After hearing about it all over the place in print and online I finally decided to try a cleansing conditioner. I was expecting something like the shampoo-conditioner 2-in-1s that were so popular in the 90s. I couldn’t have been more surprised by the silky hair feeling and the amount of time I save condensing two steps into one.
Co-Washing With L’oréal Evercrème Cleansing Balm & Cleansing Conditioner
Have you heard about co-washing yet?I first heard about it earlier this year.
It’s essentially washing your hair with a one step cleansing conditioner instead of a two step shampoo and then conditioner. Cleansing conditioners aren’t made with the same harsh detergents and surfactants that are usually found in regular shampoos. They cleanse the hair without stripping the naturals oils.
I was immediately intrigued but I also had so many questions.
Does this really work?
Will it weigh down my hair?
Will it leave my hair feeling greasy?
If you’re wondering the same thing then you’ve come to the right place.
The Problems With Traditional Commercial Shampoo (& Conditioner)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
My interest in an alternative to traditional shampoo is not a new one. I’ve experimented quite a bit in the past with alternative shampoos. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is the main ingredient in most commercial shampoos. It’s a foaming agent that gives shampoo that beautiful, bubbly lather.
The thing is, lather isn’t actually a necessary part of cleaning your hair. I didn’t believe that until recently by the way and I’ll tell you why further down. Suffice it to say that lather isn’t necessary, and the ingredients that make shampoo lather like SLS are so good at cleaning your hair that they also strip all the natural oils thereby increasing oil production and making it so that a lot of us are trapped in a never ending cycle of washing your poor hair every single day – enter “no poo” movement.
Another gripe I have with commercial shampoos and conditioners is that they’re often full of silicone.
Silicone can be good once in a while. It makes hair smooth and shiny. The issue is…it’s an illusion. Over time it can really damage your hair.
“Silicone will weigh the hair down making it limp, lifeless, and with time, very dull. It prevents moisture from penetrating the hair shaft and becomes like a magnet for dirt and other ingredients. So in essence, we get a good shine for a couple of days, but over time it will attract more buildup on the hair. With time it will dry the hair out because it won’t allow in the conditioner and it ends up sitting on the surface. Due to lack of moisture, the hair will become very brittle and could lead to frizz and breakage.” —Shai Amiel, Celebrity Hairstylist & Owner, CAPELLA Salon via thecoveteur.com
What I’ve Tried | Shampoo Alternatives & The No-Poo Movement
So with all that being said you can see why I would be so keen to find a shampoo alternative. I was less concerned about conditioner because of course hair can be conditioned with a variety of hydrating and safe products. Cleansing is not as simple.
So here’s what I’ve tried in the past.
After hearing more glowing reviews than I could keep track of I decided to try a Lush shampoo bar.
It made me feel like washing my hair with a waxy crayon.
It never felt like the lather was actually getting under there. I went into this experiment armed with the knowledge of the irrefutable fact that lather isn’t a necessary part of cleansing but as soon as I tried using the Lush shampoo bar I was doubting the irrefutability of that fact. It just wasn’t penetrating to the lower levels of hair. You know that area on the back of your head where build up first shows up? Not only was the shampoo bar not penetrating to that area, but when I rinsed and dried that area was a greasy, clumpy mess….along with the rest of my hair!
I can’t understand where the glowing reviews are coming from.
Next I tried Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap. First, I have to say that I love this product. It’s natural in all the right ways, smells great, and leaves everything it touches squeaky clean. It’s for good reason that Dr. Bronner’s has a cult following.
It just isn’t great on hair. It was a big improvement on the Lush shampoo bars overall but not enough of an improvement for long term use. It actually lathers, gets in all the nooks and crannies, and rinses fairly clearly (still leaves a bit of a waxy residue). It’s also less expensive and goes a lot further because there’s a lot of it. If you’re looking for things to try, this isn’t the worst option in the world and may work great for some hair types. Not for mine.
I think I tried a few other products too but none come to mind right now. I stopped short of trying no-poo. I’ve wanted to try and have seriously thought about trying but then I think about the 4-6 weeks of greasy, unmanageable hair and it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
So, What’s Co-Washing? Co-Washing Explained and Debunked
Co-washing = conditioner washing.
It’s the latest and greatest so a lot of companies seem to be coming out with products lately. I haven’t tried any other ones except L’Oréal Evercrème 6 in 1 Cleansing Balm. I am obsessed with it. I might try another product once the honeymoon is over…but that might be a while.
I ordered it on Amazon after reading a few different reviews online of the best conditioning cleansers (or cleansing conditioners?)
I realized afterwards that there’s a difference between a cleansing conditioner and a cleansing balm. A cleansing conditioner just cleans and conditions. A cleansing balm does a lot of other things too. More on that below.
Before I ordered online I tried to find a cleansing conditioner at Meijer, Target, and Wal-Mart with no luck. It’s still a fairly new product so I’m not totally surprised that there aren’t many options (or any) on offer in stores yet.
First, a little FYI for those wondering. I have mid-back length type 2b hair. It’s fine but I have a lot of it. It’s unruly unless I straighten it and it gets really frizzy most of the time no matter what I do.
L’oréal Evercrème Cleansing Balm
What Does It Do?
The bottle claims that the cleansing balm is a 6 in 1: cleanser, condition, treat, detangle, soften, and shine.
It’s SLS/sulfate free, paraben free, silicone free, free of harsh salts and not tested on animals. It has ¼ cleanser to ¾ moisturizing conditioner.
Sounded almost too good to be true.
The bottle has a pump cap which makes it super easy to use in the shower. It never occurred to me how inconvenient it was to always open a shampoo bottle and a conditioner bottle. I’ve been opening bottle caps all these years like an animal!
Not only is it convenient that it’s a pump, but it’s also super convenient that it’s one step. I know this is going to sound like the worst #firstworldproblem ever but conditioner takes more time than I’m usually willing to spent so I end up standing there in the shower annoyed that I have to wait for my conditioner to penetrate and then even more annoyed that I have to wait for it to rinse out. Incidentally, I tried cutting out the conditioner for about 6 months opting to use serums and oils instead. Never again.
The balm is thicker than your typical shampoo but thinner than your typical conditioner.
I think I use about 3-4 pumps on average, depending how dry my hair is feeling. Remember earlier when I said I would talk about lather? Here it is. When I tried my alternative shampoo experiments I did it knowing that lather wasn’t necessary but not really believing it. I couldn’t help but think that lather was exactly what those poor alternative to traditional shampoo were lacking. Then I used the L’Oréal EverCrème 6 in 1 Cleansing Balm.
How Does It Feel
Just wow. I don’t know how else to describe it. The first time I used this cleansing balm it was like a revolution. Every time I’ve used it since I’m always so happy with how my hair feels in the shower and how it feels once it’s dry.
It doesn’t lather. I mean at all. Not a bubble in sight. But it’s like it melts into your scalp and hair. I never thought there would be anything that felt better than lather but there is and it’s the silky smooth melt of cleansing balm on your scalp. It penetrates all over. Slides down the hair shaft and envelopes every strand in silky smoothness.
You know that feeling when you’re trying to rinse out conditioner and you know it isn’t all gone because your hair has that soapy, slippery feeling? That’s what Evercrème feels like, only the balm is fully rinsed out. It just makes your hair feel like silk.
My Before & After (Sort Of)
This is a before and after. The “sort of” is due to the fact that the lighting and hair styles are different so it isn’t the best comparison (the only one I have sorry). Also, I changed quite a few things and my hair has been undergoing somewhat of a transformation lately.
What you see in the after picture is a combination of: started using L’Oréal EverCrème Cleansing Balm, removed the dark brown color from my hair with Color Oops, toned down the brassiness down with Clairol Shimmer Lights, learned how to trim my own split ends with a really good set of shears (the tutorial is already filmed just need to write the post) and stopped heat styling. (It’s only cool air blow-outs for me now.)
That being said, the EverCrème made a big difference. What you see in the before picture is hair full of build up. It would go flat the day after I washed it. Not only were my roots flat, but my ends were fried. I kept using silicone based serums not knowing I was doing even more damage to my hair.
I was probably using 2-3 different products just to get my hair to look sort of smooth but obviously nothing would help the flat roots. In the after picture my hair feels lighter and moves more like healthy hair. The roots have volume and the ends are smooth and uniform. It’s as if the individual strands used to clump together and go in different directions. Now they join nice little groups and form waves where one would expect to see waves.
I try a lot of beauty products quite often. It’s very rare that I have this kind of instant love for a product. I even had a friend try it a few weeks ago. I gushed about it so much that she had no choice but to try it. She messaged me later that week when she was back home with this:
There you have it.
What can I say…I felt pretty satisfied with my recommendation.
Options | L’Oréal Cleansing Balms vs Cleansing Conditioners
There are a few different options available in the L’oréal line in cleansing balm and cleansing conditioner. I haven’t tried the cleansing conditioner yet but based on the cleansing balm I think it would also be very good. If your hair tends to be drier or frizzy then the balm is probably your best bet.