I stopped shampooing my hair every day.
I never, ever thought I’d say that. My hair is really fine, and my scalp is fairly oily. I wake up every day with limp, flat hair. Oddly enough, it always managed to be really dry and brittle despite that. I’ve always had to use a ton of products to get it to do anything (mousse, gel, or cream, and lots and lots of hairspray) and even then it never cooperated and would rarely hold a style long enough for me to actually get where I was going. The only thing that ever helped was dyeing it. Dye swells the hair cuticle, making it look fuller, thicker, and easier to manage. Of course I developed an allergy to dye.
I’d heard of the “no poo” movement. I’ve even had friends who tried it. But I was never comfortable with it. I thought, “well, that’s fine for some people.” But I could never imagine not washing my hair every day.
Then I found cleansing conditioners. The advent of these products has completely changed the way I interact with my hair. It isn’t thicker or fuller, it isn’t easier to manage. But it doesn’t feel like straw and I don’t have to comb knots out of it after a shower. It looks and feels healthier.
Cleansing conditioners are just what the name implies. They’re mild, low-lather cleansers that are heavy on moisturizing ingredients. The texture reminds me of gelato. Very smooth and creamy, but with a sort of…stretch, if that makes sense? At least, that’s how the one I’ve tried feels. Basically, you rinse your hair well in the shower, and then apply a goodly amount of the conditioner to your hair. You massage it in well, making sure everything is covered, and rinse. I generally leave it on my hair for the duration of the shower.
There are a number of cleansing conditioners out there. I think Wen is the most well-known. In fact, it’s where I started. My husband and I were channel surfing one weekend and landed on the infomercial. The claims they made about the Wen system sounded way too good to be true, but as my husband says “you never know until you try.” So I did some research and was almost ready to give it a shot when I realized the product contains aloe – which I am allergic to. So Wen was a no-go for me.
I can’t remember how I heard about L’Oreal EverCreme cleansing conditioner, but I imagine it was an Amazon recommendation. I know I went to the L’Oreal site and looked for an ingredients list before I even dreamed of buying it. I’ve been using it six days a week for two months now, and I’m very pleased with it. You have to use a lot – that’s true of any cleansing conditioner, I’m told – and the texture takes some getting used to. But this product smells wonderful and works wonderfully. I’m very happy with it.
Another cleansing conditioner I stumbled upon (again, thank Amazon) is Hair One by Fiske. There are several different formulations for different hair types. I haven’t tried this product myself because, even though I’ve looked at the formulas on different websites, I can’t get a straight answer on whether or not all of them contain aloe. I’ve searched, but I can’t find an official site for Hair One or Fiske. I’ll have to actually find it in a store (Sally Beauty Supply sells it, I understand) and look at the bottles first. From the reviews I’ve seen, though, Hair One has a strong following, much like Wen.
While I’m happy with my softer, healthier hair, and more than happy to skip a step in the shower almost every day, not everyone will have the same results. Not everyone will be comfortable not using a high-lather hair cleanser; I still use a regular shampoo once a week myself. It took me a while to get used to the texture and it was hard at first not to try to lather it up. Also, everyone’s hair is different. What works for one person may not work the same way, or at all, for someone else. If you do decide to try a cleansing conditioner, do your research first and please make sure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients! Obviously, I’ve only tried one of the products currently on the market, so I can’t make a truly informed recommendation of one over the others.
For me it was a good move. I might even try some of the other cleansing conditioners on the market. Assuming I can find more without aloe…