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Washing Hair With Conditioner

More info about the no 'poo movement.

| March 16th, 2012
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Washing Hair With Conditioner

It may sound weird to wash your hair with conditioner since you usually think of conditioners as moisturizing, not cleansing. However, the no-poo method (as I like to call it) or co-washing (conditioner washing) is gaining in popularity. Why? Women (particularly those with dry or color-treated hair) want to avoid the harsh effects of shampoo detergents on their hair. Lets take a closer look at this emerging hair care trend.

How can conditioner wash hair?
There is actually science and logic to support this hair care regime. Shampoos are typically composed of about 10-15% detergent. They use surfactants like Sodium Laureth Sulfate or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate which do an excellent job of cleaning and removing oil from hair.

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Conditioners also have detergents, but they are different than those found in shampoos. They use cationic surfactants (or quats) which have the tendency to stick to the hair, which is how they provide conditioning. Common quats are Cetrimonium Chloride or Distearyldimonium Chloride. They're used at levels between 1% and 5%. Although they do stick to the hair, these ingredients also have the ability to cleanse the hair, which is why the no-poo washing system can work.

Is there a downside?
Your hair certainly won't feel as clean as it does after shampooing. Conditioner can build up on hair, making it feel heavy and greasy. It will also attract more dust and dirt from the air. Your best bet is to use a conditioner that does not contain silicones since silicone can build up and weigh hair down. In this case, cheaper conditioners are actually better since they usually don't contain silicones. Don't you love when cheaper is actually better?

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If you are unsatisfied with the way your hair feels after trying the no-poo method, just shampoo your hair occasionally or try a hot oil treatment. I know this might sound crazy but hot oil does not actually have oil in it! It is composed of a quat (just like the ones used in conditioners) called Cocotrimonium Chloride. This product will give your hair a good cleansing without using the harsher detergents found in shampoo (it even foams!).

Bottom Line
The no-poo method is not for everyone, but some people like the way it makes their hair feel. No-poo means your hair has less exposure to harsher detergents, will be less damaging and may even do a better job of protecting your hair color and shape. However, if you have oily hair or just can't stand that "coated" feeling of conditioner, then this is likely not an option for you. Since I have dry, wavy hair, I switch between the shampoo and no-poo methods and personally love the results! Since you probably already have conditioner in your shower, you can easily experiment with this method without having to purchase anything and see the results for yourself!

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