I used my own shed hair and imaged it:
-on its own without any washing
-washed with water only (5 minute wash and air dried for 4 hours)
-washed with conditioner only ( 2 minute water rinse, 2 minute conditioner wash, 2 minute water rinse and air dried for 4 hours)
- washed with shampoo only (2 minute water rinse, 2 minute shampoo wash, 2 minute water rinse and air dried for 4 hours)
1. Unwashed shed hair
I use a crazy amount of coconut oil because I like it, use it daily and swim and wash my hair 3 times a week. I knew before imaging that my hair would be the ideal oily hair sample because I have been imaging my hair for a while now! I did not add any additional oil to my hair prior to imaging (can you believe that!)
|Unwashed super oily hair|
|My oily hair|
2.Water wash only
Water washed hair actually seemed just to spread the oil more evenly over the surface of the hair. It really did not look any less oily than unwashed hair. I guess you may even say it is a good method to moisturise hair by spreading the oil evenly over the hair (oil rinsing perhaps?).
|Hair washed with water only. An oily film is clear to see.|
3. Co-washed hair
Conditioner washing cleaned hair to a pretty good level. Overall the thick oil coating of unwashed hair was gone. There were portions where you could see remnants of oil but I would say that 90% of the visible oil layer was gone.
|Co-washed hair - within the circle are visible oil deposits|
|Co-washed hair - For the vast part, very free of the oil layer|
4. Shampooed hair
Shampooing resulted in the cleanest hair with no visible oil deposits left on the hair strands.
|Shampooed hair - oil free and super clean|
|Clean shampooed hair|
I am pretty surprised that co-washing could actually provide a pretty decent level of cleaning. While, I was expecting some cleansing, I did not think it would be as good as it came out. I would however say that build up in the form of hair conditioner deposits is not visible under my microscope but can happen over time, so, even if you are a firm co-washer, the occasional shampoo will not do you any harm.
Shampoo remains the best way to cleanse oil from hair while water washing is pretty ineffective.
Running warm water was used for all washes. In each wash or rinse, hair was rubbed gently to simulate normal hair washing. Hair conditioner - L'oreal Eversleek Smoothing Conditioner, Shampoo - Herbal Essences Dazzling Shine Shampoo.
Please do note that under the microscope we can see oil layers but we do not see small deposits on hair e.g hair conditioner deposits (well you actually could see them with specialised instruments but not with my microscope!). Strictly speaking this experiment will answer the question, how well will washing method X remove oil from hair.
So which method are YOU going to choose to cleanse your hair ?