You’ve probably heard about cleansing conditioners, but it may sound like an oxymoron since shampoo is what we are accustomed to using to remove buildup and oil from our hair. Traditional shampoos are formulated with chemicals and detergents known as sulfates to provide hair with a deep clean. Sulfates cause the shampoo to lather, which most of us associate with “clean hair” when, in fact, the harsh chemicals can be doing more harm than good.
A cleansing conditioner provides hair with a gentle removal of buildup without stripping the scalp of the natural oils that nourish it, in addition to infusing hair with tons of moisture. Basically, it’s made with all the good stuff your hair needs without the detergents and chemicals. This hair-washing method isn’t anything new for women with curly hair or Chaz Dean, the creator of one of the most popular co-wash products ever. Co-washing, a term adopted for cleansing conditioners way back when, has been a go-to method of washing tightly-wound curls or extremely coarse hair for years, and women with fine and straight hair are starting to jump on the glossy-hair bandwagon as of late.
Cleansing conditioners are one of the few universal hair products, meaning anyone can use them regardless of hair type or color. In fact, many women with color-treated hair are turning to these formulations to keep hair from fading and to restore moisture levels. It’s perfect for someone who has chemically-treated hair since it will help alleviate the damage and soften natural curls.
The products are meant for use on wet hair the same way you would use shampoo — yes, you should massage it into the scalp and work it through the lengths as well. You can leave the product in the hair throughout the duration of your shower to maximize nourishment before rinsing it out at the end. Here, a few of our favorites to help cut your shower time and boost your hair’s health and silkiness in one step.