Sunday, February 22, 2015

Let's talk about frequent washing and hair growth.

A couple of days ago, I was watching reruns of Flipping Out online.  In one episode, Jeff Lewis, the star of the show is having his hair washed and cut by Chaz Dean, the creator of WEN hair products.  Jeff tells Chaz, "my hair has been growing like crazy lately."  Chaz asks "have you been cleansing every day?"  "Yeah." Jeff replies.  "That's why" Chaz answers in a matter of fact tone.

That exchange stayed with me for a little bit.  Then I receive this comment on the post discussing cold showers
"I believe this can work well for hair growth. When was texlaxed I always rinsed with cold water and my hair seemed to grow quickly and my length retention was on point. As a natural, I most quit doing this often only to recently start again. When I had my 2nd summer natural I rinsed my hair with cold water in the shower everyday and my growth was impressive."

Since the topic of frequent washing and growth came up twice within a couple of days, I thought it would make sense to talk about the merits of frequent washing and how it pertains to hair growth.

When I studied the regimens of women with successful hair journeys, I noticed the following patterns. 

Group 1:  Cowashed every day and experienced amazing growth and retention.
Group 2:  Washed in regular intervals and left their hair alone (protective styled) until next wash day.

I'm sure there were other groups but those are the ones that stuck out to me.  Almost everyone who washed/conditioned daily would mention how much growth and retention they enjoyed as a result of their efforts.  But how exactly does daily washing influence hair growth?

1|  Hair is constantly expososed to moisture in the form of water.  Hair that is highly moisturized is likely to break less.

2|  Daily washing creates daily scalp stimulation as you cleanse. Your shower head acts as a second method of scalp stimulation thereby promoting blood flow.  Cold rinses can further accelerate this process.

3|  Daily cleansing promotes a clean scalp which can help promote healthier growth.  A scalp with clogged pores can hamper healthy growth from occuring.

4| Daily co-wash/cleansing also promotes a low manipulation lifestyle.  Most co washers didn't go through any intricate styling process post wash knowing they'd be washing their hair again in the immediate future.

5| Daily co-washing means daily conditioning. Which means the hair follicle is better protected to withstand damage caused by manipulation.

The benefits can even be experienced if one washed several times a week (not just daily).  Back in the day, when I had less texture, I could co-wash and air dry with the best of them.  And yes, my hair did enjoy regular exposure to water and moisturizing conditioners.  But now air drying is my arch nemesis and the thought of roller setting multiple times a week makes me cringe.  It seems like a huge waste of time and I'm not sure about all the manipulation.  But, who knows, my hair might be better equipped to handle it since I now have Olaplex on my side.

Washing hair just might stimulate growth. Especially when done during the warmer months when hair growth rates are already accelerated.  But it could also be the retention that allows us to finally experience the growth that once seemed invisible.    One word of warning is to never forgo deep conditioning if you become a regular co-washer.  Highly moisturized hair may feel healthy but we still need to balance with protein to fortify the strand.  It's all about balance.

I'm ready to try again with more frequent washings.  Maybe not daily. More like 2-3 times a week and see what happens.  For now I have to roller set because nothing else seems to agree with my hair after a wash. 

Those of you who co-wash regularly with great results. Share your tips on what you do with your hair afterwards and whether you've experienced increased growth/retention because of it. 


  1. Hmm! This is interesting. I'll try this like 2-3 times a week. That's if I don't get lazy.

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  2. I wear flat twists Monday-Friday, and I condition on those 5 days. Saturday and Sunday I rock a twist out, so I dont condition on those 2 days. I've only been doing this for about 2 months now, so I think it's too early to tell if it's really helping retention, but so far so good. I've had no problems, and my hair feels good.

    I remember going longer between conditioning/cleansing, and my scalp would feel super dry and itchy. I don't experience that anymore, which is an extra bonus!

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  3. This does work. When I grew my hair out past BSL about 5 years ago, I got there with daily co-washes. I don't do it anymore because I don't really care for having wet hair all the time, but it does work.

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  4. I use to cowash every couple of days last summer and it definitely makes a difference. Once it gets warmer here I'm going to start back cowashing every 2 days. My hair could use some extra moisture

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  5. Maybe that's a big part of the reason why most women of other racial backgrounds are able to achieve and retain longer hair than us.

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  6. I have a flaky scalp so could do with daily washing. My problem is daily drying. I don't have the time to air dry and I obviously cant use heat every day.

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    Replies
    1. I agree with you here! When my hair was a lot shorter I could do more frequent washes. Now that I'm MBL in the back and shorter layers up front...there's NO way I can do this every morning and still make it to work at 6:30 lol! Maybe I could do this if I was bunning daily. But...I'm not a huge protective styler either :-(

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