Friday, 14 March 2014

Should You Ditch Your Shampoo & Conditioner For A Cleansing Conditioner?

Or is that conditioning cleanser? Tomato tomato. 

The first time I heard about them was when my friend told me she was no-pooing her daughter Claire with Deva Curl's No Poo Conditioning Cleanser. I was so confused! I kept asking myself, and her, but what IS it? Is it a shampoo? Is it a conditioner? No, it's super conditioner! #gerrit?

A cleanisng conditioner is basically a hybrid of a shampoo and conditioner. As the no-poo movement solidified (hardy-har-har), beauty companies quickly cottoned on to the fact that they would be seeing drops in shampoo sales yet they had to keep manufacturing them for the people who still pooed (*snigger). There was also a gap in the market for those die hard no-pooers who didn't want to use shampoos (even sulfate free ones), but still wanted a better clean than co-washing alone could provide. Cue the entry of the cleansing conditioner, so called because although most of the ingredients in it soften hair, they also contain mild surfactants that remove dirt, oil and product buildup at the same time. 

How do they they differ from 2-in-1 shampoos, you ask? Well, these shampoo would probably be more of a conditioning cleanser, meaning that it's primary role is to clean; the majority of ingredients are geared towards cleaning with some conditioning ingredients thrown in for effect. If you have ever used them (which I haven't), you will find that they are not as drying as plain old shampoos and leave your hair relatively soft*. Another difference is that these new age cleansers are mostly, if not all, sulfate-free, in keeping with the no-poo trend that birthed them.

*based on a survey done of my husband, who sometimes washes his hair with soap if he's run out of shampoo and who I now discover goes without conditioner until his straw-like hair pokes holes in my pillowcases..and yet he still has a lush, McDreamy-esque head of hair. Sigh. Some people have all the luck. We shall therefore disregard findings of this survey. 

Do they work or are they yet another clever gimmick by the beauty industry to get your hard earned cash? I haven't tried one yet but,based on the reviews I've read, they work quite well at cleaning hair, although they would not be effective at removing things like silicones et al. Because of their cleaning properties, they do have to be rinsed out thoroughly and can not be used as a leave-in but they are popular amongst users because they are so gentle. They are also effective conditioners but they need to be used in conjunction with a good leave-in as they don't leave hair as conditioned as plain old conditioner. So basically, hang on to your conditioner but, if you avoid cones, you may be able to bin your shampoo, or, at least, use it less often. 

The biggest draw  for beauty companies is that they are not only used by naturals or curly haired individuals, even the straighties use them. They have become the new It Girl of the hair industry and lots of brands have jumped on the bandwagon;WEN was one of the first to release a cleansing conditioner,followed quickly by L'oreal and Pantene and now every beauty company worth it's salt has one available, including popular natural hair brands like As I Am, Carol's Daughter and Shea Moisture. 

I have been gifted the two above and will be reviewing both in time. I will also research into which brands are available locally and where from.


  1. I am a believer in the cleansing hair turns to a big hot mess when I use shampoo and sulfate free ones tend to be worse. I use the As I Am Cleansing Pudding ( not Co-wash) which I love because it looks and feels like a DC, the instructions actually say to let it sit on the hair for 3 minutes. It cleanses the hair and scalp thoroughly without the stripping effect, and the hair does feel conditioned.

    1. How often do you use it? Do you still cowash?