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Should You Be Using Conditioner Before Shampoo?

February 2018January 2018

Do you have fine hair that craves moisture but feels weighed down by conditioner? Our beauty writer Madi explores the ins and outs of using conditioner before shampoo and how it transformed her hair.

Since I was a little girl I’ve only known one way of washing my hair. You shampoo to wash away all the unwanted dirt and oils, and then condition to replenish the hair you have just stripped clean. The reverse shampoo method came into the spotlight in 2014, but I have only recently tried it first hand after being introduced to the Kerastase Therapiste routine for fine hair. I’ve been impressed with the results, but should we all be doing it? Is it just a passing fad?

Introducing reverse shampooing

There are two main ideas behind this method: First, to nourish the hair first, then wash out all traces of conditioner so there is no chance it will weigh your hair down, giving your hair more body and volume. Secondly, it is great to use on fragile hair, so that the ends are hydrated and not further damaged by the friction of shampooing. If you have fine hair and want the nourishing benefits of a rich conditioner without making your hair look limp, this is the way you want to wash your hair.

A quick how-to

This seems like a silly thing to add, but there is a way of doing it to get the best results. It’s not rocket science, but I’ll tell you anyway.

  1. Condition your hair with a salon quality product; you can even use a treatment in place of regular conditioner for a more nourishing effect. Work your product in from the ends of your hair; avoid applying it to your scalp. For best results leave the product to sit for 5 minutes, then rinse.
  2. You’ll need a nourishing shampoo, one that adds moisture as well as gets rid of dirt and oil. Wash your hair from the root, massaging your scalp to get rid of dead skin, dirt and oil. Rinse your hair thoroughly ensuring there is no excess shampoo and you can feel no trace of conditioner.

Will it work for you?

It is definitely not for everyone. Reverse shampooing is recommended for people with fine hair, as it helps to add volume which fine hair tends to lack. The only possible issue you may have with reverse shampooing are flyaways, which is an easy fix. All you need is a light serum to smooth your hair after you wash.  Our recommendation is try it for a few washes and see!

Warning for our blonde friends

If you have blonde hair and usually use a purple shampoo to tone, it is best to stick to your usual routine and avoid the reverse shampoo. It is 100% necessary to condition after using a purple shampoo or toner, as it these types of products are quite drying, and your hair will be difficult to manage. If you want to try reverse shampooing, invest in an regular shampoo, and continue to tone your hair every other day while following with a good conditioner.

What were the results?

To be honest, it has really worked for me. I get compliments on my hair all the time now, which hasn’t happened since I was 14 when my curls were still in tact. My experience with reverse shampooing came about while road testing Kerastase Therapiste on my very fine, dry curly hair – they recommend to use the conditioner before the shampoo specifically to repair fine hair without weighing it down. I’ll attribute the strength and quality of my usually fine and dry hair to Thérapiste, and the newfound volume to my often limp and lifeless locks to reverse shampooing! Nonetheless I’m definitely not going back to my old ways any time soon – this method is definitely worth a try.


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