By now you’re probably well aware of the much buzzed about practice of co-washing—nixing harsh shampoos that strip your hair of its natural oils and instead using conditioner as a cleanser. Especially popular among women with natural, coily hair that’s prone to dryness (this writer being one of them) the practice has sparked a new lot of beauty products: cleansing conditioners.
“Cleansing conditioners have emerged as an alternative to traditional shampooing and conditioning for non-wash days when the hair is not truly dirty, but just feels unclean,” says Dr. Rolanda Wilkerson, principal scientist for Procter & Gamble. “They contain more conditioning ingredients and lower levels of surfactants and thus provide higher conditioning benefits and gentle cleansing.”
Popular products on the high end of the cleansing conditioner spectrum include the aragon oil-infused R+Co Analog Cleansing Foam Conditioner ($29, randco.com) and Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner ($32, sephora.com), which can also be used as a leave-in. If, however, you’re looking for a more affordable option, we’ve rounded up five drugstore cleansing conditioners. They’ll be good to your hair, and to your pocket.
Herbal Essences Naked Moisturizing Cleansing Conditioner ($6, walgreens.com)
“Naked” in the sense that it has no sulfates, parabens or dyes, this low-lather cleanser cleans and moisturizes hair while giving the scalp an invigorating, peppermint-spiked boost.
L’Oréal Paris Hair Expertise EverCreme 6-in-1 Cleansing Balm ($12, walgreens.com)
Two-in-one products are great, but L’Oréal Paris is raising the bar with this cleansing balm, which touts six benefits for dry and damaged hair: It cleanses, conditions, treats damage, softens, detangles, and adds shine.
Head & Shoulders Moisture Care Dandruff Co-Wash ($5, drugstore.com)
Formulated with almond oil and coconut essence, this Head & Shoulders co-wash delivers the brand’s most well known benefit by banishing dandruff and soothing dry scalp.
Biolage by Matrix Cleansing Conditioner for Fine Hair ($26, drugstore.com)
Though a bit pricier than others on the list, a little of this conditioning cleanser goes a long way, and the lightweight formula—made with dirt-lifting citrus oils—is one of few that won’t weigh down fine hair.
Pantene Pro-V Color Preserve Cleansing Conditioner ($8, drugstore.com)
The sweet almond oil found in this bottle leaves hair smooth and shiney, and the low lather is one that cleanses without stripping away color.
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