I Tried It... Cleansing Conditioner

Discover cleansing conditioner, our favorite way to do the "no poo" method. Herbal Essences Cleansing Conditioner review and tips.
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Okay, so that was a tad dramatic. But if you struggle with un-combable, tangled hair every single time you get out of the shower (no matter how much conditioner you slap on), I've found a solution that'll make you want to sing its praises from the mountain tops.

We're taking a break from cooking this week because I'm so excited and couldn't wait to share this with you. Girlfriends of all hair types, let me introduce you to my new BFF: Cleansing Conditioner.


Unless you've been living under a rock, you've surely heard about the "no shampoo" hair care method, whose subscribers are nothing short of fanatic. I've read countless blog posts and reviews from girls swearing that since they've ditched shampoo, their hair has been softer, fuller, and stronger than it's been their entire lives. We've all seen those Wen infomercials, and have even talked about "no 'poo" methods on CF before.

Although not shampooing one's hair has garnered rave reviews, it was never something I considered. The struggles I've had with my thin hair have been well documented, and I've even gone as far as trying tape-in hair extensions to combat my thin, lifeless locks. Not washing the grime and product out of my hair seemed pretty counter-intuitive. Plus, I mean, no shampoo? Let's be honest girlfriends - the concept of not washing your hair sounds kinda gross.

Woman washing hair

Photo: ELLE

It turns out that perhaps the "No 'Poo" method was just a victim of questionable marketing. Had it caught on as the "No Lather" method or "Conditioner Washing," I think the number of people who embraced it would have increased exponentially. You see, not shampooing you hair doesn't mean you're not washing it. Most conditioners on the market have cleansing agents in them, so with a bit of friction, your hair will be just as squeaky clean as it is after a shampoo.

About Cleansing Conditioner

With spring break on the horizon, the last month or so I've been hitting the gym hard. I also moved out of my apartment and into a house, and I can tell that the shower water here is harsher than it was at my apartment. Plus, I recently got highlights. The combination of my hair's new chemical balance plus the frequency at which I was washing my sweaty hair left me with a tangled, matted, frizzy disaster after every shower.

To remedy this, I tried everything. I brushed my hair really well before taking showers. I slathered my hair with a borderline comical amount of conditioner. I tried several different de-tanglers and leave-in conditioners, but none of them seemed to make much of a difference. Even when I combed my wet hair super gently after I showered, I'd still lose countless strands and it took quite a bit of time. Needless to say, I was pretty much at my wit's end.

Then, I found myself at Walmart browsing the aisles, hoping and praying for a miracle solution. Well, the hair and beauty gods heard my desperate cry and all but shoved a bottle of Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Cleansing Conditioner in my face.

This product was made as a supplement to Herbal Essences' Color Me Happy line, which also includes a regular shampoo and conditioner, formulated to preserve pigments in color-treated hair. The Cleansing Conditioner is pitched as a supplement -- something to use every other wash, in between shampoos. It was only $5, so I figured I'd give it a try.

Now, I'm aware that I probably fell sucker to a great marketing ploy. You don't need a special "cleansing conditioner" to get these same results. Most conditioners - given that they're not extremely oily in composition - will work in this application. I just really like this particular product because it builds a nice bridge into sulfate-free cleansing that is easy and inexpensive to try. Sure, it's shampoo-free, but the leap isn't quite as scary.

The conditioner comes in a pump bottle, so I loaded my hands up with 5-6 squirts and worked it into my scalp as if it were shampoo. Of course it didn't lather, but that was expected. Not going to lie, at this point I was still pretty skeptical. I worked the conditioner through the ends of my hair, combed my fingers through it a few times, then let it set for a couple minutes as I washed my body. I rinsed the conditioner out just like normal, then washed my face and shaved my legs before getting out of the shower.

The Results?

Girl brushing hair

Photo: ELLE

To be honest, I'm still in awe at how easy my hair was to de-tangle, and the overall change in texture. I couldn't believe the difference! The usual 10 minute task of fighting my tangles and yanking away at countless knots was reduced to running a comb through my entire head of hair with hardly any resistance.

I blow dried my hair as usual, and my hair looked and felt clean, voluminous, and bouncy. I was shocked: since my hair was so easy to brush through, I expected it to feel or look a little greasy or weighed-down once dry. It didn't in the slightest, though. Instead, my hair looked just as clean and light as it did using shampoo.

When I bought the cleansing conditioner, I bought the shampoo and conditioner in the line, too - but it's been weeks and I've barely used them. If you go a few days without washing your hair, shampooing out the grease and grime is a fine idea, but for everyday exercising and freshening up, the cleansing conditioner is all I need. 

Less than a month ago, I thought skipping shampoo was just for girls with very course or curly hair. Now, I can't imagine going back to shampooing daily. I've tried the "No 'Poo" method, and I'm a believer. I love it so much that I want everyone that I know to give it a try!


Are you a No 'Poo girl? Are you (like me) curious but afraid to try? Do you experience intolerably tangled hair after you shower? What methods have you tried? Let's talk about hair, girls - spill your secrets!

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