I think by now we have all seen the infomercial for WEN cleansing conditioner. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about basically WEN is a concept or technique for washing your hair that uses a sulfate free product that acts as both your shampoo and conditioner. It does not lather like shampoo and is supposed to hydrate and cleanse your hair without the use of harsh detergents and chemicals. I first started using WEN in September of 2011 and after the first three uses I was hooked. I wash my hair usually on every 4th day (don’t judge me) so one bottle will last me 6 – 8 weeks and my hair is about 4 inches past my collar bone right now. My hair has less frizz, and its way more manageable after just blow drying. The most amazing part for me is that when I move my hair around with my hands I don’t really hear anything. Sounds weird right? But my hair was so damaged and dry before that my hair had a distinct sound, rough hay on your head damaged sound. The texture of my hair has drastically changed.
It’s not just WEN but I think one of the biggest reasons for the improvement in my hair is switching to sulfate free shampoo / conditioner that does not later. Combine that with less washing and less heat styling. With age comes wisdom and I’ve learned that I do not need to wash my hair everyday or even heat style it. Messy is cool, and it helps that beachy Victoria’s Secret type messy hair is in right now… day two curls are sassy waves.
I should explain what I mean by “Make your own”. I don’t actually suggest or have a recipe for manufacturing the product in your kitchen but I do have a “recipe” for how you can use your existing shampoo and conditioner or preferably a sulfate free shampoo and conditioner, mix them up in the bathroom and wash your hair following the same no lather washing technique. If you do this, even with the normal products in your shower you will notice your hair is drastically softer and more manageable after once use.
If you can’t commit to ditching the lather right but still want to obtain some of the benefits try picking up a sulfate free system (shampoo + conditioner). You can try L’Oreal’s EverCream or Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy which are both under $8.00 a piece at the drugstore. The market is actually flooded with options right now so just read the labels and maybe your current brand is now offering a sulfate free option.
If you want to “Make your Own” or try no lather washing before you buy, try this method at home. Buy a sulfate free shampoo & conditioner. Take three parts conditioner to one part shampoo. I’ve included a picture below to show you what I mean when doing it by hand. You can mix this in your hand in the shower or you can premix it but I would not suggest making a big batch. Just a few washes at a time.
Ratio: ¼ cup sulfate free shampoo to ¾ cup of conditioner. You also need a shower comb.
The shampoo dollop is a little smaller than a quarter.
How to “Make your Own”:
- Brush your dry hair before wetting to eliminate any tangles.
- Rinse hair thoroughly under water, rubbing your scalp to help break up oil, rinse your scalp for about a minute before washing.
- Put one-quarter size amount of shampoo in your hand and three-quarters of conditioner.
- Work product into the hair starting at the crown / scalp and keep the focus on the scalp. I section my hair off and divide it as I go to cover my entire scalp area. Now that my scalp is covered I vigorously massage it into my scalp for about 2 or 3 minutes really working it into my hair. If you have a lather during this process, you used too much shampoo. What you are trying to accomplish here is enough shampoo to cut grease but not enough to break down the healthy oil.
- You can rub the excess through your hair but the majority of the product should be on your scalp / roots. Comb through your hair starting at your scalp. Leave it on for the rest of your shower (min 3 minutes).
- When you rinse it out, start at your scalp again vigorously massage for a few minutes to help rinse your hair. The rest of your hair gets covered with conditioner when you rinse it.
- Apply hair products & style like normal. Check out my top 10 hair products for healthy hair styling.
If you don’t’ want to bother with making your own mixture check out the DUPE list below. They are listed in no particular order.
- NOTHING BUT CLEANSING CONDITIONER: Great for curly, thick or course hair. Made with honest simple ingredients. Cleans without suds, won’t strip your hair, gentle enough for everyday use. Great for natural curl or natural looks. Made without petolatum, mineral oil, sulfates, parabans, colorants and phthalates. $8.99 for 16.0 oz
- PANTENE TRULY NATURAL CO-WASH Cleansing Conditioner: Cleans, detangles, and conditions without stripping hair’s natural moisture. Can be used on color treated hair. Manufacture suggests using between shampoos for added shine. Good for straight, natural and curly hair. $4.99 22.8 oz
- Philip B Cleansing Conditioner with Oud Essence: This six-in-one formula acts as your shampoo, conditioner, hair masque, detangler, leave-in conditioner and shine spray all in one. Fine for all hair types. While it is a bit on the pricy side, it is supposed to replace your entire product line. $40.00 7.4 oz
- Alikay Naturals CoWash Me Cleansing Conditioner: Formulated to be gentle enough for daily use on curly, kinky or straight hair but hard to find. $22.00 for 16 oz.
- Renpure Solutions Ren Cleansing Conditioner: Coconut oil gently removes surface impurities while restoring natural oils. Hydrating Keratin loaded with amino acids & protein repair damage and restore strength. Shea butter conditions damaged areas replacing protective lipids, resulting in beautiful, soft, silky hair alive with shine & luster. No sulfates, parabens, dyes, gluten, phthalates, propylene glycol. $9.79 16.0 oz.
- L’Oreal EverCreme Sulfate Free Cleaning Conditioner: Low-Poo, or Low-Lather, cleansing that reduces friction of the hair fiber to help minimize breakage. Formulated with Omega-3 and 6. Sulfate free, no harsh salts, paraben free and 100% vegan. Best for all DRY hair types, might make fine and thin hair seem oily at the scalp. $6.99 8.3 oz.
- WEN Cleaning Conditioner by Chaz Dean: A 5-in-1 formula, this one product takes the place of your shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and leave-in conditioner. It cleanses hair thoroughly without lathering or harsh ingredients. It’s designed not to strip your hair and scalp of natural oils,leaving your hair with more strength, moisture, manageability and better color retention.
- Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner: Sulfate-free co-wash to get your curls extra clean without frizz-causing suds, and keeps them incredibly moisturized and detangled. No Sulfates, No Parabens, No Petroleum, No Mineral Oil, No Artificial Colors. 2013 Editors Choice Naturally Curly & multiple Allure mentions. $18.00 8.5 oz.
- Hair One Olive Oil Cleaning Conditioner for Dry Hair: Hair One Olive Oil Hair Cleanser Conditioner is a salon quality sulfate-free product that leaves hair cleansed, conditioned and in optimum shape. Sulfate free, natural, no hard chemicals and formulated with natural herbs and oils. $12.49 12 oz.
- Darcy’s Botanicals Daily Cleaning Conditioner Cream: This super concentrated cream is great for moisturizing, softening, conditioning, and gently cleansing coils without stripping. Sulfate Free, Low Lathering, Great for Conditioner Washes and Nourishing Oils and Extracts for Healthy Conditioning. $12.00 8 oz.
- Salon Grafix Healthy Hair Cleansing Conditioner: Cleanse and condition your hair in one simple step without stripping your hair of the natural oils that it needs to stay healthy and vibrant. Uses soy and wheat proteins to add shine and body to all hair types with a refreshing Citrus Crème scent. $7.99 12 oz.
- L’Oreal EverCurl Sulfate Free Cleansing Conditioner: EverCurl is Sulfate-Free so curls are left hydrated, defined and full of bounce. Our formulas, with Hibiscus Extract and Grape Seed Oil, nourish and care for curls while also imparting fruity and floral fragrance notes. 48-hour frizz control and curl definition. Grape seed & hibiscus oils infuse each strand with moisture. $6.99 8.3 oz.
- Daily Fix Cleansing Hair Conditioner: A concentrated, creamy cleansing conditioner offers a gentle, yet efficient option for cleaning your hair and scalp while providing lightweight conditioning. Daily Fix(tm) Cleansing Hair Conditioner allows you to clean your hair without harsh Sulfates or drying detergents and is able to remove all but the heaviest silicones and oils/waxes as well as removing most mineral deposits (if you have “hard” water). Daily Fix(tm) lightly preps hair for your conditioners or stylers without the stripping your hair of its natural oils like most traditional shampoos. 97% natural/naturally derived ingredients. $19.00 12 oz
- Carol’s Daughter Rosemary Mint Clarifying Sulfate-Free Shampoo: While this is not the typical no-poo / co-wash. I really love this for every 10 weeks to help wash away buildup without stripping away the natural moisture. Formulated without Parabens, synthetic fragrances, dyes, petrochemicals, phthlates. Also formulated without petrolatum, mineral oil, or artificial colors. Use in conjunction with the conditioner. $16.00 8 oz.
- Quidad Curl Co-Wash: Curl Co-Wash is a rich, low-lathering, sulfate-free cleansing conditioner that leaves hair moisturized, soft & frizz-free while gently clearing hair of buildup. Unlike most cleansing conditioners, our thick, foamy texture is a concentrated blend of conditioners & oils plus a dose of a gentle, naturally-derived coconut cleanser for a truly unique experience that never dries or strips hair. Sulfate free, paraban free and silicone free. $8.00 2.5 oz / $30.00 16 oz.
Let me know how if you use any of these below and what you think. Am I missing anything? For my WEN girls, if you are looking for a change or a cheaper alternative let me know how they compare.