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Reverse washing is a hair cleansing method that promises voluminous strands. Find out the science behind this wash day technique and if it’s right for you.

Reverse Hair Washing May Be Your Key to Shiny, Voluminous Hair

Reverse washing is a hair cleansing method that promises voluminous strands. Find out the science behind this wash day technique and if it’s right for you.

What if we told you that a simple switcheroo in your wash day routine could be the key between limp, lifeless strands and major volume? It admittedly sounds a bit far-fetched, but the reverse hair washing technique is tried and true! Keep reading to learn whether reverse washing is a good option for your hair type.

What is reverse hair washing?

Aptly titled, reverse hair washing is simply conditioning your hair first and shampooing second. It’s the inverse of what you’re used to doing in the shower—and may feel a bit strange at first—but it comes with all sorts of potential benefits.

Good hair day by @mirandalaunahair

What is the science behind reverse hair washing?

By conditioning your hair first, it’s theorized that your strands will absorb nourishing and hydrating ingredients more easily. Shampooing afterward also helps remove some of the heaviness of the conditioner, which coats your hair and can potentially weigh it down or make your hair and scalp feel greasy. All the above can help your mane appear shinier, softer, and more voluminous.

Reverse washing your hair is as easy as you might imagine. Wet your hair, and then apply your conditioner. Follow up with a shampoo, lather from your scalp to your ends, and rinse well.

What is the difference between reverse washing and co-washing?

Reverse washing and co-washing aren’t the same. In fact, they are near opposites! While reverse hair washing is conditioning your strands first and then shampooing second, co-washing involves using only a conditioner or co-washing product like Matrix A Curl Can Dream Co-Wash or Mizani True Textures Cream Cleansing Conditioner. These moisturizing products nourish hair with ingredients like manuka honey extract and essential fatty acids (respectively) while washing. Reverse washing is better for thin, fine, and oily hair, while co-washing is ideal for dry, thick, and coarse hair.

Good hair day by @bghairsalon

Is reverse washing good for oily hair?

The technique of reverse hair washing is ideal for those with fine hair, thin hair, and oily hair and scalps. This is because it removes some of the weight and moisture of the conditioner before you begin styling. Reverse washing doesn’t really benefit those with dry hair, coarse hair, or curly hair where the conditioning step comes in handy for adding a moisture boost.

Good hair day by @haircreationsbyadriana

How often should you reverse wash?

You can reverse wash your hair as often as you shower. However, an interesting benefit of reverse hair washing is that you may find you actually need to wash less frequently since your hair doesn’t feel or look oily as quickly as it does with regular shampooing and conditioning. That said, feel free to experiment with the frequency of reverse washing until you find a routine that works best for you.

Our Best Products to Reverse Wash With

Feeling amped about the prospects of reverse hair washing? Here are a few of our favorite conditioners and shampoos to help maximize the volume and shine factor.

Matrix High Amplify Volumizing Conditioner & Shampoo

The High Amplify Conditioner and Shampoo from Matrix is a silicone-free duo specifically formulated for fine hair or hair that tends to look limp. It’s made with the brand’s Full Boost Technology™/MC for full-bodied, fortified hair with lasting volume.

Biolage Professional Volume Bloom Conditioner & Shampoo

Limp locks don't stand a chance against the Volume Bloom Conditioner and Shampoo from Biolage Professional. Inspired by nature’s expanding cotton flower, it helps plump up your strands while providing bounce, shine, and weightless moisture.

Shu Uemura Art Of Hair Muroto Volume Conditioner & Shampoo

Shu Uemura Art Of Hair’s deepsea water-infused Muroto Volume Conditioner and Shampoo will help you forget flat hair days. While the conditioner infuses long-lasting volume and lightweight hydration, the shampoo gently cleanses for hair that looks full, voluminous, and gorgeous.

Kérastase Densifique Fondant Densite Conditioner & Bain Densité Shampoo

Kérastase’s Densifique Fondant Densité Conditioner has a unique, gel-like consistency that won't ever weigh your strands down. In addition to creating the look of fuller, thicker hair, it also helps with detangling and smoothing so your hair is more manageable. Follow up with the range’s Bain Densité Shampoo, which contains hyaluronic acid, gluco peptide, and ceramides to plump and strengthen your hair fiber with each wash.

Pureology Pure Volume Conditioner & Shampoo

Perfect for those with oily scalps needing a volume boost, Pureology’s Pure Volume Shampoo & Conditioner have you covered. They work together to add lift and movement from root to tip and help clarify scalp build-up, so you’re left feeling fresh. Plus, the system offers color protection from the brand’s patented Antifade Complex®. It’s a win-win.

Redken Volume Injection Conditioner & Shampoo

Redken’s Volume Injection Conditioner and Shampoo were made with fine-haired folks in mind. Each features Redken's Bodifying Complex, a volume-boosting blend of filloxane, softening, and silicone polymers to help add lift and body for finer hair.

Header photo credits: Getty Images and @mirandalaunahair

Is reverse hair washing right for you? Use our salon locator to book a consultation with a pro. Check back on for all the latest hair trends and tutorials.

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