Should I Condition Before or After I Shampoo?

If you're like most people, you've been shampooing and then conditioning all your life without stopping to give this routine a second thought. So the newer advice on 'reverse washing' might baffle you.

Reverse washing is using conditioner prior to shampoo. Caring for your hair in this order is a suitable prescription for fine, limp hair. But it's important to understand the purpose of shampoo and conditioner, and the benefits and drawbacks of reverse washing, to decide whether a change of habit is for you.

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Why Do We Use Shampoo And Conditioner?

Shampoo is used to clean the hair of excess oil and remove any unwanted build-up. Shampoos are generally lathered onto wet hair, focusing on the scalp, where sebum is concentrated. Some of our top rated shampoos include:

ELEVEN Hydrate My Hair Moisture Shampoo

A rich, lush formula, this gentle shampoo is built specifically for helping strands beat the dry Aussie heat whilst cleansing effectively without stripping moisture. Rich in nourishing ingredients and strengthening proteins, Hydrate My Hair Moisture Shampoo locks down the cuticle for smooth, nourished tresses with every use. Keep your mane clean – but not dry – with ELEVEN Hydrate My Hair Moisture Shampoo.

ELEVEN Hydrate My Hair Moisture Shampoo

Looking for a wash that won’t rinse away your hair’s health? You’ve found your perfect lightweight, gentle cleanser in KEVIN.MURPHY Angel.Wash. Designed for thinning or damaged hair, this gentle cleansers removes any trace of buildup, getting scalp and hair squeaky clean- without the squeak. Angel.Wash will leave you cleansed and balanced rather than cleansed and fried, protecting hair from damage while it cleans while rich botanicals strengthen. So wash away your past shampoo struggles- Angel.Wash will keep you clean, calm, and strong.


Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo maintains healthy moisture balance of hair and scalp. It leaves hair clean and fresh. This special shampoo contains piroctone olamine and climbazole that removes dry dandruff and itchiness. Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo contains rosmary oil, menthol, salicylic acid and ginger extract to soothe irritated, rubescent scalp.

Conditioner forms a coating on the hair's cuticle to protect and smooth the hair, leaving a sleek and shiny finish. Hair conditioners also penetrate the cuticle to hydrate the hair. Such products are applied to the lengths of the hair, especially the ends, which are older and typically more damaged. Some of our top rated conditioners include:

ELEVEN Hydrate My Hair Moisture Conditioner

Infuse strands with essential hydration by using ELEVEN Hydrate My Hair Moisture Conditioner. A rich, lush formula, this thirst-quenching conditioner is built specifically for helping strands beat the dry Aussie heat. So you know it’s ready to deliver seriously silky-soft results! Rich in fatty acids and strengthening proteins, Hydrate My Hair Moisture Conditioner locks down the cuticle for smooth, nourished locks with every use. Protect and perfect your mane with ELEVEN Hydrate My Hair Moisture Conditioner.

ELEVEN Hydrate My Hair Moisture Conditioner
KEVIN.MURPHY Hydrate-Me.Rinse

Looking for that classic, coveted supermodel shine? KEVIN.MURPHY Hydrate-Me.Rinse is the perfect choice for achieving your most hydrated, lustrous locks. Rich in essential vitamins and minerals for hair health, Hydrate-Me.Rinse enriches hair with strength and nourishment while providing ample hydration. Deeply moisturising oils like evening primrose powerfully infuse moisture into strands, keeping hair healthy, soft, smooth, and touchable. For the ultimate glimmering mane, KEVIN.MURPHY Hydrate-Me.Rinse is the perfect choice.

KEVIN.MURPHY Hydrate-Me.Rinse

With the same Olaplex Bond Building chemistry, the Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner is an extremely concentrated hair product. It improves hair hydration, while it offers nourishing ingredients that also help to repair damage to the internal bonds of your hair that cause signs of damage. Your hair is left feeling softer, with a shinier, healthier looking finish. Designed to improve the manageability of all hair types.

Those with fine or thin hair often struggle with conditioner and consider skipping the step all together. Using the wrong product or using it incorrectly can weigh hair down and stimulate oil production.

What Are The Benefits Of Reverse Washing?

Reverse washing is known to prevent the flattening side effects of conditioner whilst still allowing hair to benefit from the hydrating and protective qualities of the product. Applying a conditioner before washing coats your hair cuticles with protection. Once rinsed, the coating left behind acts as a primer for your hair.

This coating helps your shampoo spread more evenly, leading to less product build-up. The shampoo will wash away the heaviness of the conditioner but won't reverse the hydrating benefits and glossy finish.

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What Are The Drawbacks Of Reverse Washing?

Reverse-washing your hair can take a lot of experimentation. You'll need to see which products work best for your hair in this order, how much of each product to use, and where to apply it. This can lead to a few bad hair days!

Overall, there aren't many drawbacks for your hair's health with reverse washing. Some people just don't like the feeling of conditioning unwashed hair and may think their hair still feels unclean after the process.

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Should I Reverse-wash My Hair?

Reverse washing is particularly beneficial for those with thin or fine hair. But if you have thick hair, you can still enjoy the priming effect that a pre-wash conditioner brings. However, we recommend that you condition, shampoo, and then condition again to ensure that your hair is properly hydrated.

To reverse-wash, you need to apply conditioner all over you hair, as opposed to just the lengths. This is important to creating an even priming surface for the shampoo. You still need to rinse the conditioner thoroughly before applying shampoo. The coating alone will be enough to prime the hair.

It's also recommended you use a clarifying shampoo to ensure a thorough clean. We recommend Christophe Robin Clarifying Shampoo.

Reverse washing is a trend that has completely changed many people's hair routine. Although the process may not replace traditional washing across the board, it's worth some experimentation to see if your hair enjoys the benefits.

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