WASHING YOUR HAIR WITH CONDITIONER?
Also known as CO, (conditioner only)
Am I crazy? No, not about this anyway. There are lots of longhaired ladies using conditioner only to clean their hair and keep it in good condition.
Why? One reason is that shampoos are very harsh on hair. Anyone trying to grow their hair long needs all they help they can get. According to one consumer guide, Sodium lauryl sulfate a high volume synthetic chemical used in consumer products and regulated as a pesticide. A suspected gastrointestinal or liver toxicant, sodium lauryl sulfate can be drying and harsh for the hair and cause eye irritation, allergic reactions, and hair loss.
We all know people with long hair who use shampoo everyday, so is this a good enough reason? Whether or not some healthy hair can withstand such strong chemicals, the truth is clear- sodium lauryl sulfate is hard on hair.
Reason #2: Coarse, frizzy and curly hair may benefit the most from CO washing. Shampoo roughs up the cuticle even more than it already is on these types of hair. CO doesnít rough it up at all, leaving it smooth, soft and with well behaved curls. But how does it clean the hair? Conditioners do contain a very small amount of the same detergent. Not enough to dry your hair out, but enough to clean it gently.
Letís move onto HOW. Not all conditioners are suited for CO. You need cheap, 99-cent conditioners. The cult favorite is White Rain Classic Extra Body conditioner. I found mine at the dollar store. Another favorite is Suave flavor, like coconut, and aloe vera. Iíve always used VO5 because they smelled the yummiest-blueberry, apple, jasmine and my favorite-extra body. Pick one and lets get to the details.
First of all, you donít use this conditioner like a conditioner. We are going to use it like a shampoo, with a twist. Wet your hair, and start shampooing with the conditioner. Use gobs of it. Donít worry about using too much. You almost cant. Use about a quarter size in the front, the top and on each side and the back. Concentrate on rubbing it into your scalp. Do not rub it into the lengths of your hair. You can apply it to the long hair like normal conditioner, but donít rub. You scalp should be slick and entirely covered with conditioner. Put your hair up into a shower cap or something to keep it out of the way. Your hair has to sit for a few minutes with the conditioner on it to do its work. Go on about your shower business and rinse your hair last. RINSE VERY WELL! Rinse longer than you think you should. If you feel its necessary, add your regular conditioner to your ends and rinse again.
So whatís different? Your hair will feel really soft, even when itís wet. You may worry that your hair will be limp. If you didnít rinse well enough, it may be. But if you have thick or coarse hair, you might be really happy about this. Try not using the second conditioner if itís too limp on the ends. If itís too limp on top, you didnít rinse good enough.
Eventually your hair will be just as clean as with shampoo but will be so much healthier and softer!
Too good to be true? Letís do some troubleshooting. First of all, there is an adjustment period your hair goes through before your scalp becomes accustomed to this. It may take up to 6 weeks. My hair only took about 2 weeks. Hang in there! I used one of those bottles with a pointed tip on it to apply the conditioner to my scalp. You can get them at beauty supply stores or even use a picnic condiment bottle for this. (um, make sure its clean first)
Reasons why CO didnít work for you:
The conditioner you used isnít light enough for CO, it was too moisturizing. Look for really cheap conditioners that say ďvolumizingĒ or ďclarifyingĒ.
You didnít leave it on long enough. The longer you leave it the better. Try for 5-10 minutes. Do CO as soon as you get in the shower and make rinsing out your last step.
You didnít rinse well enough. Rinse longer until it feels like there is no slickness left in your hair. Try rinsing with cooler water. Mix half apple cider vinegar with half water and use that as your final rinse.
You didnít use enough conditioner. Use A LOT. Thatís one plus of using the cheapy conditioners, you can stock up! Girls with really long hair will probably end up using tons. Like maybe only 3-4 applications from a bottle.
For the record, I do not currently use CO washing every time. I went back to shampoo. I really love the idea of this and it does work. I have really fine and thin hair and it even worked for me. But it is a little time consuming, so I only do it about once a week. Hey, the less shampoo you use, the better!
If you donít want to CO, or if you cant get it to work, there is another way to combat the shampoo demon. Wet your hair, apply any conditioner all over from root to tips (it can even me a cheap one.) Immediately rinse the conditioner lightly, shampoo out the conditioner and then apply your normal conditioner if needed. This is called CWC (condition wash condition) and it protects your hair shaft from the detergents in shampoo. You may find you prefer this to the traditional method of Shampoo-condition. I find if I deep condition first and then shampoo out, I donít even need the second conditioner, and Iíve protected my hair.