When it comes to reviving our lifeless tresses, we’re always on the lookout for haircare products that we can add to our bathroom shelves, be it keratin shampoos for more shine, super-nourishing conditioners, or moisturising hair oils.
But switching up our hair-washing routine isn’t often what we’d give a second thought to. After all, the standard sequence goes: shampoo, conditioner, and, if we’re in the mood for pampering, a hair mask. How else could we possibly get creative when hosing down our hair?
Well, TikTok is telling us otherwise with a trending hack that’s been showing up on our For You Page. Creators on TikTok are proving to us that there is a way to change it up for our tresses in the shower, and it’s by using a method called “reverse hair washing”.
What is reverse hair washing?
Literally, “reverse hair washing” involves reversing the sequence of how we usually wash our hair whilst in the shower. Instead of first washing the hair with shampoo, and then hydrating them with conditioner, this method of hair washing begins with conditioner before going in with shampoo.
The result is hair that’s super smooth and silky, as well as with fuller volume. It’s a particularly handy trick for those with thin or fine hair.
But does it really make sense to condition and then wash, and does this method of hair washing work for all hair types? We’ve got questions – and answers too.
How does reverse hair washing work?
Hair, when in contact with just water, is more porous than after shampooing, due to the water’s pH levels.
Therefore, by conditioning the strands pre-shampoo, reverse hair washing allows the conditioner’s nutrients to be infused into the hair shaft more easily, providing deep hydration to the hair.
Since conditioners are highly hydrating haircare products, reverse hair washing “plumps” up the strands with moisture, leaving hair both smoother and thicker too.
That’s essentially how “reverse hair washing works” to achieve hair that appears Rapunzel-smooth on TikTok.
Who is reverse hair washing for?
Since “reverse hair washing” causes strands to swell with moisture, it’s a great technique for those with thin or fine hair, as it helps the hair to look fuller and with fluffier volume.
If you find that your hair gets greasy and limp by midday, this is also a hair-washing method that you’d want to adopt into your routine. By conditioning the hair first, and then washing the (shaft-coating) conditioner away with shampoo, you avoid having heavy products weigh your hair down throughout the day.
At the end of the day, you’ll enjoy hair that’s lighter and less greasy too!
Those prone to bacne can also try doing “reverse hair washing”. The shampoo will help to wash (not just rinse) away the heavy conditioners from your hair and skin, which can help avoid clogged pores and back acne.
How to do reverse hair washing the right way?
Besides swapping the order of your shampoo and conditioner, “reverse hair washing” also involves deeper conditioning, a.k.a leaving the conditioner on your hair for a longer period.
After wetting your hair, apply conditioner from the ends to the top of the hair, but especially from the mid-lengths to the ends, and then leave it on for about three to five minutes before rinsing.
When you shampoo after, only shampoo close to your scalp. This way, the mid-lengths to ends of your hair will retain as much of the moisture that was imparted from the conditioner, leaving you with locks that really cascade down your back.
Best shampoo and conditioner sets for fine hair
John Frieda Frizz Ease Volume Lift Lightweight Shampoo and Conditioner
Designed specially for thin and fine hair, John Frieda’s Frizz Ease Volume Lift Lightweight Shampoo and Conditioner gently cleanses the hair without weighing it down. This set is safe for coloured hair, so get ready to enjoy fluffier volume instead of flat tresses after one wash!
L’Oreal Paris Ever Strong Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner
Tired of thin, fragile strands? L’Oreal Paris Ever Strong Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner is a duo that’ll help to thicken and strengthen your locks each time you wash your hair.
Rosemary leaf stars as the hero ingredient in these formulas; it works to fortify each strand so that they’re shielded against damage and your mane looks more voluminous overall. Your hair will also be left feeling oh-so-soft after.
Christophe Robin Cleansing Volumising Paste Pure With Rose Extracts and Volumising Conditioner
Best for those with both fine and greasy strands is the Christophe Robin Cleansing Volumising Paste Pure with Rose Extracts, which is a shampoo that really helps to absorb oil from the scalp and give your hair airy volume that lasts. The paste lathers up easily in contact with water too, so you won’t have to struggle with raking through your mane.
The downside is that some reviewers note it doesn’t help to preserve colour – so you might want to stay away from this pair if you’ve just gone for a colour refresh at the salon.
Christophe Robin Cleansing Volumising Paste Pure With Rose Extracts retails for RM220 (250ml) on Sephora.
Christophe Robin Cleansing Volumising Conditioner With Rose Extracts retails for RM200 (200ml) on Sephora.