Wash Your Hair Backwards and be Silly…NOT!

Without me knowing it, I accidentally discovered a new way of hair-washing that has been getting other ladies in a rave feast! It’s unofficially called “Washing Your Hair Backwards”. Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve blind-folding yourself while walking 5 steps backwards to the left and shampooing your hair in a counter-clockwise motion. It’s just using your conditioner before shampooing your hair. I know it doesn’t make sense at first but I tried it, it worked for me and apparently, it’s worked well for a lot of other ladies, too.

Feed your hair before washing it
When I searched for this method, a similar article from No More Dirty Looks came out. It seems that the conditioner has a perfect pH level to seal the cuticle so the hair stays protected from all the friction when you start to shampoo your hair. Actually, I started using the backwards method about a year ago when I was experimenting with hair oils. I found that oiling my hair just before shampooing it makes it soft, conditioned but not limp. I’ve got fine hair and it’s easily weighed down by most conditioners and oils. But conditioning before shampooing leaves just enough moisture and oil on my hair.

Oily Scalp but Dry Hair? Limp hair? Try it backwards!
If like me, you’ve got oily scalp but dry hair, you probably know as much as I do that most oil-controlling shampoos dry not just the scalp but the hair, too. I’ve tried countless minty, lemony and whatnot shampoos for oily scalp and they always left my hair feeling brittle, frizzy and “dead”. But this changed when I started washing my hair backwards.

Now, what I do is oil my hair, skipping the roots, with Skin Apotheke’s Rejuvenating Hair Oil about 5-10 minutes before stepping into the shower. Then I shampoo my hair as usual. The downside is I don’t get the slide-the-comb smoothness after bathing so I still get tangles while my hair is wet. But when my hair finally dries and settles down, it’s soft, moisturized but definitely not limp. The best part is, my anti-oily scalp shampoo does it job of keeping my scalp oil-free without killing my hair!

Extra Dry Hair? Hate the Tangles?
If you don’t like the tangles or have extra dry hair that is thick and fluffy (meaning it can take the extra conditioning), you can also oil your hair first, shampoo it then lastly, apply a little bit of conditioner to help you get through the tangles. Or you can just use a bit of leave-on hair serum or light oil (macadamia and argan are great) once your hair dries. Some girls like to use heavy oils like coconut and olive for pre-shampoo oiling but since I have already limp and fine hair, my current hair oil is very light. I only use a dime-sized amount to coat my waist-length hair, focusing on the ends and the dry sections (Note: I’ve got very fine hair).

So if you haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot. What’s the worst thing that can happen, anyway? Yes, you doing something so silly such as actually washing your hair backwards. But that makes two of us… so yeah! Then please come back and tell us how it turns out, okay?


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  • lemon

    Yeah..I’ve done the same thing of leaving oil in my hair for 10-30 minutes before shampooing. I liked the effect, but at times I made the mistake of using too much oil so I had to wash my hair more than once and left my hair greasy. I find that this doesn’t work so well if I leave the oil overnight…it has to be just before shampooing. Would traditional conditioner be as effective (conditioner, shampoo, then conditioner again)? I’ll have to test this out. Thanks for post!

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Actually, when I can afford it, I also oil my hair overnight and wash the next day and it turns out okay. But I don’t use a lot of oil, only max of 2 dime-sized portions for my entire hair.. I’ve learned my lesson the hard and very oily way. I once oiled my hair overnight with coconut oil and I used quite a lot, enough to cover almost my entire hair. I had to bear walking around town with a greaseball for a head even after 3 washes. So yeah, I only apply just a bit and I concentrate on my hair ends. :)

  • Jesslyn

    Thanks for the tip! Gonna try it out today :)

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Do you have oily scalp-limp hair, too? let me know how it goes, yeah? :D

  • http://shadesforduskywomen.blogspot.com/ Sudhaa Gopinath

    Interesting post. Will definitely try it out today.
    Sudhaa Gopinath recently blogged..e.l.f. Essential Little Black Beauty Book

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      If your hair is thick or extra day, it might not work as well. My hair is fine, has the tendency to go limp although it’s dry. But my scalp is very oily so I need to balance both by washing my hair backwards.

  • http://ahoardofgoodwill.wordpress.com/ Carrie

    Condition your hair before shampooing?? Really?? This is definitely interesting coz I haven’t been using the conditioner for a while just because I have oily scalp and I find that conditioning my hair afterwards will just make my hair become oily quicker >”< But if it is before shampooing then it should be alright~ will try this method today :D
    Carrie recently blogged..Evil speech is the sharpest sword / 惡口是最銳利的劍

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Yes, I had the same problem. I couldn’t use conditioner due to my oily scalp (although I desperately need to due to having dry hair). So this trick worked really well for me. But I never apply my conditioner on my scalp, just on my hair ends. Let me know how it goes! :)

  • http://www.prettybeautiful.net xin

    thanks for this!! i have read it somewhere before but i have never practiced it considering that i have an oily scalp. but now i got to try this :D i just bought a bodyshop shampoo for deep cleansing yesterday, as the SA strongly recommended. hope it works!
    xin recently blogged..Hi Juliet! I love how you cleanses my face! Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser Review

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      I think conditioning before using the shampoo would help protect your hair since most clarifying/anti-oily scalp shampoos fry the hair. Hope it works on you, let me know, too! :)

  • http://nanaymiriam.wordpress.com Lanie

    vivi,

    I have been doing this backwards thing the last few weeks, as I was transitioning to natural hair/no poo method..

    sunflower oil/olive oil works best for my hair.. I try to spray water on my ends first.. then put the oil into the ends of my hair.. then brush my teeth.. then hit the shower…

    since am testing the poo method on my hair.. I wash my scalp with baking soda (alkaline)… great for oily scalp but extremely drying and will make my hair so brittle if used on its own… then rinse with water… and then with diluted ACV as my last rinse..(acidic)..

    Every Friday
    so oil (for the ends) ==> then baking soda (for the scalp) ==> diluted ACV==> for the hair and scalp is my No Poo (no shampoo method)

    Every Tuesday
    I just wash my hair with conditioner (no poo) still– as conditioners apparently have ingredients that can also clean the hair and scalp

    The baking soda scalp wash and diluted ACV rinse.. worked wonders for my itchy oily scalp.. I have never felt so clean and light before when using shampoo… so I think am gonna stick with this method for a while…

    One complete distaster though, is I experimented using Kerastase OLeo relax masque after my baking soda/ACV wash/rinse and slept on it, Kerastase have silicones that seals out moisture and also very bad for my hair type… as it is has too much protein and very coarse… apparently the only way to remove the silicones is to wash it with sulfate based shampoo…
    so yesterday I purchased a sulfate based clarifying shampoo to remove the silicones on my hair..

    Today am back to the no poo method…which also incorporates your washing hair backwards method.
    my hair looks so clean and a lot softer without Kerastase …
    Lanie recently blogged..Transitioning to Natural Hair/ No Poo Method

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Great to hear that No Poo method works for you. Unfortunately, I tried it and it didn’t work for me. And I don’t think it’s just because my scalp was adjusting–or if it was, it wasn’t convenient for me to wait through the adjustment period as my scalp went haywire and I broke out with severe dandruff.

      But I know it does work for some people. :)

      The weird thing about me is my scalp seems to be a centerpoint of detox in my body. I don’t get body odor and my body sweat doesn’t smell at all but my when my scalp sweats, it smells like an old, unwashed pillow. So I can’t afford not to wash my hair with proper shampoo. I use only shampoos free of sulphates and other nasties but still, I gotta use shampoo.

      I’ll be interested to read about your No Poo updates after a month! :)

  • http://scatterbrainadventures.blogspot.com Rae

    Another effective and easier method is to use conditioner alone, without shampoo.

    Conditioners usually have surfactants (cleansers too) and it cleans without stripping your hair of too much oil. I’ve been doing this a lot lately, and my hair looks so much healthier.
    Rae recently blogged..Practical Bridesmaid Dresses

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Unfortunately, I can’t do that Rae. My scalp can’t take conditioner or not enough washing. I’m dandruff prone so if I don’t use shampoo, the dirt will build up and I’ll start having severe dandruff.

      And… my scalp gets this just-up-from-bed smell easily which requires a stronger sufectant to get rid of. :p

  • http://perfectskincareforyou.blogspot.in/ Swati

    great Vivi…even I have thought lot of times about using the conditioner before but then oiling does take care of the entire thingy…suits limp and oily hair really well but not so suitable for dry!!!
    Swati recently blogged..Vitamin E for glow {Reader’s Tips}

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Yeah, not so suitable for super dry hair. If hair is too dry, I think it’s better to oil the hair, shampoo then still use conditioner in the end. :)

  • http://nanaymiriam.wordpress.com Lanie

    @ rae, I did the co-wash yesterday (co-wash means washing with conditioner–as if conditioner is the shampoo.. my hair feels so soft and my natural waves more defined (I used to dislike my natural waves, but now am beginning to appreciate it)…but today, my scalp is itching!

    @ vivi — well for me its the other way around, shampoo gives me dandruff! :( and just yesterday, proved that the conditioner can also make my scalp itch– though I dont see dandruff yet… I dont think its because I didnt rinse enough, cause I did really rinse out so well (its probably too much rinsing?)

    am going to wash my hair with baking soda/ACV rinse again tomorrow.. and also dye my hair using henna.. (fingers crossed)—i hope it wont end as a disaster…yea will keep you posted after a month’s time..
    Lanie recently blogged..Transitioning to Natural Hair/ No Poo Method

  • http://perfectskincareforyou.blogspot.in/ Swati

    btw, Vivi…how do you apply the conditioner??? ears down or even on the scalp???
    Swati recently blogged..Black Pepper to cover Gray Hair {Reader’s Tip}

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      I never apply conditioner on my scalp. Usually, I just apply from ears downwards or apply all over but just lightly on the surface of hair above my ears, never touching the scalp, just for a tad of shine. If I do, either I get super bad (as in really bad) dandruff or my hair becomes too limp.

  • Brownies

    I am a girl with natural curls. I am also one of those who poured chemicals onto my hair without knowing the consequences. 3 years ago, I finally took the efforts to embrace what my parents have given me: wavy and thick hair. I am also one of those doing backward conditioning. It is working fine and my hair is not that frizzy. I do mix oil, leave-in conditioners and my main conditioners for around 20-30 minutes before washing my hair. I need the oil to weigh my hair down since I have dry and thick hair. My hair gets dry and frizzy and I am still thinking of ways to handle it naturally beside using hair styling creams all the time.

    I have been using the low-poo method for over 2 years and my scalp has adjusted low sulfate routine. I still cannot do will no-poo method as my hair will get too oily to handle. The efforts are worth it, but I do have good and bad hair days though.

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Hi Brownies, I appreciate your insight on low poo and backward hair-washing :) I have natural waves which, during my younger years, I also tried to tame using heavy chemical treatments (rebond, relax + hair color). But unlike yours, my hair is super fine so it’s both prone to being frizzy and limp, quite a rare combo. So do you use your oil + leave-in conditioner concoction before shampooing or after shampooing?

      And does your leave-in conditioner contain silicones?

      • Brownies

        I just oil plus conditioner(Deep conditioning conditioner ) before shampooing. There will be another lighter conditioner after the shampoo too.

        All my hair products (Shampoo, conditioner, styling creams ) are silicones free. My hair frizzes if I put them on.

        Normally I get my products from curlmart (USA based) shipping can be a killer, but worth my effort, in my opinion.

  • http://www.lovelycosme.blogspot.com Lynn

    What is your current shampoo now,Vivi? also,mind to tell me the abreviation of ACV?:D
    Lynn recently blogged..100% Pure Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20 in Golden Peach

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Hi Lynn, I’ve current used the last drop of the product I posted about this morning. :) I’m experimenting with other brands but still no success.

      ACV = Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s good for normalizing the scalp but it must be diluted with water or you’ll fry your hair (or smell like a walking spring roll sauce :p).
      Vivi recently blogged..Did V&M A Hair Story Emu Shampoo Save me from Oily Scalp and Dandruff?

  • http://www.rawdorable.blogspot.com shannonmarie (rawdorable)

    That’s genius. I have to try it.
    shannonmarie (rawdorable) recently blogged..Breaking the ice

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      let me know how it works! <3

  • Veronica

    I cannot tell you how this works wonders for me! My whole family has been cursed with oily and greasy scalps AND hair for so long! I started this method 3 weeks ago, thinking I have nothing to lose since I wash my hair everyday and it always gets dry and ugly after a while.
    All I can say is Faaabulous! My hair is really short for a girl, so when I apply the conditionner to some places, I touch my scalp but after washing it, the parts touched with the conditionner don’t get all that oily! I don’t want of sound like an over praising grandma but I am so happy I found this! Thank you Vivi!

    • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

      Veronica, I’m so glad this method worked for you! :D

      One thing you have to probably consider when you always wash your hair backwards is to do some deep cleansing at least once a week or whenever you feel your hair is getting to be quite oily. Because after a while, the oil builds up, as well. I experienced this recently. But I’m still really loving this backwards method, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the ‘normal’ way.

  • http://www.beauty-box-online.com Beauty Box

    Ooo this sounds like a pretty interesting method to hair washing. I have tried oiling my hair before shampooing, but I would still follow up with conditioner after. Perhaps that is too much…I’ll try this backwards method and report back ;-)
    Beauty Box recently blogged..End Of My 30-Day Beauty Buy Ban: Thoughts & Ruminations