Could this shampoo-free hair cleanser really be the saviour your hair needs?

As the co-washing movement gains pace, we test out a detergent-free cleanser to see if it really makes a difference to your hair.

For a lot of people who have already made their way through both series one and two of Queer Eye on Netflix, what would Jonathan Van Ness do has become an everyday mantra.

I hang on the grooming guru’s every word as he spreads his unique brand of positivity and encourages everyone to take a little bit of time out to look after ourselves before we face the world.

His first step, is to get us all treating our hair with more kindness with much of his horror honed in on the lack of knowledge around shampoo ingredients – some of which are so harsh it can be found in car cleaning products.


One of his favourites instead is the much-hyped Hairstory New Wash. I found out what makes it different from other shampoos.

What is it?

Hairstory is the brainchild of Eli Halliwell, former general manager at Bumble & Bumble.

You may have heard claims that shampooing is ruining your hair or have some understanding of the co-washing movement (when you give up shampoo and swap to a conditioner-only hair routine), and Eli had heard them too.

After doing some digging, he landed on the conclusion that shampoos are too harsh and the worst thing you’re doing to your hair.

It was this philosophy that Hairstory was built on, creating a detergent-free cleanser instead.

New Wash promises to work on all hair types and render conditioner obsolete.

Does it really work?

My hair is a little abused from past colourings which I have since given up in an attempt to embrace my natural colour, it’s dry and gets tangled with ease, and my scalp is also easily irritated which has resulted in me washing my hair daily for the past year or so in an attempt to calm it down, though it seems likely that the opposite has occurred.

As there’s no detergent in this shampoo, it won’t lather up or foam in the way we’ve become accustomed to so instead you take a couple of pumps, coat your hair in it and then give your scalp a really vigorous massage.

Unfortunately, the days of a quick rinse are long gone and you’ll have to use your hands like squeegees to make sure you get it all out of your hair.

After one wash my hair feels softer and more manageable. So much so that I continue washing at my regular pace keen to get maximum results and just endlessly dousing my hair with this liquid gold – and that would be my downfall.

After two weeks of daily washing, my hair has become a dirty mop, drenched in its own grease.

It was at this point that I had my lightbulb moment and heard Jonathan in my head saying “what would my shirt look like if I put this in the wash every day? It would be a tattered up tangly mess.” And that’s what my hair was.

Determined not to give up I tried New Wash again but now washing my hair no more than twice a week.

Finally I’ve found my hair rhythm and my hair is manageable, less knotty and softer. I have honestly gone from not leaving the house without a brush in reaching distance to brushing my hair just once a day.

Though it may be pricy, New Wash more than makes up for it as it’s the only product you’ll ever need.

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