Reverse Hair Washing: What It Is and How to Do It

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hair wash shampoo conditioner shower bath(Photo : Vecteezy/Rattanakun thongbun)

In the shower, the traditional haircare routine typically begins with shampoo to cleanse the scalp and remove impurities, followed by conditioner to restore moisture to the hair. This sequence has been ingrained in many routines because it makes sense to clean the scalp before nourishing the hair strands with conditioner.

However, there’s also a technique called “reverse hair washing.” Advocates of this approach claim that it might offer enhanced effectiveness and swear by its benefits.

This unconventional method just flips the script — apply conditioner before shampoo instead of the other way around.

How to reverse wash

To initiate the reverse hair washing technique, start by wetting your hair thoroughly. The first step involves applying conditioner, focusing primarily on the ends of your hair.

According to personal care company L’Oréal, concentrating conditioner where it’s needed most — such as the mid-lengths to ends — is recommended as these areas tend to be drier and require extra hydration.

After applying the conditioner, allow it to sit for a brief period before rinsing your hair thoroughly.

Following this, proceed with the next step by applying shampoo. Massage the shampoo into your scalp and then cleanse away using water any residual conditioner, dirt, and impurities.

Benefits of reverse hair washing technique

Healthline noted that there is a lack of scientific evidence backing the efficacy of the reverse hair washing, and it’s uncertain how many times it should be done.

Advocates of this technique assert that it prevents hair from feeling greasy or weighed down. They claim that applying conditioner before shampooing serves as a pre-wash primer, ensuring even distribution of shampoo while shielding the hair from losing its natural oils during cleansing.

Luxury department store chain Nordstrom recommends considering this method if dealing with fine or thinning hair, an oily scalp or hair prone to greasiness. However, it cautions that this technique may not suit everyone, especially those with thick hair.

The underlying idea is that reverse washing purportedly facilitates the hair’s absorption of essential moisture while preventing excessive moisturization, as shampooing after conditioning removes a portion of the conditioner. Additionally, this approach can potentially address the issue of flat or greasy-looking hair often associated with excess oil production.

How often should you do reverse hair washing

Healthline indicated that hairstylists commonly recommend limiting reverse washing to once a week, suggesting that the conventional shampoo-first method should be the primary approach for regular use.

According to Nordstrom, meanwhile, reverse washing can be incorporated as frequently as one’s regular hair washing routine. It noted that some may discover this technique extends the time between wash days, potentially allowing for a day or two longer before the next wash.

Ultimately, the frequency of using the reverse hair washing method varies from person to person. Some may find it suitable for occasional use to address specific hair concerns, while others may find it more effective to make it a regular part of their routine.

The key lies in understanding what works best for individual hair types and preferences, whether it’s sticking to the traditional shampoo-first routine and occasionally trying reverse washing, or adopting it as a regular practice based on personal experience and desired outcomes.

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