Anya Goy answers your hair questions and problems with professional advice, tips and recommendations.
Q: A hairdresser told me that if I don’t use shampoo at least once a week my hair will fall out. Is this true? I’ve been conditioner only washing for a few weeks now with no shampoo at all. I just wondered if this is true or false?
A: This is a common misconception that has come about since a lawsuit against the company ‘WEN haircare’. WEN is an infomercial-driven CO washing brand. Over 200 people filed a class action lawsuit against the conditioning hair care system and it’s creator, when they experienced irritation, hair breakage, and extreme hair loss after using these products. This has lead some people to the wrong conclusion, that all CO washing causes hair loss. However the truth is, this extreme hair loss is caused by the high amounts of film forming silicones found in WEN products.
Conditioner only washing will NOT cause hair loss, provided you use the correct products.
CO washing with conditioner only and no shampoo is a great cleaning method, especially if your have rainbow hair colours, because it cleanses without the sulfates that strip out all your colours. This method can even be used by those with oily hair, and can actually help to balance out the scalps overproduction of oils.
However the most important thing is to ensure that you are using SILICONE FREE conditioner.
What NOT to use:
These products claim to be designed to used for CO washing, however they still contain stripping and film forming ingredients, and I would not recommend using them…
✘ Aveda’s Be Curly CO wash has sulfates in it, and film forming ingredients.
✘ Wen is not true CO washing, even though it claims to be. It has a huge amount of coating oils, artificial copolymers, silicones, sulfates, and ingredients that increase film forming.
✘ Monat. Just like Wen, Monat is not true CO washing, and also has a large amount of coating oils, artificial copolymers and other ingredients that increase film forming.
✘ Pantene CO Wash
✘ Herbal Essences CO Wash
✘ L’Oreal 6 in 1 EverPure Cleansing Balm
✘ Head and Shoulders CO Wash
Silicone free recommendations for Conditioner Washing…
✓ Shea Moisture Conditioners: All the conditioners from this brand are silicone free and great for conditioner only washing. This would be my top recommended brand.
✓ Redken Genius Wash. Silicone free and great for conditioner only washing.
✓ Suave Naturals Conditioners: They also have Disodium EDTA in them, which if you have well water or hard water is great. It forms a complex with the metals and prevents them from depositing onto the hair, skin or scalp.
✓ Biolage Ultra Hydrating Balm and Hydrasource Conditioners: (Sally’s also carries their GVP (Generic Value Product) version of Biolage Ultra Hydrating Balm, it is identical in every way and is cheaper.) DON’T use the Coarse Hair Cleansing Conditioner which has silicones in it.
✓ VO5 Strawberries and Cream Conditioner.
✓ Miessence Conditioners: All the conditioners from this brand are silicone free and great for conditioner only washing.
To learn more about the ingredients in hair products and which ones to avoid please read more in this article here: “What’s the best shampoo for rainbow hair to stop it washing out and fading?”
So should you still use shampoo on your hair?
You could potentially go months without shampoo and your hair would be totally fine. However I do recommend clarifying every so often with a sulfate based shampoo. Especially if you use hair products that leave a build up in the hair, or you have hard water area (water with lots of minerals) Hard water comes from well water or through old or copper pipes. You can read more about how to remove metals and mineral deposits from the hair here.
Sulfate based clarifying shampoo is also a great way to fade your rainbow hair colours quickly if you are wanting to do a color change soon.
Conclusion: Will CO Washing (conditioner only washing) make your hair fall out?
NO. Providing you are only using SILICONE FREE conditioner.
(And run for the hills if you see WEN or Monat!)
Want rainbow hair?
Discover Anya’s eBook guide: ‘Any Colour Of The Rainbow – The Ultimate Guide to Alternative Hair Colour‘. This guide covers everything from safe bleaching with ammonia free bleach to creating stunning multi colours with foil. Find out all the best products, how to do pastel colours, how to maintain vibrant colour, create ombre colour like to professionals and so much more…