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Reverse Shampooing 101


My hair has a split personality thing going on. On one hand, it’s extremely fine so it can look flat and greasy in a hurry if I’m not careful. On the other hand, I color treat it so the ends can be seriously dry and frizzy. That definitely isn’t a pretty combination. And it makes conditioning my hair a real challenge.  If I use a conditioner that’s lightweight enough that it won’t leave my hair limp, my dry ends wind up looking like straw. But if I use a conditioner that’s hydrating enough to smooth my ends, the rest of my hair is usually weighed down and flat. I just can’t win.

That’s why when I heard about reverse washing, I was definitely intrigued – but also pretty skeptical. This simple little trick is meant to make sure your fine or thin hair gets all the conditioning that it needs but without leaving behind residue that can make it flat and greasy.  I’ve been doing it for the past month and I’ve got to say, I’m really liking the results so far.  So if you’ve got fine hair or your locks are just looking a little limp these days, you may want to give reverse shampooing a try. Here’s all you need to know about this new washing technique that delivers bouncy, shiny hair.
Know Your Type
All hair types aren’t created equal, so they won’t all see benefits from reverse shampooing. Before you try switching up the order of your shampooing routine, consider your hair type. Fine, thin, oily tresses typically see the best results. If you have thick, coarse, frizzy hair or your locks are seriously dehydrated, reverse shampooing might not provide enough moisture for your tresses so experiment on a day when you don’t need to be anywhere to see if it works for you.

Go In Reverse
The idea behind reverse shampooing is simple – swap the order of your usual hair washing routine by conditioning first and shampooing second.
But technique is important if you want healthy, moisturized locks. Start by thoroughly wetting your hair and applying conditioner mainly to the ends of your hair. Massage a small amount on your roots too, but be careful not to use too much. Let the conditioner sit on your hair for a few minutes as you normally would. When it’s time to wash out your conditioner, splash a little water on your locks but don’t completely rinse your hair completely. Then apply your shampoo and use it to wash all of the conditioner from your hair. Make sure to rinse thoroughly so there’s no residue left on your locks.

Choose Products Carefully
Reverse shampooing is easy enough, but you’ve got to use the right products if you want bouncy, shiny hair. Most conditioners work for reverse washing, but keep your hair concerns in mind when you’re choosing one. A lightweight conditioner like Paul Mitchell’s The Rinse is a good option for very fine or thin hair. If your hair is color-treated, or on the drier side, you might want to go with a heavier formula like Dove Damage Therapy Color Repair Conditioner. When it comes to shampoo, opt for a moisturizing formula that’ll leave your hair more manageable. Try the Organix Hydrating Macadamia Oil Shampoo for reverse washing.
Fight Dryness
If you feel like your hair isn’t as hydrated as you’d like after reverse shampooing, a little leave-in conditioner can help. I like to use the It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Lite on my fine hair when it needs a little extra conditioning. If you have thicker hair, try the original It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In for extra moisture.
If your hair still feels too dry, adjust how often you reverse shampoo. My hair becomes an oil slick if I don’t wash every day, but I only reverse shampoo three or four times a week. That gives me bouncy, voluminous hair but doesn’t leave me with dry ends. It’s also a good idea to deep condition once a week or every other week to ensure your hair’s getting enough moisture – I like the Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask when my locks need a little extra TLC.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing