Guide for the Conditioner only method

Did you know that you can wash your hair and nourish it at the same time with just a conditioner. This is called the conditioner only method and it is often used by ladies with curly hair. This is why it is also called the ‘curly Girl’ method. But this method is also suitable for people without curls! The reason why the conditioner only method is mainly used by people with curly hair, is because curly hair is naturally very dry hair. The root of curly hair is skewed, that’s why curly hair needs more nourishment when you wash is. Dry curly hair can get easily frizzy and the aggressive cleansing sulfates in shampoos certainly won’t help to go against that frizz. In addition, dry curly hair should be nourished regularly to maintain its beautiful curl. Do you have brittle, dry, frizzy hair, and can your hair use some extra nutrition? Then I would definitely try the Conditioner only method! In this guide I will explain which ingredients your conditioner should contain to be suitable for this method.

The conditioner only method

When a lot of people think about a conditioner, they think of a product that nourishes your hair and makes it soft after you have washed your hair with shampoo. For some people, a conditioner can be too heavy for the hair and makes their hair greasy. This is often caused by not water-dissolving silicones, or because the ingredients are too heavy for the hair. For example shea butter or olive oil.
What many people do not know is that most conditioners also contain light cleansing ingredients so that you can use the conditioner as a washing method. 
To wash your hair with a conditioner, this conditioner must agree to a number of conditions:

  1. The conditioner should be low-poo: no sulfates (these are mostly only in shampoos), silicones and parabens. Most silicones are not water soluble and you only get them out of your hair if you wash with aggressive cleansing sulfates. The silicones can build up on your hair and will make your hair heavy and greasy.
  2. The conditioner only method cannot be applied when you use hair styling products that do contain silicones or other non-water soluble substances. The mild cleansing ingredients in the conditioner are not powerful enough to wash the silicones out of your hair.
  3. The conditioner you are going to use should be mild cleansing. This means that the conditioner must not contain sulfates, but other cleansing ingredients. More about this later.
  4. Before you start using the conditioner only method, you need to clean your hair one more time with a shampoo that contains sulphates but NO silicones. This is the same as when you start with the no-poo or low-poo method. The residual silicones can make your hair more heavy and greasy and that makes the transition to the conditioner only method harder.

The cleansing ingredients in a conditioner.

If you have taken the decision to wash your hair with a conditioner, it seems to me the most difficult aspect to choose which conditioner you should use. And what ingredients should you look for? As I described before, the conditioner should be low-poo, and the conditioner should contain mild cleansing ingredients that clean your hair. On the English curly girl facebookpage and the nerdy curly Girl blog you can find a lot of explanations about what to look out for when you are choosing a conditioner. With the help of the English curly Girl facebookpage and the blog of the nerdy curly girl I have come to the following overview.
The following ingredients may be present in a conditioner and are (mild) cleansing:
‘ ____chloride’.
This ingredient can remove sebum and loosen soluble dirt. Is your hair very greasy and you want to clean it properly: wash twice with the conditioner. If you have very thick/full hair, I recommend a shampoo brush or to scrub your scalp very well with your fingers.
If the conditioner contains ‘cetrimonium chloride’, rinse the conditioner out very well. This ingredient has a very gentle cleansing feature, anti static property and anti-microbial feature. But the surfactants can put a layer over your hair.
‘Apple cider vinegar’.
Apple cider vinegar can remove sebum, loosen soluble dirt, close the hair shafts, give your hair shine and it helps against dandruff. Apple cider vinegar cannot remove build-up of silicones, wax or butters. It is often said that you can purify your hair with apple cider vinegar, but in reality apple cider vinegar does nothing against build-up. It only helps against build up from hard water.
‘Decyl/Coco Glucoside en Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate’.
This ingredient removes sebum, can loosen soluble dirt and remove very mild build-up. But no heavy build-up or build-up of silicones! If you want to cleanse your hair very well, wash your hair twice. 
This ingredient is a very good option if you quickly have an oily scalp but the lengths of your hair are very dry. This ingredient is NOT suitable for hair with low porosity, if you use heavy products for your hair or your hair quickly get’s build up.
In a conditioner, the natural cleaning product can also be clay. Clay cleans your hair and is purely natural. There are 4 different kinds of clay: Rhassoul clay, China clay, white clay & green clay.
‘African Black soap extract’.
Twice I have come across the fact that there is African black soap extract in the conditioner. African soap is a natural hair soap and an extract of it in a conditioner will also clean your hair.
‘Cocamidopropyl/Coco Betaine’.
This ingredient removes all silicone and mild to moderate build-up in your hair. It can remove heavy olive oil and coconut oil with ease and is ideal for many insoluble ingredients that have the same effect as silicones. This ingredient will NOT remove butters (shea or mango butter), wax, specific oils or minerals from water.
This ingredient seems to me to be more purifying than the other ingredients.
‘Olefin sulfonate’.
This ingredient will remove everything; Sebum, silicones, build-up, oils, wax etc. It is as strong as the traditional SLS and can be very drying. I mention this ingredient, because it is an ingredient that occurs in a number of conditioners. This ingredient is not as aggressive as the traditional SLS because it comes from a natural product (coconut oil) and has not had any heavy chemical processing. But if you use a conditioner with this ingredient a lot, the effect will be no different than using a normal shampoo with sulfate.


Low-Poo conditioners.

To help you find a low-poo conditioner which is on your way here is a list of conditioners that are suitable for the conditioner only method anyway.


  • As I Am
  • Alikay naturals
  • Aunt Jackie’s
  • Boucleme
  • Bouncecurl
  • Chromalya
  • Creme of nature
  • Curls
  • Curl Flo
  • Curly Ellie
  • Curly Secret
  • Coconut care conditioner (Action)
  • De mane choice
  • Ecoslay
  • Flora & Curl
  • Frize frize
  • Giovanni
  • Hair Dance
  • Holy curls
  • Innersense
  • Jessicurl
  • Kinky curly
  • Kiki Curls
  • Less is more
  • Lus (Niet LUSH, maar LUS)
  • Marlie
  • Moptop
  • Moisture love
  • My Soigne
  • My curly way
  • Nature’s little secret
  • Novex
  • Pump
  • Shea moisture
  • Sumilayi
  • Taliah Waajid
  • The main choice
  • Tabitha
  • Trepadora
  • Treluxe
  • Yari
Have you bought a conditioner or do you have one already in your bathroom and are you sure this one is low-poo? Leave a comment with the list of ingredients and then I take a look at it.

How you wash your hair with a conditioner.

If you found a conditioner that you think you like and you want to wash your hair with it, you can get started! Washing your hair with a conditioner takes a little more time than washing your hair with a shampoo. This is because the cleansing ingredients in a conditioner are mild and cleanse your scalp and hair in a milder way than the sulfates that are in shampoos.
This is how you can wash your hair with a conditioner:



  1. Wet your hair completely and squeeze the excess moisture out of your hair.
  2. Apply a lot of the mild low-poo conditioner to your scalp and the lengths of your hair. Make sure your entire scalp is covered well with the conditioner and massage the conditioner in with your fingers.
  3. Let the conditioner in your hair for at least 10 minutes! This is very important! If you rinse the conditioner out to soon, the mild cleansing ingredients do not have enough time to clean your hair.
  4. Then massage your scalp again with your fingers.
  5. Rinse the conditioner well! Make sure there is no residue left behind.
  6. Repeat this process if necessary again.
  7. You can use a little bit of the conditioner as leave-in, but this does not have to. (If you want to use the conditioner as a leave-in, choose a conditioner without glycerin. About this in another blog more)
Have you used a conditioner as a washing method for some time and do you have some extra tips? Leave a comment!
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