We've Been Washing Our Hair Wrong Our Entire Lives

This story was originally posted July 2, 2016.

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.

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?

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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.

Kérastase Soin Premier Thérapiste, $45, available at Kérastase.
Shea Moisture's cleansing conditioner is a great option, too — especially for those with seriously parched hair. It's packed full of shea butter and neem and coconut oil to intensely hydrate and repair.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser, $11.99, available at Shea Moisture.
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.

Tresemmé Beauty-Full Volume Pre-Wash Conditioner, $4.99, available at Target.
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.

The Seaweed Bath Co. Smoothing Argan Conditioner, $12.99, available at The Seaweed Bath Co.
For those with very dry hair, consider pre-pooing with a treatment rather than a conditioner. This one contains avocado butter to seriously hydrate parched hair.

Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment, $9.00, available at Burt's Bees.
Viola Davis told Redbook that this co-wash seals in moisture like none other. She uses it on her daughter, too.

As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner, $9.49, available at Walgreens.
This detangling formula uses baobab leaf extract to volumize and strengthen, while vitamins A and E hydrate without weighing down fine, frazzled hair types. The real star ingredients are the rose water and extracts, which have deeply nourishing properties without ever feeling heavy.

Christophe Robin Volumizing Conditioner with Rose Extracts, $43, available at Sephora.
Sometimes, prepping your hair with coconut oil before washing can get sloppy... and conditioning can take forever. Oribe's balm won't make a mess, and it's packed with oils and extracts that protect your hair from harsh water and shampoos that can strip.

Oribe Gold Lust Pre-Shampoo Intensive Treatment, $68, available at Oribe.
This rosehip- and- argan oil-infused treatment, which goes on like a gel, is meant to treat your hair overnight.

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Gel-to-Oil Overnight Repair Treatment, $28, available at Sephora.
Specifically designed for curly and coiled hair textures, this conditioner helps add smoothness and softness, while also nixing flakes and dry, itchy scalps.

Head & Shoulders Moisture Care Co-Wash, $6.92, available at Walmart.
No need to carry two bottles in your gym bag: this formula, great for curly guys and girls, is super-hydrating, nixing the need to condition after you shampoo.

Vernon Francois CO~WASH Shampoo, $28, available at Sephora.
This formula is low on suds — which is a good indicator of a strong, sulfate-free cleanser.

Arrojo ReNEW CoWash, $21, available at Arrojo.
"This is great for textured hair because over-shampooing in this hair type can cause more damage and strips the strands of natural oils," Lacy Redway tells us.

Pantene Gold Series Deep Hydrating Co-Wash, $9.19, available at Target.
This thick mask has a unique whipped texture that goes on dry strands before you even step into the shower, which means that it's perfect for anyone who needs serious hair rehab, but doesn't want to stand around in the bathtub for 15 minutes for a traditional mask to work. So, everyone.

R+Co Palm Springs Pre-Shampoo Treatment Mask, $29, available at R+Co.
This one works triple duty by not only cleansing and hydrating the scalp, but also exfoliating it. Use it once a week at the end of a relaxing weekend to whisk away the Sunday scaries.

Christophe Robin Cleansing Mask with Lemon, $69, available at Sephora.
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