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'Co-washing', 'no poo' and more: Meet shampoo's competition

Women are ditching the one-wash-fits-all-mentality in favor of custom routines and formulas that suit their individual hair type.
/ Source: TODAY

If you’ve recently found yourself straying from the usual lather, rinse, repeat, you’re not alone. More and more women are ditching the one-wash-fits-all-mentality (read: daily shampoo and conditioning from a bottle) in favor of custom routines and formulas that suit their individual hair needs. For example, curly haired girls often swear by washing with only conditioner otherwise known as "co-washing."

“Co-washing has caught on fast," said celebrity hairstylist Tiffany Daugherty, who recommends the practice to help hair maintain "its integrity, luster and overall health that traditional chemical-based shampoos can strip."

Considering co-washing? Daugherty recommends Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner ($23 at as “one of the best co-washes on the market."

“Just keep in mind, there are times when co-washing alone will not remove excess buildup completely. In this case, you will need to use a clarifying formula prior to your usual favorite co-washing product,” she advises.

Read on as real women share their own personal recipes for strand success.

1. Just go "no poo" and ditch shampoo altogether.

“As a hairstylist, I know the only thing that cleans your hair when shampooing is the actual motion of your fingers on your scalp, so I use water to do that and follow by conditioning my ends (I'm currently using Ion Effective Care Treatment, $22 on Amazon). I also always use a cool rinse — as cold as I can stand it.” – Michelle R.

No poo hair technique
Courtesy of Michelle R.

2. A little sweat never hurt.

“Since I've been working out way more than ever before, I shampoo only about 3-4 times a week and my hair is so much healthier for it. I'm no longer afraid of a little sweat or oil, and it keeps my hair fresh!” – Lindsay T.

No poo alternative
Courtesy of Lindsay T.

3. Think outside the bottle.

“I found these great shampoo bars from LUSH. The ‘Honey I Washed My Hair’ scent is my favorite, and the reusable packaging is travel-friendly.” – Jamie G.

Lush shampoo bar
Courtesy of Jamie G.

4. Stop fearing the 2-in-1. It actually works!

“I saved shower space (and my strands) by opting for a combination formula. Of all I've tried, I like Head & Shoulders 2-in-1 the best. Who could imagine one little bottle could deliver so much shine, bounce and ease?!” – Julia B.

Combination shampoos
Courtesy of Julia B.

5. Co-washing could change your life.

"Co-washing has become a huge necessity for me! It's a technique that involves using conditioner the way you would normally use shampoo. It's less drying than traditional shampoo, and that's really important for African-American women like me. So instead of shampooing, I lather and rinse with conditioner a few times a week. It leaves my curls moist, strong and manageable!" – Ashley R.

Courtesy of Ashley R.

6. Coconut oil really is magic.

“When I feel like my strands need an extra boost of moisture, I massage some coconut oil onto my ends. It works wonders and smells amazing!” – Jenn S.

Coconut oil uses
Courtesy of Jenn S.

7. The second-day savior.

“I swear by Klorane Dry Shampoo. I use it so much throughout the week in order to avoid having to blow dry it as often. I also have resorted to only using shampoo in the shower, then using a leave-in conditioner (from It’s a 10, which coincidentally one of our TODAY editors also loves) right before I blow dry. This makes my blowout last longer.” – Mayra H.

Dry shampoo
Courtesy of Mayra H.

8. Pick a side.

“Since my hair is dry, I typically shampoo only my scalp and condition only the ends (both from the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day line). I then round out my routine with a restoring mask (again, Living Proof) once a week.” – Lindsay M.

Alternatives to shampoo
Courtesy of Lindsay M.

9. Laziness isn't always a bad thing.

"About a year ago, I made the switch to shampooing once (maybe twice) a week, alternating between Paul Mitchell, Alterna Bamboo Smooth, and Alterna Caviar Moisture. I then follow with a leave-in conditioner on the same day (Alterna Caviar Moisture Milk Leave-In), and don't use any products in between. I honestly chose to shampoo less often out of laziness, but I've ended up saving tons of money and my hair feels (and looks) so much healthier." – Erin D.

Shampoo less often
Courtesy of Erin D.

10. Expensive products don't necessarily work better.

"I used to buy the expensive shampoos and conditioners from my hair salon, but the more hair product I used, the less clean my hair appeared. When my hair is really short and spiky, the Got2B Glue is my favorite and no shampoo has ever taken it all out. I already used Irish Spring Bar Soap for my body every day, so one night I took a chance and put it in my hair! Now I wash my hair at least every other day with it. The soap keeps the product buildup to a minimum. As for conditioner, I use just a drugstore store brand (usually Suave). I only use a tiny bit, putting it on my wet hair and leaving it in. No rinse, no fuss!" – Pat L.

Drugstore shampoo brands
Pat L.

Bonus: Author tip!

“Once a week, I ditch my usual shampoo and conditioner in favor of a clarifying formula to remove buildup. I’m currently using Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo, but I also really like Selsun Blue Naturals.” – Kristin G.

Clarifying shampoo
Courtesy of Kristin Granero

Want to find your own personal recipe for clean — and healthy — strands? Consult with a hairstylist to find the best products and plan for your hair type and texture.

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Want more? Read on for 25 healthy hair products stylists swear by.