I Had Dull, Lifeless Hair—Until This Shampoo Transformed My Strands

I’ve never liked my hair. Historically it’s been thin and wavy in a limp, frizz-prone way. Rain, summer, and humid climates were all disastrous, leaving my hair matted flat to my skull up top before descending into undefined chaos. My solution to all of this was equally disastrous: to force my hair’s texture into submission with heat tools, which of course lead to breakage, dry ends, and a comically thin ponytail. But I figured we can’t have it all in life—my ancestors blessed me with good skin, so I assumed that good hair just wasn’t in the cards.

This was until I was introduced to New Wash in January 2017. New Wash is a shampoo alternative belonging to a somewhat new class of products called a co-wash or cleansing conditioner. This category of hair cleanser is marked by its absence of detergents, which give conventional shampoo its sudsy quality. Turns out detergents also strip your scalp of its protective oil barrier, leading your body to produce more oil. That means greasy hair and increased washing, thus continuing the cycle of detergent violence on our poor scalps.

New Wash cleanses without detergents and looks more like a conditioner than the shampoo you’re used to. It’s different to wash with and can take some time for hair and scalp to adjust to, but the results are worth it. In the three years since I “met” New Wash, I’ve (foolishly) taken a few breaks from the product to check out other brands and seen a notable difference in texture, shine, softness, and manageability.

Whenever I’m “on” New Wash, my hair is soft and hydrated all the way down to the ends. It’s given me the ability to air dry with beautiful results, leaving pretty, defined waves framing my face that I wouldn’t dream of taking a flat iron to. It’s shinier, thicker, and faster growing than I’ve ever seen my hair.

Once my hair started looking and feeling better, I wanted to treat it better. I stopped using elastic hair ties and switched to satin and velvet scrunchies. I started using a Wet Brush on my hair when I was fresh out the shower and committed to air drying whenever I could. When I do need to blow dry, I use the Tineco Moda One Smart Ionic Hair Dryer now, which uses sensors to measure hair moisture levels as it dries so that it doesn’t air fry your strands.

As I mentioned earlier, washing with a non-sudsing shampoo is a bit different. The formula looks like a conditioner, but you apply it to you scalp all the same and use your fingers to really work it in. This also stimulates blood flow which is going to encourage your hair follicles, so just picture that and really get into it.

You need to be diligent when rinsing, too, especially if you have terrible water pressure like myself. Just use your fingers to really massage your scalp and make sure it doesn’t feel like there’s any left behind. One thing that’s cool about New Wash is that you can’t use too much of it (unlike shampoo), so if you think you need to double wash in the beginning that’s fine.

There’s no need to follow with a conditioner, so it cuts down on time and products. I’m something of a minimalist and I love that my shower looks like a hotel with just a few trusted products: Hairstory New Wash and Gemmist Scalp Balancing Bar for my locks, SheaMoisture Black Soap and Glossier Body Hero Oil Wash for body, whichever cleaners I’m currently checking out (currently Freck On Repeat and Good Light Cosmic Dew) for face, and that’s about it.

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