Trending: Reverse Shampooing

Trending Reverse Shampooing
(image source: desiBeauty)

You have probably seen the words “reverse shampooing” or “reverse hair washing” being thrown around quite a lot lately. This new ‘trend’ was first picked up by the Daily Mail after Alison Freer from XOJane posted about how she had tried it and fallen in love with it. It involves flipping your routine and using conditioner first, followed by shampoo. The theory is that using conditioner last means that it is never rinsed out completely, leaving residue in the hair and weighing it down. By using it first, the hair soaks up all the benefits of the conditioner! Or so they say… I decided to give it a go for a full week, and was surprised by what I found!

After some further digging, I found the best way (completely relative term!) to reverse shampoo was to condition the ends of your hair first (with a sneaky swipe over the top of your head if you need), letting it sit for 3-4 minutes before rinsing it out, and then shampooing the roots of your hair. When you rinse out the shampoo, it travels down the hair, washing away the conditioner without stripping the hair of it’s new gloss and shine.

Remember – this is all in theory. And plenty of people were claiming that it was especially wonderful for people with fine hair, giving them volume like never before! So I dove right in and spent a full week reverse shampooing, and here is my seven-day rundown:

Day 1: Geez. You need to use a WHOLE LOT of conditioner for this to work. More than twice what I normally use. But ooh – after rinsing it out, it feels so soft! It was hard to actually shampoo it afterwards!
Day 2: I’m an everyday hair-washer, and normally when I wake up my hair is a greasy, flyaway mess. But this morning I feel like I could almost leave the house without washing my hair. It’s looking promising!
Day 3: Volume! I didn’t think my hair could stay bouncy all day, but it HAS!
Day 4: Hmm. Hair starting to feel a bit dry. Worried that the volume is just caused by damage…
Day 5: Having to use even more conditioner to make it feel good. And not using it on the top of my head is leaving all my new little hairs feeling very neglected. This added volume is probably just the new hairs screaming for help.
Day 6:  I think my hair is angry with me. It feels really dry, which is very unusual for me, but at the same time it’s limp and lifeless. It’s become a complete contradiction.
Day 7: Baby come back! My hair has lost all shine and bounce, and I feel terrible for the way I have treated it. I have never felt so many emotions over a seven day period – but safe to say I will not be doing this again! My hair is going straight into a ponytail today, and tomorrow we will forget this ever happened.

So there you have it. After using the ‘reverse shampooing’ technique for a full week, my hair felt dry and damaged, no matter how much product I used afterwards. So yes there might have been more volume – but at the risk of healthy hair. I turned to an industry expert to see if he could explain my results:

“I don’t encourage the reverse shampooing technique that is trending  in the beauty world at the moment. The technique can help create volume but can cause a lot of other problems and lead to unhealthy hair. Conditioner is designed to close the cuticles (after the shampoo opens up the cuticles) to leave the hair smooth and protected.

By shampooing last, you are leaving the hair’s cuticles open and more vulnerable to sun, heat and chemical damage and prone to breakage overtime. People with coloured hair in particular should stay clear of reverse shampooing to avoid colour fading.

If you want to get the extra volume that the ‘reverse shampooers’ are talking about but keep your hair protected from the elements, use a volumising shampoo or conditioner instead.”

– Joey Scandizzo, co-creative director of ELEVEN Australia

Phew! I’m relieved that Joey could back up my findings – and I find the final sentence a little bit hilarious, as I’m imagining him rolling his eyes having to give such common sense advice! Of course, everyone’s hair is different, and there are plenty of people claiming that they’ve been doing this for years with great success – but it is definitely not for me.

Have you tried reverse shampooing? I’d be really interested to hear what other people think of it.

About Amy | The Foolish Obsession

Amy is a bunny-owning, floral-loving Sydney girl, excited to bring her love of Australian beauty, skincare & lifestyle services to a larger audience.