I Tried "Reverse Hair Washing," and I'm Never Going Back

  • “Reverse hair washing” is going viral on TikTok.
  • The idea is to reverse the order in which you wash your hair to add volume and shine.
  • Our editor tried reverse hair washing for a few weeks. See her results.

I will do almost anything in the name of good hair. Whether it’s testing out a TikTok hair detox or trying a viral haircut, I’m willing to try whatever it takes. While I’ve had a couple of disasters, I’ve actually stumbled across so many fun hacks on TikTok that have helped the health of my hair. So when I started seeing a bunch of videos on my For You Page talking about “reverse hair washing” and how the process left hair shinier, softer, and bouncier, I was definitely intrigued.

Reverse hair washing is exactly what you’re probably thinking it is: reversing the order of the products you use when you cleanse your hair. Instead of shampooing first, you condition first, which supposedly benefits hair in a number of ways. Experts say reverse hair washing allows you to condition thin hair without weighing it down. Because it’s not coated with product and it only gets rinsed out instead of washed, hair can actually end up appearing fuller. People also claim that applying conditioner first has made their hair softer because it can more easily absorb the product. The big questions for me were: were the claims true, and would they work on my ultrafine hair?

Getting started was simple. Once I was in the shower, I wet my hair and then applied conditioner. I opted to use my current favorite, the Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Conditioner ($52). I applied the conditioner through the ends of my hair and on my scalp, and I combed everything through with my fingers. I aimed to concentrate the most product on my ends, where I knew my hair was typically very dry. I let the conditioner sit for a good two minutes, then rinsed it out with water. For the next step, I used the Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo ($49) to thoroughly wash my hair, concentrating most of the product on my scalp.

While I didn’t notice anything drastic after reverse hair washing only once, my hair did feel lighter than it normally does after a wash day. However, I’ve been reverse washing for almost a month now, and I have definitely noticed some pretty drastic changes. My hair feels not only lighter but also smoother and silkier. I have fine hair, and this routine switch-up has also made it appear fuller without any extra steps, which is kind of magical.

Also, typically when using shampoo first, I always skip conditioning my scalp and the top part of my hair because I find that it leaves it feeling greasy and coated. That means those areas are often neglected in my regular shower routine. With reverse hair washing, I can condition the top parts because I end up washing out the conditioner, rather than just rinsing it. I’ve even found that reverse hair washing benefits the ends of my hair for that same reason.

Pro tip: If my hair is feeling extra dry, I often reverse hair wash and then use a tiny bit of conditioner on just the ends before rinsing. The small amount of conditioner is just enough product to leave my hair feeling hydrated and soft but not coated and weighed down with product.

I found this to be a great hack for anyone with fine hair or hair that’s extremely dry. It would also work well for anyone with an oily scalp or looking to add a little volume. Overall, I’m extremely happy I stumbled across reverse hair washing. If you’ve been searching for a way to add fullness or shine without weighing down your hair, definitely give this trick a try — it’s absolutely changed my hair routine for the better.

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