Friday, January 23, 2015

Washing Your Hair Without Shampoo?! My Experience Using Cleansing Conditioner

This is not a sponsored post.  No one paid me to write about this or asked me to.  I have absolutely no affiliation with any of the products mentioned in this post.  I am writing about this quite simply because it is something that has changed the way I take care of my hair, and I wanted to pass it on to my readers.

How many of you have heard or read about cleansing conditioners?  Miss 18 Year Old is responsible for my curiosity about this new hair care trend.  She does not use cleansing conditioner, she uses bar shampoo (that is a whole 'nother story though).  But I was having a conversation with her about this whole topic, and it picked my interest.  I decided to do a google search about it, and I stumbled upon cleansing conditioners.  I was curious and wondered what they were like, but that is where it stopped.

If you don't know what cleansing conditioner is, here is a brief synopsis of what they are.  Cleansing conditioner is not shampoo.  These conditioners contain little to no chemicals (or sulfates) and detergents that strip dirt and oil from your hair, leaving your hair dry, brittle, or damaged.  All of the sulfates in shampoo are what makes the lather and leaves your hair with that sqeaky clean feeling. The feeling that most people are used to, and how we gauge that our hair is clean.  That feeling is so natural to most people, but that is actually damaging your hair!  Can you believe that?  I was very suprised to read this- and I read this on many many different websites, not just one.  Cleansing conditioner cleans your hair without all of those harsh chemicals and the natural oils in cleansing conditioner add hydration to your hair, and are said to be ideal for people with thick, dry, or curly hair.  Well, I fall right into that category!  But they do claim to be the best thing for all hair types, including fine, thin, oily hair, and also for hair of all ethnicities.

Let me digress a little and just let you know that I have very thick, ever so slightly wavy (ever since I had children) and dry hair.  I have never been one to wash my hair on a daily basis.  I read many years ago that it was not healthy to wash your hair daily, and I took that advice to heart.  Since childhood, I have always only washed my hair 3-4 times per week.  

One day last summer, I was doing my weekly shopping and needed shampoo and conditioner, and for the first time, I saw that Pantene had a Cleansing Conditioner on the shelf, and at a very reasonable price- only $6 or so.  I decided right then and there that I was going to give this new craze a try.  I have been using cleansing conditioner on a regular basis now for over 6 months, so I wanted to tell you about my experience with it.  I will start with the Pantene Cleansing Conditioner Damage Repair which is pictured below, and then after that I will tell you about my entirely different experience with Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner.  

The very first time I used the Pantene product, I will admit, I was slightly put off by how my hair felt afterwards.  As I touched on above, I was so used to that squeaky clean feeling that I got from using regular shampoo and conditioner all of my life.  After I used it for the first time, and my hair was dry, when I touched down into my scalp, my hair still felt dirty.  It was not the feeling I was used to. But after having done quite a bit of research about this product, I did expect that feeling.  And I was absolutely committed at this point to see this experiment through to the very last drop in the bottle.  I am one of those people that does not like to waste a product.  I always use each and every product until it is gone.  I just feel it is better on my wallet and the environment not to waste.  I have to really hate something to not use it,  and even then I usually give it to someone instead of throw it away. Also, I once heard someone on the radio talking about not washing their hair, and said that it takes time for your scalp to adjust, and that it gets worse before it starts to get better.  

So I didn't love how my hair felt, but let me tell you about the experience of "washing my hair with it".   It has a pleasant smell.  It smells similar to a shampoo, with a bit of a minty smell.  You are supposed to massage it into your scalp and then work your way down your hair shaft  with what is left of it.  I have shoulder length hair, and I use 5 pumps of it, just in case you are wondering.  I was pleasantly surprised at the sensation I felt on my scalp as I worked it in.  Take note that it does not lather like a shampoo, it feels much more, if not exactly, like a conditioner feels.  The sensation is a tingly, menthol type of sensation.  It is very refreshing, and permeates into my sense of smell.  After I apply it in my hair, I leave it while I shave my legs and do the remainder of my shower routine, then I rinse it out.  Aside from the "not so clean feeling" I felt at first, it was amazingly easy to comb out my hair after I took it down from the towel.  I give that part of the process an A+.  Because my hair is notoriously difficult to comb after washing it.  With this, my comb practically glides right through my hair, which I absolutely love about it.  

So back to the way my hair actually felt- the not so clean, slightly dirty feeling.  I don't know if I just got used to it over time, or if it took my scalp some time to adjust to the change from using shampoo to the cleansing conditioner, but that feeling went away a long time ago.  It still does not have that squeaky clean feeling, but it does feel clean.  Now, I do wash and condition my hair once every week, maybe a little less often, but that is what is recommended on the back of the bottle, and because I just crave that squeaky clean feeling sometimes.  

I started noticing after I had been using this for awhile that I was just loving the condition of my hair, and the way it looked when I styled it.  I also notice that I have less damage to my hair, fewer split ends and less of a dry feeling.  The natural texture and feel of my hair started to improve.  I have always been someone who did not love the natural texture of my hair.  I felt like it didn't look good without either curling or straightening it.  Using this product changed that significantly.  I do still curl and straighten my hair often, but I can go without it in a pinch, and I feel much better about the way it looks.  I do want to note that I do also put a bit of Argan oil in my hair after I towel dry it (pictured below).  But I was using the Argan oil long before I started using the cleansing conditioner.

One other advantage I have found to using the Pantene Cleansing Conditioner is less time in the shower.  Using shampoo and conditioner is two steps.  Using cleansing conditioner is one step.  So I have cut out an entire step from my shower routine.  I am saving space in my shower with one less product, time and water, which is always a good thing.  Over all, I love the Pantene product, and I have no intentions on stopping it any time.  As long as I can still find this product in stores I will be using it.  However, once, when I went to purchase it, it was out of stock and I bought  Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner.  My experience with it had a much different result.  Read below to find out!

When I first started using the Herbal Essences product, it felt very similar and seemed to work the same as the Pantene.  And I was using it in the exact same way as the other product.  However, the results were not the same at all.  After using it for several weeks, I started to notice that my scalp was breaking out.  Seriously, it was like I had scalp acne!  Is that even a thing??  Well, it was for me!  I had never experienced something like this before.  I have never been prone to dandruff or anything of the sort.  But I literally had zits all over my scalp.  You could even see them along my hair line.  I surmised that it had to be the Herbal Essences product, because I had not changed anything else whatsoever.  I stopped using the product.  One of the few times I have actually thrown something away was this.  I went back to shampoo and conditioner for a while, but the condition kept getting worse.  One day at work, my scalp started itching so badly that it felt like my skin was crawling, and I felt like I wanted to leave work.  It was bad people, really bad!  

I left work and went straight to Target to purchase something that might clear my scalp up.  What I ended up purchasing was Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo- extra strength.  This product is supposed to treat psoriasis, dandruff, and seborrheic dermatitis.  I went straight home to wash my hair with this stuff.  This stuff is potent!  And it has a very strong medicinal smell.  This stuff was VERY DIFFICULT for me to use, because when you wash your hair, you want it to smell good afterwards. And this does not smell good.  And the smell does not go away after a few hours, it stays, and stays, and does not go away.  However, it did immediately sooth my itchy scalp, and after 3-4 painstaking, smelly uses, it cleared up my condition completely- Thank God!  That was a horrible experience.  

I have no idea why the Herbal Essences gave my scalp this type of problem.  But I will never use that product again, ever!  Thankfully it is all better now, and hopefully it will never happen again.  I waited after my scalp was all cleared up, and I bought some more of the Pantene Cleansing Conditioner and am now back to using it on a regular basis.  

So, that is how I wash my hair without shampoo!  I have to say, I am completely sold on this, even in spite of my little run in with the Herbal Essences product.  Have you ever tried cleansing conditioners?  If so, what was your experience like? Please let me know in the comments.  I would love to connect with other people who have tried it or are currently using it!