I tried reverse hair washing and here’s what happened


So, it’s 12:45am and your laptop screen is aglow with Pinterest, and you’ve lost track of how many minutes (hours?) you’ve spent clicking on recipes and rad tattoos you might want on your body someday. And then you see it. A beauty tutorial that claims it will change your life forever. And you are intrigued. So you click on said beauty tutorial and you bookmark it for later, but you probably forget about it because hey, your routine is pretty solid as is, and why ruin something beautiful.

This happened to me one night and the beauty tutorial or “lifehack” I encountered on the wonderful world of Pinterest was this: Reverse Hair Washing.

Reverse Hair Washing (which actually came from a 2014 Glamour UK article) says that you need to be washing your hair with conditioner first, THEN shampoo. Reverse Shampooing “promises to give your hair way more volume — recreating the effects of freshly blow-dried hair.”

So, I tried it. And here’s how it went.

For products, I used what I always use to wash and condition my hair: Biolage Color Care Shampoo and Brazilian Blowout Acai Deep Conditioning Masque.


Here’s what my normal routine looks like:


This is what my hair looks like when I go about my normal routine. I wash my hair, I give it a quick blow dry, and later on I sometimes straighten it. For this experiment, I didn’t use any products at ALL, just shampoo and conditioner. Without products, my hair is harder to detangle and kinda dry (it’s also been dyed a bunch and bleached and then dyed again, so).


I gave my hair a few days to get its grease on, hopped in the shower, and used conditioner first this time. It felt weird. I was washing my already oily AF hair with oily goo, and everything just felt heavy. After I did my best to wash the conditioner out, I tried to lather my hair with shampoo, but it was really hard to lather. The shampoo just kind of chilled on my hair without creating any suds.

Once I washed out the shampoo, my hair still didn’t feel super clean, but I just went with it, because maybe this is how healthy, voluminous hair is supposed to feel. Brushing it was kind of a nightmare (no extraneous products used this time, either), and after I blow dried my hair, it felt insanely dry and poofy.

Straightening my hair felt like I was straightening a Barbie doll’s hair. It felt thicker, but harder. But after I was finished straightening, my hair looked like it always does —it  just felt different.

When I washed my hair with conditioner first and then shampoo, it was hard to manage, and hard to style the way I normally style it. BUT my hair did feel like it had more volume. It was also frizzier. Reverse Hair Washing might be more beneficial for gals and guys with thinner hair who want more oomph. Since my hair is pretty thick and frizzy already, this methodology is probably not for me. TBH, I’ll be sticking to my regular ‘ole shampoo- first routine.

(All images via Shutterstock; iStock; Gina Vaynshteyn)