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Everything You Need to Know About Cleansing Conditioners

When I first heard about cleansing conditioners, I was intrigued. How could you clean your hair without shampoo? Wouldn’t putting conditioner on your roots make your scalp more oily? Is it “more natural” than traditional shampooing and conditioning? 

Shampoos may remove dirt from your scalp, but they also strip your scalp of natural oils. As a counterbalance, you use conditioner to re-add the oils and hydrate your hair. This can dry out hair and the excess rubbing can create unnecessary frizz and damage. 

Cleansing conditioners clean and hydrate in one step. They don’t strip the hairs of their natural oils, reducing frizz and dryness. They don’t lather, like soap, but the sulfate-free conditioners remove dirt from your scalp. 

They are ideal for those with frizzy, dry, unruly hair, especially if your hair is curly. 

My hair loosely fit into these categories, so I decided to give “no-poo” washing a try. I would describe my hair texture as wavy when it wants to be. But, right away after using cleansing conditioner, my hair strands would dry into tight ringlets.

During the first few weeks, my hair would get oilier quicker. Instead of washing every two days, I had to wash every other day. The cleansing conditioners are gentle enough to use everyday. Once I adjusted, my hair looked silkier and softer, without the grease. 

My shower time was cut almost in half by the cleansing conditioner. I didn’t realize how long it took just to lather, rinse, condition, wait, and rinse my hair. The cleansing conditioner condensed my shower routine into a few steps, and it let me carry less products to the bathroom. 

I suffer from the mild dandruff. If I don’t occasionally pair dandruff shampoo with the cleansing conditioner, I notice dandruff building up on my scalp. 

So, yes I would recommend cleansing conditioner. It may not fight dandruff, and can easily lead to greasy hair but it made my hair shinier, frizz-less, and curlier. Simple adjustments accounted for the issues I had with the product. For me, the pros outweigh the cons. If you have dry, damaged, or frizzy hair, I would consider picking up a bottle. It is a time-efficient, more natural way to wash your hair. But, I can’t say I’m ready to give up on classic shampooing just yet.

Freshman at JHU, from Maryland
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