In striving to find a balance between washing everyday, and washing alternate days, I've decided to give conditioner-only-cleansing a whirl. And this is my product of choice. It masquerades under various names and looks (in Malaysia the label is dark green instead of chartreuse), but it's usually recognisable.
For those unfamiliar with conditioner only cleansing (or COC for short), the Long-Hair forum has a huuuuuuuge thread on it here. But let me sum up the basic premise for you. Light conditioners with little or no silicones also contain enough surfactants to clean your hair gently - providing you leave it in long enough and use enough of it.
Girls who tend to favour this method are either those with really dry, curly hair and all shamps send their tresses to lock-hating hell. Or funnily enough, girls with long hair and greasy scalps - like me.
So, why am I doing this? Since returning to humid Malaysia I've been faced with a scalp that needs daily cleansing or it gets too greasy, and a hair shaft that cannot take being shampooed daily due to its length (almost waist-length).
I initially bought this conditioner and its matching shampoo because it promised to "degrease" but be gentle enough to use daily. HAH! The shampoo is wildly stripping, and I've turned it into a clarifying shampoo. Use it daily, I will NOT.
This conditioner though is very very light. And it does contain dimethecones, but from using it I don't believe there's much of it. As a conditioner, it kinda sucks, so I decided to try washing with it, and blow me it works. Maybe because of its citrus extracts, it does de-grease very well without buildup. I believe it does so gently too.
What do I do?
If my scalp is VERY greasy I work a tiny bit of baby shampoo into the roots and rinse out first. Then I grab the bottle and squuuuuuuuuueeze a large amount of conditioner into my hand before slapping it onto my hair (thank goodness this only works with cheap conditioners, eh?)
I then saturate my hair with it - more on the shaft, and then using whatever's remaining on my scalp. I coil it up and leave it for about 5 mins while I do everything else. After that, I rinse very very throughly. Take about 4-5 minutes to rinse your hair, longer if it's curly.
Now this conditioner is SO efficacious that I find my ends need a dab of more moisturising conditioner, so I usually work in a smidgen of my beloved John Frieda's Luxurious Volume conditioner into the ends and rinse without waiting.
How is going?
I'm on Day 2 of this method, and so far, so great! I have no intention of becoming a COC only girl, and am planning on giving my hair a good shampoo every two days or so, but for the interim this really does work.
My hair is left fresh, shiny and I believe less dry. My scalp is also a happier place as it's not constantly striving to overproduce oil and then sitting around in its own grease. I'm surprised at the volume my hair retains (I was afraid it would go flat, flat flat), and although there is less movement than when I use the full shampoo + conditioner routine, but this is compromised by its feeling of weight (less flyaway) and manageability.
I believe that 2 days of COC and one of shampoo will prove to be a good balance. And of course, once a week I'll clarify, and mask. I'll update you girls if this method goes south or I find an even better (and cheaper) conditioner for this method. VO5 conditioners are recommended so I may give them a try next.
If you'd like to try it out, this conditioner is available in all pharmacies and supermarkets in Malaysia, in the UK too. Tresemme is a UK brand after all. It's priced affordably - RM21.90 will get you a biggish bottle, (it's about £3 in the UK), and there are even BIGGER bottles up for grabs - but I find them hard to squeeze with one hand, and lord knows, using two hands would create problems.