DIY Hair Hair Products Tips & Tricks

Wen you’re on a budget.

If you’ve been here long  you’ve heard me sing the praises of using Wen to clean my hair ( I LOVE the stuff). The problem is, every time I bring it up I have a handful of folks vent that they’d really love to try it but it’s just plain out of their budget.
Which I totally get. It’s not cheap.
So a few months ago I decided to try my hand at created a DIY cleansing conditioner that wouldn’t strip your hair (like shampoo does) but also wouldn’t break the bank.
I took some advice from some of you guys and started by just cleansing with conditioner alone.
Which worked OK as long as I reaaaaally scrubbed, but I felt like it got oily too quickly.
So I started researching ingredients and trying other concoctions until I found my money maker.

Here’s the thing… My whole household has been using this recipe for our hair washing for the last two months and our hair is looking as shiny, clean, moisturized and healthy as ever and guess what? It only costs me around 8 bucks for quarter gallon of the stuff!

diy_cleansing_conditioner

Is it as good as Wen? No, that stuff reigns king supreme in my book, but it’s a fantastic alternative for when it’s just not an option!

Recipe:

5 Parts Suave Moroccan Conditioner
1 Part Glycerin

Directions:
Using an old conditioner bottle add both ingredients and {{SHAKE}}!

Pretty simple eh?

Be sure to keep these things in mind when you’re using it:

  • You need to use LOTS.  I use a heaping handful that way I can get it evenly distributed into my locks
  • SCRUB. You don’t have any lather doing the job for you so you’ve got to rely on yourself for the scrubbing. Massage your scalp and down the shaft of your hair well. (get into it – think Herbal Essence commercial)
  • rinse well

If you try this I’d love to hear how it worked for you so let me know!
And remember if your hair is greasy you need MORE conditioner, not less. Kind of goes against everything you know about the world but do it anyway!

Happy Hump Day!

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74 Comments

  • Reply
    Lisa Scott Provost
    January 21, 2015 at 4:17 am

    Whoa, cool! I can totally get down with a $20 experiment. I’ve been super curious to try a cleansing conditioner, but the buy-in was kind of steep. Thanks for sciencing this version! 🙂

  • Reply
    casydee
    January 21, 2015 at 5:03 am

    Or you could just use HairOne from Sally’s. It’s about $10.00 per bottle, and a bottle lasts a month+. You DO have to use as directed, though. If you try to skimp on the amount, it won’t work properly… of course, all of the conditioning shampoos work like that though.

    • Reply
      Diana in LAS
      January 21, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      SERIOUSLY, casydee! I’ve yet to try Wen (just haven’t yet) but have used Hair One for a few years and LOVE it!!

  • Reply
    Molly
    January 21, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Loreal has a cleansing conditioner in their sulfate free line for about $5.. it works so well! There is also one that Herbal Essences just launched with their naked line, which I’m looking forward to trying.

    • Reply
      Denise
      January 21, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      I’ve been using the Herbal Essence Cleansing Conditioner for 6 months and I LOVE it! It’s only $5 and works (and smells) great!

      • Reply
        lisaburkhart
        March 18, 2015 at 6:49 am

        I used Wen too. I finally gave up the habit, too expensive. I’ve found the Herbal Essence Cleansing Conditioner a match for Wen. I’ve tried all the others and it wasn’t even close for me. I will have to try the diy to see how that works.

    • Reply
      Lindsay
      February 5, 2015 at 9:31 am

      The Herbal Essence is AMAZING! I love it!

  • Reply
    Carey
    January 21, 2015 at 6:17 am

    Another suggestion is to buy one of those clear empty squeeze bottles (can usually find at Bed Bath and Beyond) and fill with about 1 tsp. of baking soda and 10-15 pumps of Wen, fill with water half way up the bottle, give it a good shake, and use the nozzle tip to squeeze directly onto your scalp. Work it into your hair and let sit for about 2 minutes, then rinse. Use a couple more pumps to condition hair if it’s a little tangled after using the baking soda. That stretches the Wen a bit longer.

  • Reply
    Brianne
    January 21, 2015 at 6:28 am

    I’ve used As I Am Coconut Cowash for a while and love the stuff. It’s a cleansing conditioner that leaves my hair feeling smooth and shiny and for someone with coarse hair that’s a miracle :0) it’s about $8 for a small tub but a little goes a long way and they sell it at Walmart and Sally’s :0)

    • Reply
      Diana in LAS
      January 21, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      Brianne, I started out using Cowash and loved it. Graduated to Hair One and love it even MORE. I’ve yet to try Wen.

  • Reply
    Bárbara Paula Acosta Pérez
    January 21, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Sounds so great! How often do you have to wash your hair with this?Do you think it’ll work on oily hair? Thanks!

  • Reply
    Misty
    January 21, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Hey Cara! I would love to try Wen. I have tried Hair One from Salley’s , but would love to try Wen too. Can you recommend a good scent without mint? I know it may sound weird but I just don’t like the feeling of the mint on my scalp. Thanks so much !

    • Reply
      Beth
      May 24, 2015 at 9:52 pm

      Every WEN scent has that tingly feeling on the scalp. I think it’s a mix of mint and eucalyptus. L’Oreal’s EverCreme doesn’t give me that feeling.

  • Reply
    Sara
    January 21, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Where do you buy plain glycerin?

    • Reply
      Sara
      January 21, 2015 at 10:20 am

      You can buy it in the grocery store…baking isle. Or by Jello. By Knox.

      • Reply
        Jen
        January 21, 2015 at 11:00 am

        I think that is gelatin, not glycerin. Glycerin is like petroleum jelly or vaseline

        • Reply
          Ashley H
          January 21, 2015 at 3:44 pm

          No, glycerine is not anything like petroleum jelly or vaseline, and it’s not in the jello aisle either. Do not put those things in your hair! Glycerine is a humectant, and its used mostly for making soap. It’s water soluble, unlike vaseline. I think they sell it at Walgreens (& other similar stores) but you can buy it on Amazon, too.

          • Amanda
            January 21, 2015 at 4:32 pm

            Ashley H. Is right. I get my glycerin in the pharmacy.

          • Carol Higdon
            January 24, 2015 at 12:16 pm

            Thank you so much, I’ll try Walgreens!

  • Reply
    Samantha Stedford
    January 21, 2015 at 7:17 am

    I used Wen for a while but quit because it was way too expensive. Now I use the cleansing conditioner from Herbel Essences and it works great- super cheap, too!

  • Reply
    Carol Higdon
    January 21, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Where do you get glycerine?

    • Reply
      Sara
      January 21, 2015 at 10:19 am

      You can buy it in the grocery store…baking isle. Or by Jello. By Knox.

      • Reply
        Emerald Earrings
        January 21, 2015 at 10:38 am

        I think you’re thinking of gelatin 🙂 Glycerine is the same thing as Vaseline. Similar names but very different results! 🙂

    • Reply
      Emerald Earrings
      January 21, 2015 at 10:39 am

      Glycerine is the same thing as Vaseline. You can find it with other moisturizers, baby oil, etc.

      • Reply
        SaraS
        January 21, 2015 at 2:54 pm

        Glycerin is water soluble. Vaseline is not; it is from petroleum/mineral oil. Totally different.

        • Reply
          Almarie
          January 24, 2015 at 4:26 am

          Glycerin is made from animal fat. You also get artificial “vegan” glycerin. It is definitely not the same as Vaseline in any way. Vaseline is pretoleum jelly, which is a by-product from producing pretoleum/ petrol or gas as Americans will call it. Getting Vaseline out of your hair would be an issue – you would need strong liquid detergent to get it out, leaving your hair in a state.

  • Reply
    Summer Ann
    January 21, 2015 at 7:57 am

    How cool! can’t wait to try it out. I am always looking for ways to save a few bucks and I can be pretty cheap when it comes to my hair products.

    XOXO,
    Summer Ann
    http://www.simplysummerann.com

  • Reply
    amber
    January 21, 2015 at 8:13 am

    I’ve been using the Ion Cleansing Conditioner. It’s Professional salon quality, vegan and cruelty free and usually on sale at Sally’s.

  • Reply
    Emily Knight
    January 21, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Herbal Essences has a cleansing conditioner which I love:
    http://www.amazon.com/Herbal-Essences-Naked-Cleansing-Conditioner/dp/B00F4TQ49I

    It has a really nice rosemary/mint smell, and you can buy it at Target for like 5 or 6 bucks. Definitely a budget friendly alternative. I only wash my hair two or three times a week, and during the third wash, I’ll apply just a bit of cleansing shampoo to my scalp to keep my fine hair light and not weighed down.

  • Reply
    Poshie
    January 21, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Do you condition after cleansing, or is this one step?

  • Reply
    Pamela
    January 21, 2015 at 8:40 am

    I don’t know what it’s called,but Target now has a Wen type product for $6ish in pomegranate and a minty version

    • Reply
      susan keller
      January 21, 2015 at 9:35 am

      It’s probably ‘RenPure’ cleansing conditioner, it’s by the Redmond Family. (a splinter group of the same family behind the Aussie products)
      This product is amazing…Coconut oil, Keratin, amino acids, Shea butter, protective lipids.
      I actually like it much BETTER than Wen. And it’s cheap! Also found at Walgreens.

  • Reply
    Faith
    January 21, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Shut. Up. I was already obsessed with your blog. Now u have my undying love! Thx so much!!!

  • Reply
    Becca
    January 21, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I can’t sing the praises of Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner enough. I like it more than Wen. And can’t beat $6 for a bottle. I even stocked up once when I saw it on sale for $3.

  • Reply
    Jessie
    January 21, 2015 at 10:28 am

    So does this mean NO need ever again for washing, and only using this formula for cleaning hair??

  • Reply
    Emerald Earrings
    January 21, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Can’t wait to give this a try! My hair is longer now than ever and could always use a little TLC 🙂

  • Reply
    Carly
    January 21, 2015 at 10:48 am

    As if I needed another reason to completely love this blog! I can’t wait to try this!!!

  • Reply
    bobbic2633
    January 21, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Wow, great idea, Cara! Do you leave the conditioner in for the rest of the shower after you’re done scrub a dub-dubbing your ‘do, or do you rinse it off ASAP?

  • Reply
    Tammy
    January 21, 2015 at 11:11 am

    I have been dying to try Wen…but like so many other ppl, it’s a little out of my budget. So this is a definitely must try! Thank you, Cara! You rock! 😀

  • Reply
    shaina
    January 21, 2015 at 11:26 am

    This sounds awesome! I also had a question related to Wen, I was wondering what you use to wash out the coconut oil treatments you do. I have been doing those and also just got some Wen since you recommend it, and the Wen did not get out the coconut oil! Do you use regular shampoo to wash out the coconut oil?

    • Reply
      Cara
      January 21, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      I just experienced this last week! I swear every time I still try using Wen to get it out but it always stays greasy when I do! I usually just use a little bit of sulfate free shampoo and then condition with Wen afterward!

  • Reply
    Jeanine McAuliffe
    January 21, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Great DUPE for wen is Herbal Essences NAKED Cleansing Conditioner…same exact ingredients!!!! Im sure urs is nice too Cara but I’m too busy for all that!!!!

    • Reply
      Cara
      January 21, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      I’ll have to try that out I had no idea it existed!! THanks!

      • Reply
        Jeanine McAuliffe
        January 21, 2015 at 5:50 pm

        Yeah and it smells heavenly as well!!! Don’t lose the smell after blow drying like most shampoo’s!!!!

  • Reply
    Alecia ferrell
    January 21, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Just wanted to say, I won the wen contest way back like in October or September… Dont worry, I got it! 🙂 After the little mix-up they apologized for losing my info and ended up sending me like a years supply! Lol I ended up getting 6 bottles of conditioner and a ton of styling products! It was a nice surprise and they were so sweet! l’m a total Wen girl now, I absolutely love it! Thanks, again! 🙂

    • Reply
      Cara
      January 21, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      Oh I am sooo happy to hear that! That is so sweet of them! It’s goooood stuff huh!?

  • Reply
    Amanda
    January 21, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    THIS GIVES LIFE!

  • Reply
    Sonja Fallahian
    January 21, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Cara,

    Have you ever tried Apple Cider Vinegar? I know you’ve had crazy hair times this past year, I have also been on my own journey to recover my hair back to life after daily straighteners and crazy amounts of chemical coloring. After countless “falling asleep on my IPAD” research nights for the best ways to grow your hair out healthy, I tried ACV.

    I have been using it for the past 10 months, and let me tell you, I have a new addiction of stroking my hair all day long, it is that soft!! Its becoming a bad habit! (my boyfriend even recorded me to tell me how compulsive I am! HA!) I have even used conventional conditioner when I have ran out of ACV in the shower, and it always makes my hair more “tangly” and dry.

    The best part its around $4 for a gallon and lasts me about 2 months. Its my liquid GOLD. Love it. Check it out.

    • Reply
      Seri
      January 21, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      How do you use the ACV? I once tried a month of “no poo” and strictly cleansed my hair with baking soda and ACV and it really dried my hair out and made it super nasty. Plus my husband couldn’t stand the scent. I’d be willing to give it another shot with new tips though! I’ll use ACV every now and again just as a rinse.

      • Reply
        Sonja
        January 21, 2015 at 3:48 pm

        I use such a diluted amount of Baking soda so its not drying on my hair, just enough to clean my hair.

        ACV I use non-diluted, full potency, leave on for a few minutes, and rinse. For awhile my BF complained I smelled like a salad, but hey, I’d do anything for those shiny silky locks! By the time my hair dries its so neutral smelling, no trace of ACV!

  • Reply
    Seri
    January 21, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    My favorite cleansing conditioner is by RenPure and you can get it from Target for $7! Plus it is free of parabens, sulfates, dyes, gluten, phthalates, propylene glycol, and isn’t tested on animals. The mint scent is soo good. You definitely have to use a generous amount, really massage it in, and let it sit for a while before rinsing. My hairstylist recommended it and I feel it has made my hair grow faster. If I want extra moisture, I have even used a tiny amount in the ends of my hair as a leave in conditioner and it works great! Here’s a link: http://www.target.com/p/renpure-solutions-rosemary-mint-cleansing-conditioner-16-0-fl-oz/-/A-15083369?lnk=Rec|pdp|viewed_viewed|pdpv1.

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse
    January 21, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Awesome!!! I can’t wait to try this out! I have wanted to get Wen forever, but I just can’t justify the price 🙁

  • Reply
    laura
    January 21, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Cara, im curious, did you try this formula with other conditioners? and how did that work.?? Im a wen girl too, but an alternative would be great. also wondering if adding a little glycerin to wen would stretch it out??

  • Reply
    meghansilva
    January 21, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    I absolutely must try this.

    Meg | Meghan Silva’s Blog
    @MeghanSSilva on Instagram

  • Reply
    zalona
    January 22, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Very inspiring blog and nice post! I really love it, keep up the great work. I’m a fan! 🙂 XO PLUS you’re so pretty!

    http://www.officialzalona.com

  • Reply
    DIY Cleansing Conditioner - Makeup Artist Zehra
    January 22, 2015 at 6:35 am

    […] Original post: WEN YOU’RE ON A BUDGET. […]

  • Reply
    Jamie Rowe
    January 22, 2015 at 8:10 am

    I have fine hair and use a few products to style (mousse, texturing spay, etc). How are the conditioner shampoos at cleaning these products? I can’t afford product build up on my baby fine locks!!! Thanks

    • Reply
      Miki Nyckel
      January 23, 2015 at 10:11 am

      I use an apple cider vinegar rinse once a week. It’s also good for bringing back shine, and it’s good for colored hair too. (I use 1/4 ACV to 3/4 water).

  • Reply
    Miki Nyckel
    January 23, 2015 at 10:09 am

    I used to do this and I loved it. But I have recently jumped on the Conditioner before Shampoo bandwagon! Only because I can’t really do deep treatments when co-washing, and I have bought some new deep treatments to try on my dry ends. (How do you condition your hair more when you only condition your hair lol. It becomes an oily mess!). And I am looooving Conditioning before Shampooing!

  • Reply
    Miki Nyckel
    January 23, 2015 at 10:11 am

    P.S. Super cute anagram D:

  • Reply
    Jen
    January 23, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Thank you for the DIY recipe!! I loved using WEN in the past but really can’t afford it right now. I made this recipe the other day, adding a few drops of essential oils for added fragrance. I’ve used it twice now and am in love!

  • Reply
    Olga
    January 24, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I’ve tried Wen recently, and then found Pantene cleansing conditioner, which is 10 times cheaper but worked much better for me.

  • Reply
    Diana
    January 25, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Has any one tried the Biolage Clensing Conditioner? I just saw it under What’s New at Ulta. I’ve been using Wen since Cara suggested it and love it, but I also Love the idea of something that easier to just pick up at a local store. I’m not an auto delivery type of person.

  • Reply
    Mandi S.
    January 27, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I am wayyy behind because I’ve never even heard of cleansing conditioner. Do you shampoo as well or you just use the conditioner?

  • Reply
    Heather
    January 29, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    I love the Wen, but, alas, I can’t keep up with the cost. Has anybody tried the Pantene Cleansing Conditiner? How were results?

  • Reply
    Ruth
    February 8, 2015 at 10:23 am

    This is such a good reminder!! Thank you!! I’ve been trying out Wen since Christmas and my hair seems like it’s been a lot more oily since. Just gotta use more!! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Aubrey
    February 19, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Cara, I am curious if you have ever tried AS I AM? I am curious about your thoughts.

  • Reply
    Kate
    February 25, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Are there any that don’t contain toxic ingredients? Every one that I have looked at contain bad stuff.

  • Reply
    AmyAnnT
    July 2, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Hi Cara,
    Did you use the regular Moroccan conditioner or the Color Care version? Do you think it would make a difference? How does your color hold up?

  • Reply
    Mrs Lindgren
    July 20, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    So I have seen your posts about Wen and I have been really intrigued by the idea of a cleansing conditioner. I found this Carol’s Daughter Marula gentle cream cleanser at Ultahttp://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod11231019

    Have you ever heard of it or used it? I have used a couple of the Carol’s Daughter products and LOVE them, I was just wondering how the cream cleanser compares to Wen.

  • Reply
    Cat Pham
    July 21, 2015 at 9:26 am

    I lost A TON of hair after a major surgery I had a few years back. I haven’t been able to get my hair back to what it used to be since. I used to have thicker, fuller hair. Now, it’s thin & a bit dull… Probably from all the medications I have to take now. I’ve been going “No-Poo” for a couple years now when I realized just how bad my hair looked after getting some family pictures taken for Christmas. The sun was shining THROUGH my hair & it was NOT cute. I couldn’t believe my hair had gotten that thin! So, I had to stop shampooing, with the occasional (about once a week) quarter-sized bit of shampoo to give my hair the “squeaky-clean” feeling. I’ve been using Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner. It works pretty well. But, I’ve been yearning for more (probably the real-deal — Wen).

    I am totally going to try this recipe!! I’ve been wanting to try Wen for years, but with two kids, mortgage, bills, my meds & medical bills, school, kids’ activities… my money goes to other places that are not to help me “look pretty.” So, I haven’t jumped on the Wen Wagon just yet. Though, I have a feeling I will eventually.

    Thanks for the tips & recipe! I adore your blog. If it wasn’t for finding your blog after my surgery, I don’t think I would’ve been able to “come back” after. THANK YOU!!

  • Reply
    Lyn
    October 10, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Girls…I’ve used wen for years and like so many of you I just could not justify the price tag. These homemade options sound incredible and I most certainly will try. However, as some of you said, Herbal Essence cleansing conditioner is equivalent to wen without the ridiculous price tag. Try it girls…..it’s great!! Happy Hair Days…..

  • Reply
    Melissa
    October 18, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Hey, I’ve tried the diy cleanser and I really like it! My hair feels so much softer and I feel like it takes longer for my hair to get greasy. Thanks so much Cara!

  • Reply
    Cosmetics
    September 23, 2016 at 8:19 am

    perfect product for skin care, makeup :
    https://www.beautyandbeauty.org/

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