The naturally curly hair community has no shortage of trends, tips, and tricks. Sure, they’re meant to be helpful — but am I the only one who feels like a new catchy curl term pops up almost daily? Well, “squish to condish” isn’t just another trend. This method is getting plenty of well-deserved buzz — because it really works!
What is squish to condish?
In an effort to hydrate our curls, most of us rely heavily on conditioner. We slather it on, working our way through an entire bottle of conditioner in only a few washes. In much the same way that oil on dry legs gives you oily but still-dry legs, conditioner without the right amount of water does nothing for real hydration. Here’s where squish to condish comes in.
How to squish to condish
1. Thoroughly wet your hair
After washing your hair normally, start with your head upside down. Make sure your hair is soaking wet (not a quick dip under the showerhead).
Apply enough conditioner so that your hair feels like seaweed — super slippery. Work it through your hair to evenly distribute the product. In the market for a good conditioner? Here are a few silicone-free conditioners to try!
As you begin to rinse, gather the pools of the water and conditioner that are coming out of your hair into your hands. Plop your curls into the water and conditioner mix, and squish those curls. Tighter curl patterns may need to add more conditioner; just be sure to add more water and keep on squishing. Keep doing this until your hair is no longer dripping. If you're concerned about messing up your curl pattern or causing frizz, just be sure you that are scrunching gently, and that your hair is wet enough.
This conditioning and curl-enhancing technique is the brainchild of Melissa Stites, a NaturallyCurly veteran who’s been active on our site since 2009! We caught up with her to get more deets on this technique.
How did you come up with “squish to condish?”
"Well, it happened in the shower, really. I had been trying to teach women in the salon how to do their curls, and they seemed to get it, but when they got home they weren’t getting the same results."
"We've been told to coat our hair with tons and tons of conditioner. We must control, contain, even use half the bottle, for goodness sake. We've been doing it for years. I had to change their habits in the morning, make them understand that the water is the hydrator, water is moisture — the conditioner is just the conduit."
We all know how important moisture is to our curls. Before you came up with squish to condish, what mistakes were your clients making?
"Every woman's first instinct is to slap on more and more conditioner. I'm telling them to add more and more water. It's the opposite of what we've been taught and have been doing for years. In the salon I can show them, let them see, let them feel, let them hear. It truly takes all of that to actually change our habits every morning. So it worked. Curlies have been messaging me and writing about it and doing videos because it finally makes sense to them."
You’ve been involved with NaturallyCurly since 2009 and have been a stylist since you were 16! What advice do you have for naturals looking for a great stylist?
"My answer would be for them to search for a Deva-certified stylist first and foremost. They started all of this and continue to do so. Look for someone who has been to their academy multiple times and is hungry for more. The second place to look is Curly Hair Artistry. I've been so proud and honored to be one of the first and a part of the most amazing, passionate stylists globally. We are on a mission to spread the curly word!! You will not find a stylist in this group who doesn't care."
Want to see how it's done? Check out blogger WhirlsandCurls’ video. She makes it look pretty easy!
Do you squish to condish? In the comments section below, tell us how it works for you, or if you're interested in trying this method.
This article was originally published in 2013 and has been updated to incorporate reader feedback.