My mom recently re-gifted me a QVC customers choice beauty box. This thing had a whole bunch of sample products in it. One of the samples was 2oz of Wen Cucumber Aloe Cleansing Conditioner*. I thought I'd give you a bit of my first impression on this popular "as seen on TV" product.
What is Co-washing?
This was a process that, I think, started in the African American community as a good way to keep super curly hair looking pretty without using any type of shampoo/detergents on the hair. As far as I can tell, Chaz Dean--founder of Wen, stole this idea and came out with his "cleansing conditioners" as a way to mass market the idea of co-washing. So basically, you are paying for Chaz Dean's specific blend of regular conditioner--not necessarily a brand new/revolutionary "cleansing conditioner".
How do you co-wash?
In a nut shell, you use A LOT of conditioner (with no or water soluble silicones--see my silicone in hair care post) to wash your hair, with no conditioning step necessary. I think the Wen packet had a very good way to co-wash on the 2oz packet. The instructions on the were as follows:
"Rinse hair thoroughly, apply half of the WEN Cleansing Conditioner to your palms, and rub together. Apply evenly from your roots to your ends, making sure your hair is completely saturated with Cleansing Conditioner. Add an extra splash of water and thoroughly massage into your scalp and hair for several minutes. Comb through with a wide-tooth comb before rinsing thoroughly and completely.
Repeat the cleansing process, using the other half of the packet to ensure a thorough cleanse. Save a dime-sized amount to be used as leave-in conditioner. Prior to rinsing, clip up and leave the Cleansing Conditioner in your hair for at least three to five minutes. The longer you leave it on, the better the results. Rinse thoroughly and completely. After you have finished rinsing, while your hair is still soaking wet, apply a dime-sized amount of the Cleansing Conditioner to the mid-shaft and ends of your hair as a leave-in conditioner. Style as desired."
How did I feel about my first co-wash?
The Cons: Holy crap that was a lot of instructions for a packet, even for a beauty blogger such as myself. This stuff is not meant for low maintenance people at all. I have waist length, medium-thick, bleach lightened, semi-coarse Asian hair. I definitely had to use 1 full oz each time I washed. Considering that 16oz is $30, if I were to repeat the Wen process as instructed on my sample, I'd only get 8 hair washes for $30! Eek! And you pay $60 for the 32oz, so no savings there. A lot of reviews (and me) take issue with the price. Especially since Chaz recommends more than 1oz of product for my length of hair (talk about obvious marketing techniques). I do think that about 1oz of product was about perfect for my hair though. Also, many Wen reviews note good initial results, but that the silicone in it builds up (as I have explained in depth in my silicone in hair products post).
The Pros: The Wen Cucumber Aloe (which is their most astringent formula which should weigh your hair down the least and combat oily scalp) did leave my hair very luxuriously soft. It air dried like a dream. I'm not sure if I would like any of their less astringent formulas, since I feel that this was the perfect amount of control and moisture for me. I'd be worried that others may weight down my hair. Other formulas may be better for drier/frizzier/curlier hair. I also want to note, that Chaz markets the cleansing conditioner as a "one product does all" solution. I have to agree that my one experience provided great results without any added products or serums. All I needed was the Wen cleansing conditioner. Don't get sucked in by his other products! You don't need them. I did scrape the inside of the packet for the dime sized amount to use as a leave-in conditioner. It worked great.
What comes next for my hair with co-washing?
I have decided, as a result of using this Wen product, to investigate more affordable methods of co-washing. I will keep you all updated on my "Co-washing Asian Hair" experiment. I will be trying several cheaper conditioners that I think might yield the same results when using the Wen method. I also think I might not co-wash every time I wash my hair. I think it's going to depend how "dirty" it is. I think this is a great way to wash your hair on those days when your hair is pretty clean but you got sweaty at the gym or it's just your scalp that needs cleansing (not the length of your hair.)
Shine & Sparkle
*I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post. These are my honest feelings and opinions. Also, like all my images, I'll gladly give someone credit for their image or take it down if someone throws a hissy fit.