It's gonna get sappy up in here.
I know what you’re thinking. “Why is Tynan writing an article about hair care after two years of telling us that he doesn’t wash his hair?”
Well, that’s not exactly true. It’s not that I don’t wash my hair, it’s just that I literally never allow it to come in contact with water, much less shampoo. Listen, these pastel shades aren’t easy to maintain, alright? We all have our dirty little secrets. In my case, mine isn’t a dirty secret, it’s just my dirty hair.
Sometimes, after writing an article like this, I’ll receive a cryptic text from my dad a day or two later, simply saying: “Wash your hair.” At least he’s reading!
You’ll be happy to know that I’ve been washing my hair a ton this summer because there are a bunch of new products aimed to cleanse and condition your hair without damaging it, drying it out, or robbing it of its color. I’m finally free to have clean hair AND vibrant color. I really can have it all.
The biggest trend in hair care this year is the Cleansing Conditioner. All of the big guys are rolling out their own versions, so you probably need to know which one would be best for you. Good thing I tried them all.
But first, what IS a cleaning conditioner?
A conditioning cleanser is a product that replaces your shampoo, conditioner, and any mask or leave-in situation you’re using, pulling all of their benefits into one super product. They hydrate, nourish, smooth, strengthen, boost shine and bounce, and leave your hair feeling healthier and looking better than ever before. They’re made with a whole slew of essential oils, antioxidants, proteins, and fatty acids so they’re ideal for all hair types and textures.
I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know when I say that you’re not supposed to wash your hair every day. Skipping shampoo for a day or two (or seven) is actually beneficial for your hair because it lets your natural oils build up, which work to naturally hydrate and protect, not to mention, keep your hair looking shiny.
These cleansing conditioners aim to cleanse your hair without stripping it of the natural oils and the rest of that good shit that shampoo can rob your hair of. When rinsed, dried, and styled, your hair is going to feel clean, soft, and manageable, without feeling stripped or dried, which helps protect from breakage, keep flyaways at bay, and act as a barrier when heat styling.
Should I start off with my favorite, or leave it for the end? Should I not call one product my favorite? Oh that’s right, I can do whatever I want. Hooray.
So listen up, because it’s not often that a product comes along that is really, truly in its own lane, but this is one of those times. Purely Perfect Cleansing Cream is packed with all of the oils that your hair is thirsty for, including sunflower, primrose, and peppermint (which smells and feels amazing, mmm.) What you won’t find in this cleansing cream are any detergents, sulfates, parabens, or silicones, and that’s why it’s so gentle, and very ideal if your hair is color-treated. So I’ve been told, at least. I’ve never colored my hair.
Having pastel hair is an exercise in coming to terms with your own fleeting mortality. You want candy-colored hair, but you also want clean hair, and neither can live while the other survives. Every god damn time you put a shampoo in your hair, you’re washing some of the pigment out, and when you have pastel hair, there’s not even that much pigment to start with, so it’s quite the balancing act to keep your hair vibrant until your next color appointment. And like, I get that some people have real problems, but this is my truth.
If Purely Perfect Cleansing Cream started a cult, I would join it and drink all of the Kool-Aid. It is the very first product that I’m not afraid to slather on top of my head every three-ish days because it really is that gentle and safe to use.
Pair it with cool water (or cold water, if you’re a real baller) and you’ll experience almost no color loss. After a few uses, you’ll notice a difference in how your hair feels, falls, behaves, all of that.
Pureology is one of my favorite hair care lines, so I was eager to try their cleansing conditioners the second they launched. They bring us three cleansing conditioners, each customized for a specific hair need.
Hydrate contains rosemary and fatty acids, which restore hair’s hydration without weighing it down. Strength Cure feeds your hair antioxidants, proteins, amino acids, and fatty acids, which makes it the perfect product if you’ve ravaged your hair with bleach and color. Like me! Smooth Perfection is enriched with vitamin e and camellia oil to keep frizzy hair in check and tame flyaways.
Work a couple of pumps through damp hair in the shower, leave it in for 2-3 minutes, or about the length of about one Britney song (my favorite Britney song, Freakshow, is perfect, clocking in at a hot 2:55) and rinse. Dry and style as usual, and your hair will be shiny, fortified, and bouncy, without being too clean.
Redken’s One United, $22.
Instead of being a cream conditioner like the first two, this one comes to us in a spray that promises no less than 25 benefits in one product. 25 benefits from one product is a lot. They break each one of them down on their website and, between you and I, some of them sound like the same thing. BUT, I’m not being a hater because this fortifying spray really does amp up your hair, making it look and feel its best.
Here are the standout benefits that I’m pulling out for you:
It conditions, nourishes, detangles, prevents breakage, protects when heat styling, helps seal hair cuticle, smoothes, adds shine, and controls frizz.
You can apply whenever you feel works best for your hair, before cleansing, after cleansing, after towel drying as a leave-in before styling, or after styling to extend your look. I’m a fan of spraying it in after shampooing, leaving it in for about three minutes, rinsing, and then lightly spraying again after I’ve toweled off.
Being a spray instead of a cream, it’s a little lighter on your hair than the previous two products. The advantage of this is that you can still use it even if on days when you’re not washing your hair, to detangle, refresh your style, and add shine. It also plays well with your other styling products, used in conjunction with or on top of them.
Would you throw out your shampoo and replace it with a conditioning cleanser? Have you already? How many days do you usually go without washing your hair? What's your favorite Britney song? Tell me everything in the comments.
Tynan has clean hair on Twitter @TynanBuck.