What is a cleansing conditioner?

I have never really liked the way shampoos left my hair brittle and dry. My curiosity was piqued when KLP of Saving our Strands published a post called making your own co-cleanser. She described how you can make your own conditioner cleanser (or co-cleanser). Her recipe is one part shampoo: two parts oil: three parts conditioner.

I mixed my first co-cleanser using a ‘cheapie’ conditioner, a few squirts of shampoo and apple cider vinegar. My hair felt better than the way it did with shampoos but still not the way I wanted it to. I’ve kept tweaking it and cut out the apple cider vinegar cos’ I think I was adding a bit too much of that and my hair still felt a little brittle.

My latest mix is 5 oz of conditioner: 2 oz of water: a few squirts of shampoo. This mix is very creamy and lathers very very little but I don’t mind cos’ it leaves my hair feeling just right: cleansed and soft. I use this mix once a week when I wash my hair and plan to only use real shampoo on relaxer day.

*Updated 6th January 2015: I am too lazy to mix things these days so I now use Shescentit Blueberry co-wash conditioner in place of my home-made cleansing conditioner.*
To make your own cleansing conditioner, you’ll need:
  1. Shampoo (or any other cleansing ‘agent’). I’ve only used shampoo and apple cider vinegar as the cleaning component of my co-cleanser but it might be possible to add other ayurvedic powders like rhassoul clay, shikakai,etc. I haven’t tried adding them yet but I think it’s possible.
  2. Conditioner. A good ‘cheapie’ conditioner should be suitable for this. E.g Suave naturals, VO5 conditioners, etc.
  3. Other additives e.g oils, aloe vera juice, etc. Tea tree oil is good to add if you have dandruff or a itchy scalp. I don’t add oils to my co-cleanser because I already mix my deep conditioner with lots of oil and I don’t want my hair to be too oily.
You can tweak yours till you get the consistency and results that you prefer. If you want more lather, add more shampoo. If you want it a bit oily, add some more oil, etc.
If you don’t have the time to mix your own co-cleanser, you can try buying one:
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