"Condition Washing" is not new. Some of you may know it by its more common name, the "No Poo Method" (of course the word "poo" is short for SHAMpoo). I've been intrigued by this concept for years (click here for Afrobella's blog post on the origins and benefits of the no-poo method written back in 2006).
In a nutshell, the No Poo Method is simple: instead of using a traditional shampoo to cleanse your hair, you use a low-sudsing, less drying product instead. For years, people have been using products such as a light conditioner in place of shampoo (Vo5 conditioners are well-known for this purpose). This can be beneficial to those with extremely dry and/or curly hair who want to avoid the drying effects of traditional shampoos. So just think of the No Poo Method as a "kinder, gentler" way of cleansing the hair.
In the years since the No Poo Method hit the scene, there have been lots of specialty brands that have released products specifically for this purpose. But, to my knowledge, L'Oreal was the first to bring this type of product to the mainstream (aka: drugstore) when they recently released the EverCrème Cleasning Conditioner. Naturally, I HAD to try it the moment I saw it at my local CVS, so I bought a bottle and have been using it for a few weeks now.
L'Oreal EverCrème Cleansing Conditioner
(retail: $6.99, 8.3 oz)
Pay special attention to the directions (above), as I'll refer to those later in this review.
Before I get into how this product worked for me, I have to share with you my biggest complaint about the design of this bottle:
Don't get me wrong: I LOVE when shampoos or conditioners come with pump dispensers. HOWEVER, this one is the type that should go on a FACIAL cleanser, not a hair cleanser. Case-in-point:
The above photo was taken after one pump of this product. It's hard to show perspective in photos, but hopefully this will help:
In the above photo, I have shown you how much "regular" shampoo I need to cleanse my hair (see top of photo). It's basically enough to fill the palm of my hand (I have long hair that goes to the middle of my back). Underneath that "puddle" of regular shampoo, I applied ONE pump of the L'Oreal product. I'm sorry, but no matter how concentrated this product is (more on that in a moment), one pump of this product isn't even enough to cleanse my BANGS. So my complaint is that I literally have to use about 20 pumps to coat my hair, and since each pump yields such a TINY amount of product, I get frustrated standing in my shower pumping tiny bit after tiny bit in my hand until I have enough to work with. I'm sorry L'Oreal, but that's a design FAIL in my book. This product should really be in a squeeze bottle.
Now, please allow me to back-track and walk you through my thoughts on this product from beginning to end. If this review is too long for you, please feel free to skip and go directly to my "Final Verdict." But if you're interested in the details, by all means, keep reading!
First of all, the fragrance is delightful. If you like coconut, you'll probably love the scent of this product.
Now, I know that the No Poo Method is best for those with dry hair (even the label on this product states: FOR ALL DRY HAIR TYPES). So I realize that I'm not the prime candidate for a product like this since I have oily hair, but I do have dry ends. (For new readers, my hair is fine in texture but I have a lot of it. My hair goes down to the middle of my back and it's naturally wavy and also color-treated. My hair has a tendency to get frizzy if I don't use the right products.)
Traditionally, those who opt for the No Poo Method tend to have thick, coarse, curly, dry hair that has a tendency to feel very dry after using traditional shampoos. So why did I want to try this product? Well since I have oily hair, I tend to want to wash my hair every single day. I was hoping that a product like this could "get me by" on the days when I want to wash my hair but don't need a deep cleansing. My goal was to us this about every two days, to see if it could improve the texture of my ends, which are currently very dry.
So here's my experience:
The label does not indicate how much you should use for a single application. Some labels will say something like "Apply a small amount to hair." But since the pump dispenses such a SMALL amount of product (see above), I took that to mean that I shouldn't use the same amount that I'm accustomed to using with my regular shampoos. Well, that would fine, if I could actually distribute a small amount into my hair. But, that's kind of impossible. This product feels like you're trying to work a body lotion into your hair. It's creamy, but since there are no suds, it's incredibly challenging to work it through the hair, and forget about trying to get it down to your scalp. Even after several attempts, I STILL never feel like this product isn't even touching my scalp (though I'm sure it is...I just can't feel it).
After about ten pumps of product into my palm, I find that that's enough to coat the top portion of my hair. But then I need an additional ten pumps or so to coat the bottom portion of my hair. Again, it's a real challenge to work this through and penetrate the bottom layer of my hair, but don't go running away just yet because THERE'S HOPE.
Per the directions, I have been leaving this product on my hair for at LEAST two minutes before I rinse (usually five minutes). The great thing is that once I start to rinse, it's as if the water "releases" the product and it makes it SO much easier to get down into the bottom layer of my hair and really work it through before the final rinse. So for those who try this, don't be scared that you're never going to coat ALL of your hair with this product--you will get there, but probably during the rinse stage.
As for the rinse, I find that this product rinses pretty easily (about the same as rinsing a standard conditioner from your hair). And what I LOVE is that it really feels as if I have used a traditional shampoo and a standard conditioner, even though I've only used this one product. My hair feels soft, yet clean, and nicely moisturized. But please note, I used the word "standard" conditioner because my doesn't feel the way it feels after a use a deep conditioner. I don't get a lot of detangling or deep hydration from this product; it's comparable to what my hair feels like after I use a regular shampoo and a standard conditioner.
PLEASE NOTE: per the label, there is "no need to use a separate conditioner" after you've used this product. If you have fine hair like me, I would absolutely agree with this statement--this product is enough on its own. HOWEVER, if your hair is thick, coarse and/or extremely dry, you MIGHT benefit from using an additional light conditioner after rinsing this product from your hair. That's totally up to you.
After my hair dries, it feels extremely soft, light and bouncy. In fact, I was afraid that it felt a little TOO light (which, if you have oily hair, you know means that greasy hair is about to rear its ugly head). Surprisingly, I find that my usual break-through oil that appears at my roots doesn't come about until about the next day (which is about standard for me). So this product does not contribute to my oily hair, which is wonderful. I also find that my curls have some extra "spring" to them, and this product really does wonders to control (practically eliminate) my frizz.
FINAL VERDICT: If you have thick, coarse, curly and/or very dry hair, I think you might be quite happy with using L'Oreal EverCrème Cleansing Conditioner in place of your traditional shampoo and conditioner on days when you want a light cleansing. However, be prepared for a bit of a challenge when it comes to how this product dispenses from the bottle, and how much you'll need in order to coat your hair. My advice would be to simply remove the pump dispenser altogether so you're not standing there pumping twenty or forty times before you get enough product into your hand. Other than that, I think this product absolutely serves its purpose. It provides a nice, less harsh alternative to traditional shampoos and leaves my hair very smooth, soft and light. Would I use it every day? No way. But I never intended to use it every day (my hair's just too oily for that and like I mentioned before, I don't feel that this product cleanses my scalp as much as I sometimes require). But I would use it once or twice a week in place of my normal shampoos and conditioners because I think it gives my hair (specifically my dry ends) a much needed break and I'm very happy with how my hair looks and feels after it dries.
Have you tried the No Poo Method? If so, what products do YOU use? Have you tried L'Oreal EverCrème Cleansing Conditioner yet? Do you think it might be a good fit for your haircare needs?