Thursday, December 19, 2013

Squish to Condish: My New Favorite Way to Condition My Hair

So if there's one thing that I love about having time off for the holiday season, it's the extra days to experiment with my hair knowing that if an experiment utterly fails, it's ok because I don't have to go to class!
I read about the Squish to Condish method on a hair forum, and I was skeptical.  I don't follow the true Curly Girl method anymore (I use a sulfate free shampoo rather than conditioner washing), so I didn't think that the method would be super beneficial for me.  I thought my hair was pretty well hydrated overall and I was quite happy with it!

But, as you can probably guess, that all changed after I gave this method a whirl.

Here's the before and after, and then I will explain what this method is all about and how you can do it with the products that you're already using.

Hair before using Squish to Condish method
After using Squish to Condish
As you can see, the squish to condish made a huge difference (I also got rid of my stringy ends with a haircut, but the overall curl pattern in the before photo is still representative of what my normal hair looks like without using this method).

So how does this work?

1) Wash your hair however you normally would, whether that's conditioner washing or shampoo washing. Rinse out your preferred washing agent like normal.

2) Move your hair off of your head with your fingers so that it's not all stuck to your scalp.

3) Grab a big pile of conditioner and start working it through your hair until it feels slippery like seaweed.  You can finger comb it through for this step. The focus of this step is getting the hair evenly coated and working out tangles, so if you need to use a wide toothed comb to help out, go for it.

4) Now, instead of just running water over to rinse, take your hands and cup some water in them.  Squish the water upward into your conditioned hair, forming curls.  Think of it like this: you're trying to swell up the cuticle in the center of each hair strand, so you're trying to replace the conditioner with water.

5) Add more conditioner using a squishing motion.

6) Squish water into your hair.

7) How much? How many times? You should keep doing this until your hair is very wet, but it stops dripping water out.  I know that sounds really odd. This is why I was skeptical.  The first time I did this, it took like 6 tries to get the water to stop dripping.  But it did happen.  If your hair is extremely dehydrated, you might have to stop for fear of wasting water/product before the dripping really stops.

8) Style your hair like you usually would.  I have found I can easily skip the leave in conditioner with this and move right to a mousse (I still adore my Suave Captivating Curls mousse) or a gel (my current favorite gel product is the Curl Enhancing Jelly from Spiral Solutions).  I apply my mousse or jelly in the shower, because it's quick and easy.  I then squeeze out my hair with a flour sack towel, which I find are much gentler for squeezing water out of hair than a normal bath towel.

If you give this method a try, let me know how it goes! Happy holidays, curlies!


Liz said...

I will always follow your hair advice because your recommendation to try Suave Captivating Curls has changed my life :-) However, I am so very confused by how this method works! When you're squishing with water, are you also rinsing from above as you normally would? And if you are continuously adding conditioner, how do you ever get it all out? Or is the goal to not get it all out?

Thanks for being my curly hair guru!

Laura said...

Ahhh I'm so thrilled to know someone else understands my obsession with the Suave mousse! It's just the cheapest/best product that I've ever fallen in love with.

Ok anyway back on topic.

When I squish in the water, I'm no longer rinsing from above. I step away from the shower head. I separate the hair from my head so the curls start to form (because my hair is straight when wet and stuck to my scalp). I finger comb in some conditioner. Then instead of rinsing from above, I take handfuls of water and scrunch/squish them up into my hair. To get the conditioner at my roots, I will pour some handfuls of water up there. I'll add some more conditioner, but a lot less of it. I'll repeat with the water. I'll add a tiny bit more conditioner. Basically, I'm trying to really saturate my hair with water and conditioner. I don't ever really get all of the conditioner out, but that's ok. I just skip a leave in. I imagine that as I do this and my hair gets used to be fully conditioned and hydrated, I'll work down to just doing one round of conditioner and water squishing.

I realize this is a really weird process. Here's another blog post on the same method so maybe her description will help clarify.

Becs said...

After doing squish to condish, can I still rake through my styling products? Or should I only scrunch them in from that point on to keep the shape of the curls?

Laura said...

I personally scrunch in to keep the shape of the curls. Of course, you're free to do as you like! Some products really just seem to do better with a raking application, and if you've got a tight curl pattern, they'd be able to rebound to a spring shape after raking.

Pegah said...

Hey! I recently discovered your blog and love to read about it! I switched from regular shampoo to sulfate-free shampoo a few weeks after reading more about sulfates and silicones on your blog, but I was going to try the condition washing method, when I read that you no longer use that method. I was wondering why!

Laura said...


So obviously I'm a huge proponent of gentle washing. I think everyone should use the most gentle method possible. If I could wash with just plain water, I would! But for me, co-washing proved not to be enough to combat my oily scalp. While 95% of people who use conditioner washing with oily scalps are fine because the oil production slows down, mine did not ever fully decrease to an acceptable level. So I use the most gentle thing available, which is sulfate-free washes that use stronger cleansers than just conditioners. I also like the flexibility it gives me with regards to silicones (I basically don't check for them anymore, because what I use can get rid of them). But checking for silicones was a small price to pay for the benefits of co-washing. I know I've got surface frizz that doing full co-washing would take care of! So if you can do the conditioner washing, that's great! If not, sulfate free is a reasonable compromise.

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P4tch said...

Btw. I've done this method TWICE now and my hair has done a complete 180 changes. I noticed you and I also have very similiar hair (just judging from the pictures). Also from reading the comments below, i ALSO couldn't really do the full on curly girl method (co-washing with conditioner and the no sulfate shampoo) My hair would get so oily/greasy and there would be a lot of build up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed but I'm so glad I found this method, it really works!!!