TRESemmé, the international hair products company, is releasing a “Reverse” haircare system that consists of conditioning the hair before shampooing. Sounds weird, right?
I’d heard of co-washing before, but not this; and yet, it appears that this reverse method of hair cleansing and conditioning has been around for some time (see this overview at Nouveau Cheap, which I’ll reference later in this post). TRESemmé, of course, nearly talk about their system like it’s ground-breaking—it’s new and a game-changer—but to be fair to them, I hadn’t heard of it until I saw their new product line!
I recently signed up with Topbox Canada’s Glam Sense program, which occasionally sends products to participants in exchange for reviews. The TRESemmé package I received last month is the first time I’ve ever participated in Glam Sense.
What I Received
The three full-sized products I received for review are:
- Beauty-Full Volume Pre-Wash Conditioner (16.5 fl oz / 488 mL)
- Beauty-Full Volume Shampoo (25 fl oz / 739 mL)
- Beauty-Full Volume Hair Maximizer (2.3 fl oz / 70 mL)
As I said, I wasn’t familiar with this method of hair conditioning, so I was pretty excited to try it out!
I’ll lay out the facts about my hair now, so that we all know what we’re dealing with in this review:
My heritage is East Asian, and my hair is thick (both meanings of the word: a lot of hair, and each individual hair is thick) and mostly straight, with the slightest wave to it just so it isn’t stick-straight. It’s quite stubborn and doesn’t take at all well to curling.
A couple of inches past the shoulder; it’s usually give or take a few inches from here.
The biggest one at the moment is recovering from post-partum hair loss. It’s finally stopped falling out in larger amounts, but for months now, my hair has been almost half the thickness it used to be! Ponytails are so much smaller now and require more wraps of the hair band. UGH.
I think I also have a small spot at the top/back of my head that is thinning, and this is separate from the PP hair loss. I’m just into my late 30s, by the way.
Regular concerns are split ends and general dryness, particularly in winter. I hate, hate, hate static hair!
Also, my scalp has a tendency to get dry and flaky, again especially in winter, but I’ve relieved a lot of this issue for several years now by staying away from shampoos containing sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate.
Regular Hair Care Regime
I don’t color (yet! fingers crossed), perm, or straighten my hair. I rarely use styling products (when I do, it’s for taming flyaways). I occasionally blow dry, and my hair goes smooth and stick-straight when I do. I don’t really do a lot to my hair, honestly. Some days, it’s even a challenge to brush it! Seriously, though, it’s quite straight and well-behaved so I can often run my hands through it quickly and look not-overly slobby.
I don’t do any deep-conditioning or special treatments on a regular basis, though I really should.
I’m constantly looking for the best shampoo and conditioner, so I am rarely using the same product twice. However, all the shampoos I have been using are free of SLS. I’m less picky with conditioner, so I’ll tend to use whatever conditioner is paired with the shampoo I’m using at the moment. There’s usually a lot of overlap, though, since I go through shampoo a lot faster than I go through conditioner.
My current shampoo of choice is Himalaya Rejuvenating Shampoo, which I find a little harsh and drying, and JASON Pure Natural Restorative Biotin Conditioner, which I like quite a lot. When I’m pressed for my time, I’ve been using L’Oréal EverCrème Sulfate-Free Nourishing Shampoo, which works like a shampoo + conditioner for me.
1. Starting Off with the Pre-Wash Conditioner
I was excited to try this new system, but I have to say I was pretty darned skeptical about conditioning first. The instructions say to apply 2–3 pumps (for medium length hair) to wet hair, distribute evenly, leave it for one minute, then rinse thoroughly.
I wash my hair every other day (my skin and scalp dry out like crazy if I wash every day), and let’s be honest, here. With a 1.5 year old who can’t be left alone for a minute, it’s a minor luxury to even get to take a 10-minute shower! Gross, I know.
Therefore, I was a bit apprehensive about applying conditioner to my slightly dirty hair. It wasn’t terribly greasy or anything, but I did want it clean, you know?
I thought perhaps it might work a little bit like facial oil cleansing. Maybe the conditioner would loosen up any dirt and grease, and it would all wash away with the shampoo in the next round. Or so I hoped.
So I hopped into the shower, got my hair thoroughly wet, and gently squeezed out excess water (’cause that’s what I always do when I condition normally). I tried applying the required three pumps, but found I needed two additional pumps.
As an aside, my shower has halogen lighting, and I noticed then that the conditioner bottle is iridescent! The white bottle has a teal iridescence, and the teal pump has a blue iridescence! SO pretty. I swear, I stared at it for a minute or two. I tried to get a shot of it but it didn’t come out that great:
Obviously, this is not a sole reason to buy the product, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t the coolest drugstore conditioner bottle I’ve ever seen.
It took me about three or four minutes to work the conditioner into my hair thoroughly, but I left it in for another minute after, anyway. The conditioner itself feels pretty nice: it could work into the hair a little more evenly, but who knows if this is partly because I’m not using it on clean hair? It has a fairly strong scent (I’m not sure why some reviews at TRESemmé’s website say it’s unscented, but I and others find it definitely scented) that I can’t quite define, but it’s pleasantly “shampoo-y”. Vaguely floral, fruity, and synthetic. (Also, for some reason all three products in this Beauty-Full system are scented, but smell slightly different.)
After thoroughly rinsing out the conditioner, my hair felt pretty nice! It was slick and detangled, though I was still suspicious about how clean it actually was.
TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Pre-Wash Conditioner is made in the USA.
2. Using the Shampoo
I was immediately not keen on the shampoo after noticing its second ingredient, after water, is sodium laureth sulfate, which I’ve been avoiding in my shampoos for years. It dries out my hair and scalp badly. But, gamely, I worked a squirt of the product into my hair, and it lathered up nicely (as it should in even my hard water, since it’s full of SLS).
This shampoo is quite harsh, and I feel like it stripped away any goodness there might have been left on my hair from the conditioner. After I rinsed it away, my hair felt like it hadn’t been conditioned, apart from one thing: it was reasonably detangled. I was hopeful now, because one thing this shampoo claims is that it is anti-static, and I absolutely detest having staticky hair in the winter. Admittedly, I like wearing wool toques and hats, so this causes a lot of static problems for me!
Once I got out of the shower, I let my hair air dry, deciding I wanted to see how the Pre-Wash Conditioner and Shampoo combination worked without throwing the Hair Maximizer.
It was not that good, unfortunately. My hair, while mostly tangle-free as it typically is, was drier than it is than when I use my regular shampoo and conditioner combinations. I ran my anti-static Denman brush through it once and immediately my hair went static. I hadn’t even gone outside into the drier air, or put on any wool clothes, or…rubbed a balloon on myself.
Going back to that Nouveau Cheap overview that I mentioned earlier, she states that this conditioning-first routine works best for those with fine hair. I have to say I can really see her point. Because my hair is thicker and denser, it can definitely handle, and dare I say it requires, a heavier conditioning treatment. She also says that ideally, those who use this techique best served by not rinsing out the conditioner first, which is what TRESemmé tells you to do! Using the shampoo to remove the conditioner will help you to not end up with dry, brittle hair, which is kind of what happened to me.
Overall, I found this shampoo way too harsh, and since it contains SLS, I’m not overly keen to use it on a regular basis. It’s also a bit galling that it comes in such a gigantic container (739 mL) and the Pre-Wash Conditioner comes in a much smaller one (488 mL). This is sort of like those hot dog and hot dog bun companies making their products in packs of 6 and 8, so you can never use up everything together unless you buy multiple packages.
On the positive side, my hair was definitely clean after using this shampoo. I can also see that this shampoo would be better for those with finer hair. My hair felt very lightweight after using the system, and although the dry, fluffy look isn’t what I’m going for, this shampoo will definitely not weigh down your hair.
TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Shampoo is made in the USA.
3. Styling with the Hair Maximizer
Since my hair was already dry from the previous step, I re-dampened my hair and applied two dabs of the Hair Maximizer throughout my hair, focusing on the lengths as directed on the package.
I either didn’t wet my hair enough, or perhaps I took took long to distribute the product through my hair, because my hair was about half dry before I got to the blow dry step. I did a quick blow dry, and, as usual, my hair went smooth and stick-straight. Unfortunately, my hair did still feel dry, as it did after the shampoo step.
I did like this product, though. I think I probably need to use a bit more on my thick hair, but it’s actually really lightweight, non-sticky, and kept flyaways at bay. The static issue mostly went away, as well.
The morning after using this, my hair still felt nice, smooth, and “clean”. I’ll definitely keep this around and use it, especially this winter.
TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Hair Maximizer is made in Italy. Its ingredients are: water, cetearyl alcohol, acrylates copolymer, glycerine, dimethicone, mineral oil, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, fragrance, polyquaternium crosspolymer-3, DMDM hydantoin, lactic acid, disodium EDTA, butylene glycol, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, gren 3 (CI 42053).
The Reverse System isn’t for me! I like a proper conditioning for my hair, and feel that this system is ideally suited for those with fine hair, for whom regular conditioning is too heavy. Besides, I am typically going for smoothing and moisturizing, and not the volumizing that this product line advertises.
I liked the Pre-Wash Conditioner well enough, though, and will use it as a regular conditioner, after shampooing!
The Shampoo was the biggest fail for me; I’ll just use it up as a first-round cleanser for those days that my hair is feeling especially gross. That probably means it’ll sit in my shower for a few years!
The Hair Maximizer seemed to work well, and I especially liked the weightlessness it had. I’ll certainly continue to use this product.
TRESemmé was first launched in 1947 in by St. Louis, Missouri, USA-based Godefroy Manuf. Co. From 1968–2010 it was owned by American company Alberto-Culver, and since then it has been owned by British-Dutch company Unilever. TRESemmé products were originally sold exclusively to hair salons; it is currently also available at drugstores. The line is sold in North America, the UK, and Asia.