Shampoos, Co-Washes and Cleansing Conditioners?


You might have noticed that we create lots of conditioners. But why don’t we create ‘shampoos’? Well, we do, in a sense.


In order for a shampoo to work the way most people are used to, it has to include certain types of salt. Salt is what has been typically used to removed excess oil from hair. You’ll see the different salts used in shampoos under names such as ‘lauryl/laureth sulfate’, or as ‘saponified’ oil, for example, which means that salt was added to the oil to turn it into a soap.


Some salts are natural abrasives that scrub the fibers of the hair strand, wearing away by friction the fibers of your hair, in addition to dirt particles. This dries the hair strand without a doubt, which is why conditioner has been vital after regular shampooing. The abrading of the salt, along with the removal of oils, makes the hair strands rougher. You can imagine the dryness created when using these shampoos on your scalp. Here’s an interesting fact: Shampooing more than a couple times a month didn’t become the norm until the 1970s.1


Our desire is to create gentle products that don’t remove moisture, but that add moisture and help condition your hair. Condition-washing, or co-washing, is known as the healthier way to cleanse your hair while keeping it moisturized – it’s more of a natural shampoo. Generally, as long as you’re not using products on your hair that cause buildup, and are instead using only products that absorb into your strands and scalp or aren’t hard to rinse out (like beeswax), co-washing your hair is best for all hair types. But don’t worry – we create products for all types of hair needs, including both dry and oily hair types. You’ll see most of our cleansing conditioners formulated without lauryl/laureth sulfate, and with oils for very curly or typically naturally dry hair types, as well as co-washes that contain sulfated castor seed oil for oily hair types.


There are lots of articles, blogs, and videos on the web that explain all about condition-washing, but it’s basically washing your hair with a good conditioner. The benefits are that you won’t strip your hair, causing it to be dry. Once dry, it takes a month or two to balance your hair with enough water to cause it to be well moisturized.  You lose this balance as soon when using certain sulfate- or saponified oil-containing shampoos.


*Note: Behentrimonium Methosulfate is not a drying salt. Unlike sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a negatively charged (anionic) surfactant that foams and lathers, BTMS is a positively charged (cationic) surfactant that emulsifies and conditions. BTMS’ adsorbent quality is what makes it a conditioner versus a detergent. SLS is a detergent type surfactant that does not adhere to your hair strand – it removes soils and washes away with rinsing.
1 Shampoo has only been used with fervor since the 1970s. Before then, either regular soap was used a few times a month or, just after the early 20th century, shampoo was used only a few times a year. Wikipedia