Affordable alternatives to the incredibly popular Wen Cleansing Conditioner have been popping up everywhere. Wen’s been around for a couple years now; you may have seen an infomercial for it and thought … what the hell is a cleansing conditioner? Fair question.
What the hell is a cleansing conditioner?
These 2-in-1s sound too good to be true. They promise to cleanse and condition your hair in one step. In stark comparison to 2-in-1 shampoos, these bad boys claim to lightly refresh oily locks, while infusing hair with moisture. If you’ve ever (foolishly) tried using a two-in-one shampoo, possibly while on a trip and without your normal shampoo and conditioner, then you understand why this distinction is important.
2-in-1 shampoos most often contain large amounts of sodium lauryl sulfates, the main cleansing agent in shampoos, and consequently strip hair of any moisture (and self-decency). They rarely actually condition hair. As you can probably tell, I do not suggest 2-in-1 shampoos. Leave those on the shelf for utilitarian men who ain’t got no time to condition.
Cleansing conditioners, on the other hand, offer the perfect solution to those instances when your hair isn’t very dirty but needs a rinse. Post-gym and pre-dinner with friends is my most common scenario. I’ve gone to a workout class (go me!) and gotten just sweaty enough to have lifeless, slightly damp (read: sweaty) hair. I barely need a shower. But that hair. Sigh. I can’t bring that hair to dinner. And i’m not really a hats woman.
Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner: A Pleasant Surprise
For starters, this cleansing conditioner is paraben and sulfate-free. Parabens are finally undergoing a dishonorable discharge from the beauty industry. For more info on why they’re potentially harmful read my post about skincare and ingredients to avoid.
Herbal Essences’ claim:
“Renew your senses with the calming scent of herbal mint fusion. Then let this low lather cleanser go to work, combining the conditioning properties of a nourishing oil while gently cleansing the hair, for touchably soft hair. Naturally this sulfate-free formula is gentle enough for smoothing dry and damaged hair.”
This cleansing conditioner pleasantly surprised me. After a recent complete fail with Herbal Essences’ Body Envy Dry Shampoo, I didn’t have high hopes for another new release from the hair care brand. But I love trying new cleansing conditioners, mosied my way on over to target to check out the packaging and smell, and ended up bringing this bad boy home.
The smell: Herbal Essences describes this product’s scent well. It’s a mild, slightly herbal, slightly minty scent. It doesn’t take over the shower like other Herbal Essences hair care products.
Packaging: Yes, please! The product comes in a moderately-sized bottle with a great pump. While most cleansing conditioners come with a pump, which is necessary given the thickness of the product, Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner’s pump is way better and makes getting enough product into your hand much easier.
How to Use Cleansing Conditioners
Disperse roughly twice the amount of shampoo you would normally use, lather product through hair, add a little water, let product sit on hair for roughly 3 minutes, then rinse.
The results: this product gets the job done better than my previous, favorite drugstore cleansing conditioner, the L’oreal EverCreme Cleansing Conditioner, which I’ve sworn by for a couple years now. I prefer the Herbal Essences’ scent and results. This product doesn’t weigh down my hair, definitely cleanses well between deep shampoos, and comes in at under 5 dollars.
Will it replace your Wen?
If you’re a loyal Wen user, then I doubt the Herbal Essences is going to get you to permanently stray from the Wen because that stuff must be formulated with baby tears or unicorn sweat or something magical. There’s a reason Wen is incredibly expensive.
But for under 5 dollars, I suggest checking out the Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner.