There are several distinctions that are important to understand when comparing New Wash to other co-wash or no-poo products, and it helpful to understand them as all existing on a cleansing : conditioning continuum.
The comparison to shampoo is easy: shampoo has detergent, which foams, and over-cleans your hair and scalp. This is at the most cleansing end of the cleansing : conditioning continuum.
At the conditioning extreme of the continuum, you have conditioners and co-washes. These not only lack detergents, they lack any amphiphilic molecules whatsoever. Amphiphilic molecules are molecules with one side that is oil-loving and one side that is water-loving. The oil-loving side grabs onto oil, grease, dirt, excess product, etc., and when you rinse the water-loving side grabs onto the rinse-water and pull everything (the molecule + the oil/grease/dirt/etc.) down the drain. Anything that cleans needs amphiphilic molecules, and they are not present in the formulations for conditioners and co-washes.
New Wash exists in the middle of the cleansing : conditioning continuum. It has amphiphilic molecules that clean, but are not detergents. How are they different? The oil-loving side is just as strong, but the water-loving side is much weaker. When the rinse-water comes through, the bond to the water is only strong enough to pull away things that are loosely attached to your hair and scalp. This includes excess oil, grease, product residue, chlorine and dirt, but it isn’t strong enough to remove your body’s natural protective oil barrier, which is well attached (thanks to millennia of evolution).
The bottom line is that New Wash really is quite different from a co-wash and no-poo products, and our customers can feel safe and confident that it will do its job (cleaning your hair and scalp) without creating problems.