I Tried Conditioning My Hair Before Shampooing to Give It More Volume—Here's What Happened

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Apparently, I’ve been washing my hair wrong this whole time. I always thought I was supposed to shampoo before using conditioner. I’ve recently learned that using conditioner before shampoo can be more beneficial to my strands. The technique is known as reverse hair washing. It aids hair that is flat, dry, frizzy, or damaged. My locks check all those boxes.

Lately, my strands have been begging for more care. I could tell they were frustrated at me for not paying as much attention to them as I normally do. When I discovered reverse washing, I realized this was exactly what I needed to put my haircare routine back on track.

I tried the technique for seven days and was pleasantly surprised by the results. Scroll below to learn more about why you should use conditioner before shampoo and my experience with reverse washing!

The Benefits of Conditioning Before Shampooing

There are a number of benefits reverse washing brings to the table. Let’s get into them now!

1. It Adds Extra Nourishment to the Strands

Shampoo actually strips the hair of its natural oils, as some of you may already know. When you use conditioner first, it adds a protective layer to prevent this from happening. This keeps your hair hydrated and nourished as it should be.

2. It Gets Rid of Product Buildup

Conditioner is obviously thicker than shampoo. And though it moisturizes the strands, it can also weigh them down. This is especially true for those with fine tresses. So using shampoo after conditioner will help wash out any excess product buildup that can leave your strands looking lifeless. Your hair will be as voluminous as it’s ever been.

3. It Keeps the Oil at Bay

Similar to getting rid of product buildup, reverse washing is fantastic for those who have an oily scalp. The technique rinses out all the excess oil without getting rid of the natural oils.

How to Condition Before You Shampoo

There is no right or wrong way to condition before you shampoo. It mainly depends on the type and texture of hair you have. Those with fine, oily strands tend to benefit the most from reverse hair washing. But, even those with thick, curly tresses will experience healthier hair by following the technique.

Obviously, the only way this will work is if you apply conditioner from mid-shaft to the tips before you shampoo your scalp and ends. Haircare companies have created products specifically for reverse washing, though you can get away with using products you already have.

My Week-Long Experience Conditioning My Hair Before Shampooing It

After learning more about reverse hair washing, I finally felt comfortable giving it a go. Here’s what my hair looked like before I started the experiment.

Reverse hair washing before photo

As you can see, it’s fairly dry and lifeless. That’s why I tried reverse hair washing in the first place, to change all that.

Even though I did my research on how to get the most out of using conditioner before shampoo, I didn’t entirely follow all the notes given. There were plenty of sites that recommended it be done with a particular type of shampoo and conditioner, though I decided to use what I already had. I went with my Love Beauty and Planet Clean Oceans Edition shampoo and conditioner.

Applying conditioner to my strands before shampooing felt a bit strange at first. And the next day, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the results. This is what my strands look like after the first round of reverse washing.

Ashley's strands one day after trying reverse hair washing

To be honest, they look even flatter and finer than they did before I tried this. I wasn’t too impressed, though I knew it would take more time for real results to appear.

On the second day of the experiment, I began leaving the conditioner on my strands longer and keeping it on while I shampooed my scalp. This was when the results really began to show. My locks started to appear thicker and felt healthier the more I conditioned first.

When the seven days were up, my hair showed quite an improvement.

Reverse washing after

Given how the first day played out, I was slightly shocked by the final outcome. I don’t think there’s a drastic difference in the volume of my hair, but I will say it is as healthy as it has ever been.

I had been struggling with shedding strands prior to this experiment. Now, I don’t notice nearly as many falling out in the shower or during the day. Reverse washing has eased every bit of stress I had about my hair falling out.

I never thought reverse washing would work out for me the way it did. It was everything I needed and more.

Applying conditioner before shampoo is just one trick to try. Many also swear by only using conditioner to moisturize their strands, otherwise known as co-washing. HERE’S everything you need to know about co-washing!