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How does Tresemme Beauty-Full Volume Reverse Wash haircare system work? Episode 151

How does Tresemme Beauty-Full Volume Reverse Wash haircare system work?

Jess says…I just saw an ad for the Tresemme Beauty-Full Volume system. Is there really something to conditioning first and then shampooing or are they just convincing us to wash our money down the drain?4049368260_2181e7ea07_b

Let’s talk a little bit about the process of reverse washing just in case our audience isn’t familiar with the practice. This is where you take a product that’s typically applied AFTER shampooing, like a conditioner or some kind of oil, and you apply it to your hair BEFORE you shampoo.

The idea is that the shampoo will remove the “excess” materials and leave just enough behind on your hair to provide conditioning benefits but without the feeling heavy residue that some conditioners cause. So this is targeted toward those people with thin, fine hair and those people who don’t want to lose volume when then condition.

Here’s how their website describes it:

Introducing the NEW TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume collection – a revolutionary new reverse wash haircare system,

Using conditioner after you shampoo can weigh hair down and leave it flat. TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Reverse System is a game-changing regimen that gives your hair amazing body and bounce. Condition first to soften, then shampoo to wash away the weight.

So this is different from other techniques we’ve talked about like co-washing or no-poo. This is more of a pre-poo method. This isn’t a new idea. In fact, one of the most iconic products in the entire hair care industry, VO5 Hot Oil is a “pre-poo” conditioner. Although not everyone seems to realize that. Coconut oil is typically used this way as well – you apply it to hair, let it soak in, and then wash it out.

Right, but Tresemme is the first major brand to market a companion shampoo and conditioner to be used in this way. What have they done that’s different?

Technically they haven’t really done things very differently. If you look at the ingredient lists for the new Beauty-Full volume products you’ll see that the shampoo is based on Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine, two very common surfactants with a bit of Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, which is a conditioning agent used in 2 in 1 shampoos. If you look at their Moisture Rich shampoo you’ll see the ingredients are almost identical.

The Pre-wash conditioner is based on Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Behentrimonium Chloride, with some Amodimethicone. This is very similar to their Healthy Volume conditioner. So the products aren’t really that different. Does that mean that reverse washing is just a scam?

No not really. There are two ways that reverse washing can provide a different level of experience. The first has to do with how much stuff you’re leaving behind. First, remember that conditioners work by depositing lubricating agents on the surface of your hair. So in a sense, conditioner is putting “clean dirt” on your hair. The shampoo has to work harder than usual, gets used up by the combination of the dirt on your hair and the conditioner residue.

Second, you have to realize that shampoo and conditioner ingredients are soft of magnetically opposite. What I mean by that is that shampoo surfactants tend to be anionic which means they have a negative charge and many conditioning agents are cationic which means they have a positive charge. So it’s possible that the positively charged material on your hair from the conditioner could cause the negatively charged materials in the shampoo to deposit on your hair. That’s exactly what happens with VO5 Hot Oil.

Yes, the complex that’s formed by combining a cationic material with an anionic one is called a “Cat-an” wax. These waxes will vary depending on the type of conditioning agent and the strength of the cleansers in the shampoo. When this kind of complex is formed it is less soluble than either of it’s components so it tends to fall out of solution and stay on the hair.

If you’re following the Tresemme instructions, which tell you to completely rinse the conditioner before applying the shampoo, then I’d be surprised if you’d feel a tremendous amount of interaction between the two products. But I did find one popular beauty blogger who says the secret to reverse washing is to NOT RINSE the conditioner. She uses the shampoo to remove the conditioner. If you follow these instructions you could end up with with quite a bit of deposition.

Depending on the nature of the formulas, how much you use, and exactly how you apply them, you could see a wide range of results on your hair.
So, what’s the bottom line for Jess?

Reverse washing is really “a thing” but you shouldn’t spend a lot of money on special products. You might experiment with your regular shampoo and conditioner before rushing out to buy something new. But if you like the approach, the Tresemme products are worth a try because they’ve presumably been optimized for this method of application and they’re really not that expensive.

Shampoo ingredients
Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Dimethiconol, Fragrance, Glycol Distearate, Carbomer, PPG-9, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Citric Acid, DMDM Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA, PEG-45M, Sodium Benzoate, Acrylates Copolymer, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Mica, Titanium Dioxide

Pre-wash Conditioner ingredients
Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Behentrimonium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, Fragrance, Amodimethicone, DMDM Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA, PEG-7 Propylheptyl Ether, Cetrimonium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Acrylates Copolymer, Methylisothiazolinone

Health volume conditioner ingredients
Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Behentrimonium Chloride, Lysine Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Gelatin, Keratin Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Hydrolyzed Silk, Ascorbic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Soluble Collagen, Niacinamide, Biotin, Fragrance, Dipropylene Glycol, Potassium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Amodimethicone, Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, PEG-150 Distearate, Cetrimonium Chloride, PVP, Polysorbate 20, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, VP, Methacrylamide, Vinyl Imidazole Copolymer, Methylisothiazolinone

Healthy moisture conditioner ingredients
Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Behentrimonium Chloride, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Panthenol, Niacinamide, Biotin, Fragrance, Dipropylene Glycol, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Amodimethicone, Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, PEG-7 Propylheptyl Ether, Cetrimonium Chloride, Polysorbate 20, PEG-150 Distearate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

Are banana peels good for acne?

Boom says…the internet told me that if i rub banana peel on my acne and acne marks that it will help soothe and diminish them. Any truth to this? There is loads about this on youtube.

We know that bananas peels are rich in Vitamin A, which is a proven topical treatment for acne. So, yes, absolutely, rubbing banana peels on your face is probably the best natural treatment for breakouts.

Hang on….Just because banana peels contain vitamin A that doesn’t mean you can just rub them on your face and get rid of zits. Let’s break this down. Vitamin A is a group of chemicals, not one single compound. What kind of vitamin A is good for acne?

That would be Retinoids, like retinol or retinoic acid.

Ok, do bananas contain Vitamin A in the form of retinoids?

Not exactly, they contain Beta carotene. But beta carotene can be converted into retinol, so like I said banana peels are a great natural….

Wait a minute. HOW does beta carotene get converted to retinol?

Uh, well. there’s an enzyme in the digestive tract of some animals that can convert it.

Can humans convert it?

No, humans don’t have that enzyme.

And can it be converted when applied topically to skin?

Well, I couldn’t find any data proving it could but I can’t prove that it can’t either. So maybe all that beta carotene in banana peels DOES end up as retinol which can fight acne. Then it would work!

Ok, maybe. Assuming there’s enough of the active ingredient. How much beta carotene is in banana peels?

About 150 micrograms of BC per gram of banana peel.

The average banana peel weighs about 10 grams so if you rubbed 2 peels on your face that would give you about 3000 micrograms of BC which is about 0.003 grams. So if ALL the BC converted to retinol you’d have .003 grams of retinol. right?

No one wants to hear you do math on the podcast.

Just answer the question.

Ok, yes 0.003 grams.

Now, just rubbing the peel is not going to release all of that but how much is reasonable? Half of it?

Yeah, OK let’s assume just rubbing the peel on your face releases 50% of the total vitamin A.

So you end up with maybe 0.0015 grams of retinol on you face. Right?


And how much retinol does a typical anti-acne cream contain?

Maybe 1% retinol and you apply maybe a few grams to your face so you’re applying about 5 grams of product and 1% of 5 grams is 0.05 grams of retinol.

So even IF … all the vitamin A in a banana peel gets converted to the correct form (which it doesn’t) and even IF you could get all that vitamin A out of the peel and onto your skin (which you can’t) THEN you’d still have only about 0.0015 grams from banana vs. 0.05 grams vs a cream.

That is correct.

So the vitamin A from banana peels is AT LEAST 30 times more dilute than what’s used in a cream. And that’s a BEST case scenario. In fact, its probable that you’d have much much less than that. Do you STILL think banana peels can work for acne?

Yes but according to your calculations, if you rubbed 60 banana peels on your face maybe then could work.

Let’s just go on to the next question…

Fine. I win.

Does wearing liquid foundation “dilute” your sunscreen?

Sarah says…I read that .wearing liquid foundation over sunscreen “dilutes” your sun protection. I guess my take is that you may be moving your sunscreen around a little while applying foundation, but it’s unlikely you’re removing it altogether–where would it go? I’m not going to lose sleep about this, but I’d be curious for your take.

We can think of a few reasons why this might be plausible…First, if you apply foundation over sunscreen before the sunscreen has a chance to form a proper film, that can cause problems. This could disrupt the emulsion to the point where you could lose coverage. Waiting about 15 minutes would solve that problem.

Second, you may (consciously or unconsciously) use less sunscreen if you know you’re applying another product on top of it. Obviously if you under dose the sunscreen it won’t provide the targeted SPF.

On sort of a related note….perhaps whoever wrote was referring to makeup that contains SPF. Some people think that SPF is additive but it’s not: SPF 50 plus SPF 15 does not equal SPF 65. At best you’ll get an average of the two which in this case would be SPF 57.5.

So if you’re layering SPF and expecting them to add up, you will be “diluting” that total. Sort of.

Beauty Science News

Microbes in skin care


Here’s a story that shows you the direction that the cosmetic market may be taking in the future. Beneficial microbes in your skin care products. Now we all know that bacteria is typically not a good thing. In fact, those antibacterial soaps were all about killing all the bacteria that’s on your body. Well, scientists have recently been studying the surface of the skin and the microbial ecosystem and have found that while there are some harmful disease causing bacteria, there are also good bacteria that protect your skin from viruses, other bacteria and microbes.

Some marketers are now taking advantage of these helpful bacteria by creating pro-biotic cosmetics. Probiotics are common in the food industry and like most things that work in the food industry, the cosmetic industry figures people will like it in their cosmetics. There are a couple of challenges to this technology the least of which is how to talk about it. Do consumers really want to use a product that contains live bacteria? Who wants to put bacteria on their bodies? So experts suggest talking about the micro biome and giving it a positive spin. I know there’s a brand called Mother Dirt (http://motherdirt.com/) that is all about pro-biotic for the skin. This brand was started by some university types. We’ll see how well they do. They do claim the product to be preservative free mostly because if they had preservatives in the product that will kill the good bacteria too.

Most of the products that are taking advantage of this pro-biotic trend are not delivering live bacteria but rather deactivated probiotics. The claim is that these ingredients will help boost the wellness of resident bacteria. It seems like a sketchy claim to me.

I don’t know where this will go. I think consumers like foam and these products are going to have lower levels (if any) of surfactants and they probably aren’t going to smell great. It’s also difficult to see the actual benefit you get. But what do I know. Lots of companies think this is the future of skin treatments and maybe it is. But I’m skeptical…as we’ll see in the next story, J&J isn’t


Anti-bacterial soap ban


The FDA is further restricting which ingredients can be used in antibacterial hand and body washes. We’ve touched on this in the past – in the last few years use of these AB products have exploded so the FDA has been taking a fresh look at them to make sure there are no issues.

First of all they found that these types of products don’t really work all that well. In fact, there’s no compelling data to show they work better than regular soap and water. Secondly, over-exposure MAY cause some health concerns, although the data there is not conclusive either. But, the FDA did the prudent thing – if there’s no real benefit and there is some slight risk – then it makes sense to prohibit use of these ingredients. It’s still kind of complicated – This new rule applies to wash products containing one or more of 19 specific active ingredients, including the most commonly used ingredients – triclosan and triclocarban. The FDA is still looking at the data for 3 other ingredients. Also, this applies only to the wash type products sold to consumer. It does NOT include hand sanitizers or antibacterial products sold for use professional health care.

J&J get into microbe research


According to a recent report in cosmetics design, J&J has signed a research agreement with a company called Xycrobe Therapeutics. They are exploring how engineered bacteria can be used in personal care treatment products. Xycrobe has sever bacterial strains that have a close relationship with the human body. They see these organisms as ones that will have the ability to help treat an array of skin issues. It will be looked at for treating things like acne, psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.

This good bacteria area is ripe with research. And for good reason because it really is a new line of study. The truth is most cosmetic products that you use right now aren’t drastically different than the things that people were using in the 1950’s and 60’s. There hasn’t really been a significant technological development in a long time. But these microbes could certainly be a new technology.

So, look for this technology to first be applied to anti acne products. That’s probably the biggest market and there are just some people who don’t respond to standard treatments.

Citrus fruits and skin cancer


Apparently eating a lot of fruits like oranges and grapefruits can increase your risk of contracting melanoma. This study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology says that citrus products contain psoralens and fur-O-coumarins which can stimulate certain cancers when they’re exposed to light. The study looked at the diets of over 100,000 people over the course of 4 years. After controlling for other factors, the melanoma risk was found to by 36% higher in people who ate citrus fruits more than 1.5 times per day. So I’m sure it won’t be long before some enterprising beauty company starts selling sunscreen in the produce aisle of the grocery store.

Millennials aren’t buying soap bars


Remember back in the early 90’s when we were working at Alberto? That is when body washes were just getting started. At that time soap was still the dominant product. But boy have things changed. Now bar soap is seen as old fashioned and Americans in the age range of 18 to 24 just aren’t buying it. The people buying it the most are men over the age of 60.

According to a study published by Mintel the overall market growth in soap, bath and shower products was plus 2.7%. But sales of bar soaps have slipped 2.2%. Young consumers and women just don’t like traditional bar soaps any more. One reason is that millennials believe bar soap is covered with germs after using them. And some health authorities like Minnesotas Department of Health is suggesting that people should use liquid soaps because germs can grow on bar soap and spread infection. That seems questionable to me. I know big companies would prefer people buy liquid soaps. The profit margin is higher.

iTunes Reviews

Googerstu says…Both Perry and Randy are knowledgeable, have great chemistry (with each other. pun intended), and care about the public. Only critique: I wish we knew more about Randy: has he ever tried joggling? What is his favorite long-named cosmetic ingredient? What does he like to read? Does he appreciate wild animals? The lack of personal info makes the dialogue a bit like an effective half-head-test; it’s a bit lopsided.

Asair2139 says…The beauty brains approaches beauty from the side of science…and it has saved me money and made me smarter! Some people complain about their banter at the beginning of episodes, but I think they’ve found the right mix of fluff and hard science to make the podcast fun and substantive.

Robert from Canada says…A bit of a drag on those quiz things but the tighter format is much better. it’s much better on my patience and my ears. Really would like more product reviews. I swear by the brand Live Clean. I would love your feedback on it. Who makes it any inside info.

Quick answer: The company doesn’t list ingredients on their website or anywhere else I could find.  That’s a huge red flag. I went to the website to find out more about their company…usually look at for legal footer info on who owns who. The link doesn’t work. The background just says…Proudly a Canadian brand, Live Clean launched with the premise that hair care products could be environmentally friendly, highly effective, and a pleasure to use. They also say that SLS/SLES are derived from petro-chemical ingredients but they are also derived from coconut oil. Finally, they’re against parabens which is not good science.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Grace September 24, 2016, 3:01 pm

    Y’all rock. I couldn’t stand that there were no comments other than the podcast comments (which, y’all rock that too).

  • Monica Magalhaes September 24, 2016, 7:55 pm

    Perry likes Bananaphone, yay…!

    I’m surprised anyone knows/remembers that song other than me and my best friend since elementary school. It’s been a source of in-jokes for 20+ years–and our ringtones for each other, which get us some weird looks sometimes…

    No question about beauty science, just random chat about my personal life. That’s totally relevant to the podcast, right?

    • Randy Schueller September 24, 2016, 7:56 pm

      You’re certainly on the same frequency as Perry. I’m not sure if that’s healthy or not.

  • Eileen September 26, 2016, 12:23 pm

    “Most of the products that are taking advantage of this pro-biotic trend are not delivering live bacteria but rather deactivated probiotics. The claim is that these ingredients will help boost the wellness of resident bacteria.” So, let me get this straight. By applying something “dead” we’re stimulating the “living”? Wow! I always thought that was called nacrophilia! LOL

    Seriously, though, it is an interesting area of study although I think what is currently being hyped in the beauty market is basically snake oil. Why would a healthy individual need to supplement what is already naturally occurring–and in great abundance–on their skin? Unless there is medical condition that has disrupted the skin’s microbiota, I can’t really see the point unless it is to enrich the company producing the product. I don’t mean to sound like an old poop, because I can see exciting possibilities for the treatment of skin diseases, but I’d like to see much more research before spending any money on a probiotic beauty cream–especially since the probiotics are “deactivated”. As we all know from advertising, when it comes to taking probiotics for digestive health, a big to do is made about them being alive and able to survive as they move through the digestive system. So, why must they be alive to be beneficial when taken internally, but its OK for them to be deactivated when applied topically? I just can’t get this image out of my head of a group of marketers sitting around a table and saying, “You know, guys, we’ve got all these people out there convinced they’ll feel terrible if they don’t take their daily probiotic. What if we convince them that unless they’re slathering their skin with probiotics–dead ones at that (everyone laughs their evil laugh)–they’re skin won’t look good.” Yeah, I guess I am an old poop after all!

    As for the citrus/cancer link, I can see it all now–sample bottles and coupons affixed to our Sunkist 🙂 Of course, that won’t be necessary if the EWG can just get all citrus banned from the marketplace. LOL

    Very informative post, guys. There was a lot to think about.

    • Randy Schueller September 26, 2016, 4:15 pm

      Or Sunkist could just cultivate a new kind of citrus-free citrus fruit.