, or has too much product in it from refreshing each day. Co-washing gently cleanses the hair and allows you to detangle and rinse away product. Co-washing is also ideal for those that have very dry and damaged hair, and are in the transitioning phase.

Is co-washing alone enough?
In my opinion, no. I think for optimal scalp health, a shampoo that produces a lather is necessary to keep your hair follicles clear. Some say that buildup can lead to excess shedding and hair loss.

Is it necessary to have all 3?
Not exactly. I think a basic sulfate-free shampoo is essential for weekly cleansing. If you didn't want to purchase a clarifying shampoo, there are other methods to remove buildup such as apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinses, dish soap, or a sulfate shampoo. Having a co-wash on hand is mostly helpful if you struggle to go long in between your washes and want to re-style mid-week.

What is the best clarifying shampoo, sulfate-free shampoo, and co-wash?
See some of my recommendations below!

Products Shown:

How to clarify curly hair & remove build up with ACV
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