"I gave up conditioner and it works a charm on my short bob."

Image: Kahla and her new hair are getting along just fine without conditioner, thanks.

A few weeks ago, my beloved ‘lob’ was chopped into a rather heavily-layered short bob that sits just below my ears.

I only lost a few inches in length, but the real difference is in how my naturally wavy hair responds to the new style. Previously it was the perfect wash ‘n wear situation; now, I have awkwardly-placed flicks and some boofiness to contend with. I’ve been using every product in my armoury to restore my relaxed waves, but to no avail.

RELATED: The 11 stages of short hair acceptance.

However, a moment of mid-shower desperation last week led me to an unexpected solution: skipping conditioner. I’d actually run out of the stuff, but I recalled a recent article by Zoe Foster Blake in which she mentioned she never uses conditioner because her truly excellent short bob “can’t handle it”. So I decided to follow suit.

This behaviour mightn’t sound controversial to you, but anyone with even a slight wave to their hair knows conditioner can mean the difference between fully-formed curls and a fluffy mess. So I was a little daunted as I waited for my cut to air-dry.

Who wouldn't take advice from a woman with hair as great as this? (Image: @zotheysay)

Happily, those fears were unfounded because going conditioner-free had worked an absolute charm. My hair lost that marshmallowy softness and was no longer settling into a Snow White 'boof' shape (NB: I love Snow White, but hers was not the look I wanted).

RELATED: How to style a short bob with 4 fast hairstyles.

It was also responding much better to styling products — a little sea salt or mousse and some "jujging" with my hands gave it just the right amount of volume and shape.

I decided to share the gospel with my fellow short-haired colleagues, but they were already all over it. "Oh yeah, you can't use conditioner on short hair," one said matter-of-factly. Seriously, why does nobody talk about this? Is this some kind of best-kept bob secret?

It's an effective trick, but at risk of sounding like Carrie Bradshaw I couldn't help but wonder if eschewing conditioner would have any negative long-term impacts on my hair.

According to Barney Martin, Pantene Hair Expert & Owner of Sydney's Barney Martin Hair Salon, that is indeed the case. (Post continues after gallery.)


"You should always try to use a suitable conditioner for your hair type after shampooing. The correct conditioner will help with detangling, frizz, maintaining your hair colour and styling your hair," Martin explains.

RELATED: How often do you really need to get your hair cut?

"Shampoo is designed to cleanse your hair from environmental build-up, residue and products applied. During the shampooing process the cuticle of your hair is exposed. Conditioners help balance the pH levels in your hair and smooth down the cuticles."

Evidently, conditioning also helps to preserve hair colour and your hair's moisture balance, and skipping it can lead to drier hair. Long-term, this makes it more susceptible to damage like split ends and breakage. Damnit.

A little 'jujging' is always helpful.

However, it seems not all conditioners are created equal. Martin says if a conditioner leaves your hair limp or it feels too heavy, it's probably the wrong product for your hair type, so it's worth having a chat to your hairdresser to find something more suitable.

RELATED: Here's exactly how much conditioner YOU should be using.

If, like me, you're prone to stubbornness and you really don't want to let conditioner near your short hair ever again, Martin says there are ways to ensure your strands are getting adequate hydration.

"I would recommend a weekly treatment or masque designed to retain moisture and effectively combat hair damage, or even swapping your conditioner with a rich, hydrating treatment like the Pantene Pro V 3-Minute Miracle Treatment ($2.99) two to three times a week," he advises.

If you have short hair, how do you style it?