Stylists Say the ‘Hair Washing Sandwich’ Is the Key for Voluminous Roots, Moisturized Strands, and a Grease-Free Scalp for Days on End

Photo: Stocksy / Valentina Barreto
Last summer, 'reverse hair washing' was trending as a solution for reviving dull and dry summer strands. The method flips the traditional shampoo-conditioner routine so you condition your hair first, then shampoo. “By first using conditioner and then shampoo, you’re removing a lot of the conditioner, so there’s not as much left to weigh your hair down,” says Gökhan Vayni, a hair transplant specialist in İstanbul, Turkey. Though this method is great for anyone who has fine, oil-prone hair, it's not so effective for those with dry, curly, or coily textures, explains Mai Hernandez, a hairstylist in Los Angeles, California.

Experts In This Article

"The job of the conditioner is to help close down the hair cuticle and smooth it out," says Hernandez, who is a Joico artistic educator. "When you have curly texture, or color-treated or compromised dry, frizzy hair, not using conditioner to close to the cuticle could cause more damage than be a benefit for the hair."

What makes reverse hair washing so appealing is that it can boost volume while keeping your scalp from getting oily, allowing you to stretch the time between your washes. So if you want to reap those benefits while still giving your hair the moisture it needs, you can put the reverse hair washing sandwich—shampoo, condition, shampoo—to the test.

How to nail the reverse hair-washing sandwich

1. Shampoo like normal

Shampoo and do your usual lather-rinse-repeat. If retaining moisture is a big concern, Hernandez recommends using a hydrating shampoo, like the Joico HydraSplash Hydrating Shampoo ($23) for fine-to-medium hair, or the Joico Moisture Recovery Moisturizing Shampoo ($23) for thick, coarse hair. Personally, I'm loving the Rizos Curls Hydrating Shampoo ($25).

Joico, HydraSplash Hydrating Shampoo — $23.00

Designed for fine to medium hair, this shampoo includes a vitamin-and-mineral-rich blend of sea kelp and coconut water to provide lightweight hydration and moisture. Plus, the scent is a fun and tropical blend of lemon, green apple, and bamboo leaf.

Joico, Moisture Recovery Moisturizing Shampoo — $23.00

Like the Hydrate shampoo, this version also uses sea kelp to nourish and hydrate. But it swaps coconut water for jojoba oil and shea butter to deep nourish, condition, and moisturize strands. The fragrance is mix of orange, hyacinth, and vanilla.

Rizos Curls, Hydrating Shampoo — $25.00

Designed for coils, curls, and waves, this shampoo uses moisturizing shea butter and strengthening moringa oil to leave hair deeply moisturized and conditioned.

2. Apply your conditioner

Next, apply the corresponding conditioner to your shampoo, like normal. "I always like and recommend applying conditioner only at the ends after shampooing the hair," says Hernandez. "This allows the hair to detangle better causing less stress on the hair."

Joico, HydraSplash Hydrating Conditioner — $24.00

Employing sea kelp and coconut water, this conditioner provides lightweight moisture, slip for detangling, and elasticity to maintain movement and shine.

Joico, Moisture Recovery Moisturizing Conditioner — $24.00

Sea kelp, shea butter, and jojoba oil come together in this conditioner to leave your stands soft, supple, and easy to detangle.

Rizos Curls, Deep Conditioner — $20.00

This deep conditioning treatment uses olive oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, argan oil, and shea butter to nourish your strands.

3. Shampoo just the roots

"Go back with a couple of drops of shampoo and lightly wash at the crown," says Hernandez. "This will give you the same benefit of more volume and extending the life of your shampoos in between washes." This final shampoo will remove whatever conditioner is still on your scalp while allowing some to stay on your ends (just make sure you only shampoo at the scalp, and use a small amount of product to do so) so that your cuticles remain properly sealed and moisturized. The result? Smooth, shiny, voluminous strands that will last you multiple days at a time.

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