Should You Be Using Conditioner Before Shampoo? Savoir Flair Investigates

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Conditioner before shampoo
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Chances are that if you washed your hair this morning, you shampooed it first and then conditioned it – but the big buzz in the beauty world currently suggests that we should be doing things the other way around. Yes, that means conditioning before shampooing. Sound a little strange? Maybe so, but this seems to be super beneficial for certain hair types.

“This isn’t a new trend as such. People have been conditioning their hair before shampooing for a long time,” explains Maria Dowling, Creative Director at the Mariadowling salon in Dubai. “The function of a conditioner is to coat the hair, add shine, and minimize tangles. Conditioning the hair before shampooing means that you still get the shine, but it won’t be as soft as it normally would be. This is perfect for fine hair that can become far too soft and heavy after conditioning, making it difficult to style. I wouldn’t recommend this for thick hair as it wouldn’t add enough softness to detangle it and keep it in condition.”

So should you be conditioning before you use shampoo? Savoir Flair taps leading hair experts to find out – once and for all.

Team "No"

“Shampoo is often an alkaline, which helps to open the cuticle to clean it, while conditioner is more acidic, which closes the cuticle. Closing the cuticle after you shampoo ensures that you prevent outside aggressions entering the cuticle. These aggressions can damage the hair and cause its color to fade,” explains Angel Montague-Sayers, Brand Ambassador at EIDEAL.

“For this reason I would never recommend conditioning the hair first. However, if my client is worried about the conditioner weighing her hair down, I recommend using a super-light conditioning spray. The Davines ‘DEDE Hair Mist’ is really light and helps close the cuticle whilst staying completely weightless in the hair. Also, as long as you are using the correct conditioner for your hair type, it shouldn’t be weighing it down.”

Should You Be Using Conditioner Before Shampoo? Savoir Flair Investigates

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Team "Yes"

“It is possible to condition before shampooing, but only on very fine and fragile hair,” says Joe Al Makdesi, stylist at The Ritz-Carlton JBR branch of Pastels Salon. “This is because conditioner is full of protein, so using conditioner on fine, fragile hair after shampoo can make it become oily and flat.”

Sean Paul Nother, stylist at the luxurious Daniel Hersheson salon in London, seconds this, revealing: “Reverse shampooing is great for fine, lackluster hair. The principal is to wet your hair down, apply the conditioner, rinse thoroughly, and then shampoo. The idea is that we never really have enough time to rinse all our conditioner out effectively, so doing it first ensures that your hair is completely product-free. There are many women who swear by it, and focusing on keeping the conditioner on the ends gives your hair the best chance of staying as volumized and as oil-free as possible.”

Top Tips for Conditioning First

1

According to Maria Dowling

“Put your conditioner on dry at night and apply only to the really dry, brittle areas. Then, rinse it in the morning and shampoo as normal, but don’t condition – this allows you to only treat the areas that need that extra bit of conditioning.”

2

According to Sean Paul Nother

“Sulfates in shampoo strip moisture from the hair, so reverting to the conditioning-before-shampoo method ensures that hair has as much moisture as possible and leads to fantastic results. Buy a shampoo that contains no sulfates, parabens, nor silicones. A shampoo containing cocamidopropyl is good. Get yourself conditioners and styling products such as mousse, gel, and cream that are free of silicones, too!”

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