Reverse hair washing turns traditional hair care upside down – here’s what it’s all about…

Reverse washing is a literal name for switching around the traditional order of shampooing and conditioning hair. You’ll condition, rinse, and then shampoo your hair to finish things off.

Can anyone reverse wash?

Technically yes, but not everyone would benefit equally from it. If you have fine hair, or hair that tends to become greasy quickly, I would recommend that you at least try reverse washing a couple of times.

It can also be useful if you have a sensitive scalp. I have both a sensitive scalp and fine hair, so this solves both problems for me.

I use soothing conditioners or treatments on my scalp, which would leave my hair feeling heavy and/or greasy with traditional washing. If I give my hair a light shampoo after rinsing off the soothing treatments, I eliminate this problem.

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Irina Pusepp –


Which shampoos and conditioners can you use?

There are some specially formulated/marketed product duos that are indicated specifically for reverse washing, but you can do it with any sham & con. You still generally don’t have to apply conditioner to hair any higher than your ears – you’ll see most benefit using it on the lengths and ends.

I do, however, use the opportunity to alternate my regular volumising conditioners for variants with different treatment properties. I find that I still get the benefit, but none of the weigh-down.

sonjachnyj –

When should you not reverse wash?

Reverse washing isn’t going to be of much benefit to curly and dry hair types – those need the moisture barrier of a conditioner after every wash. This is the general rule, but don’t let this stop you from trying – you may enjoy the change in texture, especially with curls.

If you have hair that’s particularly prone to static and you live in an area with dry winters, I would skip reverse washing in winter. Traditional washing goes further in preventing moisture loss and keeping static at bay.

Remember to use protection

Don’t forget that you’ll still need the same serums/finishing oils and heat protectors as before. Reverse washing doesn’t leave your hair in a fragile or stronger state vs traditional washing, it generally only changes the texture and feel of your hair. Thus you shouldn’t need more finishing and heat protection products than before, but don’t abandon them altogether.