Should You Be Conditioning Before You Shampoo?

Regardless of what products you use, most of us were taught to wash our hair the same way: shampoo (rinse, lather, rinse, repeat) then conditioner. And unless you're a co-washer, doing anything but that probably seems a little strange.

But, hair-care brands have started rolling out lines that ask us to do the complete opposite: condition before shampooing. And, according to them, it's a pretty easy trick to achieving a killer mane. "Conditioning before you shampoo is great for adding nourishment to fine hair without weighing it down," says Nina Dimachki, artistic director for Kérastase. "It also promotes a longer lasting blowdry and primes the hair before cleansing, allowing shampoo to distribute easier and more evenly."

Thin hair types aren't the only ones to benefit from swapping their bottle order. Dimachki says hair that is highlighted, tangles easily after shampooing, or is prone to greasiness is also a prime candidate for a pre-shampoo conditioner.

Lines like Kérastase's Résistance Thérapiste collection are formulated exactly for this. The shampoo and conditioner use keratin-associated proteins to strengthen hair, along with resurrection sap from the resurrection plant. (Which sounds bonkers, but is essentially a protein-rich plant extract.) When used in the right order, the duo helps smooth and hydrate even the most damaged hair.

Tresemmé is the latest brand to give this cocktail legitimacy. Its Beauty-Full Volume line specifically instructs users to condition their strands before shampooing. The result is major volume without the crunch of products you put in after your hair is dry.

But, you don't have to overhaul your routine to try this trick at home. Just take your normal shampoo and conditioner (or a mask), and reverse the order. If your hair is thick or coarse, you may benefit from a condition-shampoo-condition regimen, adds Dimachki.

There are some best practices to keep in mind if you're going to start this regimen. While we'd typically only use our conditioners from our ears down post shampoo, Dimachki says to saturate all your hair from root-to-tip if you're conditioning before you cleanse. "You will be cleansing it after, so your hair won't be weighed down or oily," she explains. If you typically lather up twice, she says to scrub the conditioner into your hair like a shampoo instead, equating it to an oil cleanser for your face.

Extra hydration sans-weight is never a bad thing, but it's especially amazing in the summer when our hair takes a hell of a beating. So, instead of trying to find a miracle formula to quench your thirsty strands, maybe just change up your roster order. Aren't the best answers always the simplest?
Advertisement

More from Hair