Reverse hair washing - By Megan Kelly

What is reverse hair washing?

Reverse hair washing - By Megan KellySince cutting my hair, I have noticed that my hair is getting oily a lot sooner, in fact, it feels like my hair is dirty right from out of the shower. Products tend to feel heavier and build up in no time, on my shorter locks, so I started researching ways to prevent this from happening and came across reverse washing.

Reverse washing is the method in which you use conditioner before shampoo, thereby reversing the usual order that you would wash your hair. The idea is that conditioner coats your hair but doesn’t rinse out very well, so by shampooing your hair afterwards, you will rinse the conditioner from your hair, eliminating any product build-up.

I decided to give this a try and 3 failed attempts later, I finally managed to get the method right! For over 20 years, I have been trained to use shampoo before conditioner and trying to undo that habit proved to be difficult. I kind of realized how I went into auto-pilot mode when washing my hair, opting to use shampoo before conditioner was just a natural flow of order and something that I did without even really thinking about. I had to constantly remind myself that I needed to use the conditioner before shampoo, but would miserably fail and put it off until the next time.

Eventually, I managed to pull it and I wasn’t sure if I was happier about the results or the fact that I had gotten it right!

After washing, my hair felt a little lighter but there wasn’t a remarkable difference in texture until it dried. When I woke up the following morning, there was no frizz! My hair was voluminous and soft but not the kind of “too-soft” that you can’t manage or tame, to put in a pony-tail. It was reasonably easy to comb through and overall I was quite happy with how it turned out. The real test would be to see how it wore for the days that followed. Since cutting my hair, I find that half way through the second day after washing, my hair starts getting oily and I can’t handle it being near my face but on the days that I reversed my washing routine, I didn’t experience that at all. In fact, by the end of the third day, I still hadn’t seen any major build-up besides the usual oil around my roots and with a spritz of dry shampoo, it was back to looking fresh.

I should probably note that I have only tried this with Organics shampoo and condition for normal hair BUT I am planning to try it with other brands, too. 

I had read about half a dozen articles on reverse washing, before trying it myself, so had very quickly familiarised myself with the dos and don’ts, but here’s the top 3 tips that everyone wants you to know:

  • Wet your hair before applying conditioner – I know, you would think that this would be obvious, but after reading some articles it seems that people lose their general sense of knowledge when they’re taken out of routine.
  • Leave your conditioner as long as you always have. You know how we leave our conditioner on while we shave, wash our body and whatever else? Well, you still do this! Conditioner soaks in and nourishes your hair from root to tip, so give it some time to work its magic.
  • Don’t rinse the conditioner out. Just don’t! You know those goldilocks pot scourers? Yeh, your hair will look and even worse… feel like one of those. By leaving the conditioner in and applying the shampoo directly to your conditioned hair, you’re washing the conditioner off and removing all product. But if you’ve already rinsed off the conditioner, then you’re basically just drying out your hair.

Would I do it again? Hell yes! A few of the articles that I have read said that this was not a new way of washing their hair but merely an addition to their hair routine. I feel that this has become my new way of washing my own hair especially as it’s shorter and tends to get oily quickly. I liked that this method didn’t require any fancy products and it just took swapping my usual routine to fix a problem that I was having.

Will you be trying reverse washing? I’d love to hear if it works for you!

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  • High Heels And Fairy Tales
    Posted at 18:20h, 02 March

    I have the same issue since cutting my hair as well! I’m trying it this evening!!

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    […] suits different hair types and as a little hint-hint, nudge-nudge, they work great when trying the reverse washing method, as the conditioner tends to be quite heavy so when you wash it out, the shampoo doesn’t dry […]

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    […] expected to have at least mastered my hair routine but had a rude awakening when I realized that my reversed washing wasn’t enough and that really, there is a missing link – oils! Truth is, no one likes […]

  • Sam
    Posted at 12:23h, 08 April

    Do you think this will work for short short hair as well?

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 12:25h, 08 April

      Hey Sam, I started reverse washing because I had cut my long hair to just under my ear. Shorter hair tends to be oiler so reverse washing works perfectly!

      • Sam
        Posted at 12:32h, 08 April

        Thanks Megs, I cut mine short short last December and I wash everyday (not ideal) am definitely going to give this a bash. xx

  • Janet
    Posted at 14:50h, 15 February

    Hmmm how interesting. I’m going to try this for sure!! Thanks 🙂

  • lauren hewitt
    Posted at 08:59h, 09 February

    Wow! I just cut my hair and I know what you mean about it looking greasy much quicker. If Aidan wasn’t awake I’d try this right now!

  • stephanie videira
    Posted at 21:13h, 08 February

    me to gonna try this as well

  • The Blessed Barrenness
    Posted at 09:37h, 08 February

    I have the same problem! I’m def going to try this tonight! Thanks for the tip!