Could Excessive Co-washing Cause Excessive Shedding?

by Michelle of
Today I was thinking about co-washing and how it might be causing excessive shedding. That is, depending on how you co-wash, of course.

You see, lots of ladies co-wash their natural hair with a conditioner. Hence, the term “co” aka "conditioner" wash. Today, there are lots of products on the market meant specifically for co-washing. Yet, it’s still very popular to wash the hair with a regular rinse out conditioner.

Well, I got to thinking about the purpose of a conditioner…

A CNN article quote by celebrity hairstylist Juan Carlos Maciques of the Rita Hazan Salon in New York City:
“The truth is, “all conditioners smooth the cuticle, soften hair, add shine, and restore moisture”

All other information aside, I was paying particular attention to the “soften hair” part. If one purpose of the conditioner is to soften hair (which is evidenced by the common practice of applying conditioner after shampooing and hair strengthening treatments like protein) then it would stand to reason that applying the conditioner to the scalp would soften it as well, right? Okay, stay with me.

If you apply a conditioner to your scalp on a regular basis vs. just applying it to your hair, could it be that the hair follicles are softening and releasing the hairs prematurely? (the operative word being “regular”)

It’s been decided amongst hair enthusiasts and gurus alike that you should apply shampoo to the scalp and conditioner to the hair. But what if you don’t shampoo? If you co-wash only and use a regular rinse out conditioner vs. a co-wash product, should it also be applied to the hair only and not the scalp? Could it be due to the softening effects of the conditioner? If so, then is it possible that extreme softening meant for the hair can lead to the scalp shedding the hair prematurely from the scalp?
Here’s a pic of the instructional/benefits on a couple bottles of store bought conditioner.

It seems that the main purpose of rinse out conditioner is to soften the hair. Maybe, not so much for use on the scalp then. Again, this isn’t based on peer reviewed studies or lab tests, it's just an observation that can make you go, hmmm.

Do you co-wash with contact to your scalp regularly?
If so, do you ever notice an increase in shedding?


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