Squish To Condish: The Secret to Healthy, Well-Defined Curls

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Since curly hair has twists and patterns, it can be challenging for the hair’s natural oils to cover each strand. The result? Dry hair.

So we know it’s challenging to keep your locks properly hydrated when you have naturally curly or even wavy hair. 

Luckily, there’s a technique that can help: squish to condish (or S2C for short). 

Squish to condish is a method popular in the Curly Girl community that involves squishing water and conditioner into your hair.

a young girl with curly hair wearing a green top is posing happily at the camera on an orange background

This technique can completely transform your hair, leaving your curls looking defined and feeling soft. 

But how do you do this method? And will it work for your hair? In this article, we’ll break down the squish-to-condish technique and provide tips and tricks to make it work for your unique hair type.

So read on if you’re ready to start enhancing your curls and say goodbye to dryness.

What Is the Squish-To-Condish Method?

Squish to condish is a technique that involves using conditioner and water to hydrate your hair. 

Squish or squishing means cupping your hands and scrunching your hair upward in the direction of the scalp. Condish, on the other hand, is slang for conditioner.

This method involves applying a generous amount of conditioner to your hair, cupping your hands to collect water, and squishing the water into your curls while rinsing the conditioner out. 

The water dilutes the conditioner, allowing it to better penetrate your hair as you squish.

Doing the squish-to-condish method is a good way to encourage curl clumping and hydration, resulting in more defined and less frizzy curls.

You can do this method no matter what curly hair type you have. It’s especially beneficial if you struggle with dryness and breakage.

Benefits of the Squish-To-Condish Method for Curly Hair

Before learning how to do the squish-to-condish method, you may be wondering why you should do it in the first place and what it can do for your hair. 

Check out the advantages of doing the squish-to-condish technique regularly below:

Helps Hydrate Curls

By saturating your hair with water and conditioner, your hair will become more hydrated. The squishing method also lets your hair absorb the water and conditioner better. This can help keep your curls hydrated and healthy.

Promotes Curl Clumping

Scrunching and squishing your hair with conditioner encourages your curls to clump together. This means you can get more defined curls. 

Make sure to scrunch your hair multiple times in sections to get sleek and frizz-free curls.

Eliminates the Need for Leave-in Conditioner

S2C involves squishing your conditioner-coated hair with water. Doing so dilutes your conditioner and gives it a lighter consistency similar to the formulation of most leave-in conditioners.

So if you have dry hair, you can leave a little of your regular conditioner in your hair after doing the squish-to-condish method instead of using a leave-in conditioner. 

Don’t worry; this won’t weigh your hair down but keep it hydrated throughout the day.  

Suits Low-Porosity Hair

When you water down your conditioner, you can make it easier for your hair to absorb it thoroughly.

So if you have low-porosity hair, meaning your hair cuticles are tightly closed, S2C can help force your cuticles open and let water and conditioner enter your hair shaft, allowing for better absorption.

How To Squish To Condish

You can easily do the S2C method in a few easy steps. Here’s how to do it:

1. Wash Your Hair

Before you start doing S2C, you must soak your hair in water, then wash your hair with a curl-friendly shampoo. Remember to massage your scalp to increase circulation and remove product buildup.

A black haired woman with curly hair taking a shower

Afterward, rinse out the product thoroughly. Then add more water to your hair until it’s wet.

2. Apply A Generous Amount of Conditioner

Apply conditioner generously to soaking wet hair. Make sure to cover each hair strand. 

If you have tighter curl patterns or thicker hair, you may need to apply more conditioner to your wet hair. Make sure to evenly distribute the product until your hair feels slippery.

We highly recommend using a silicone-free conditioner because silicones tend to stay on your hair, so they can be difficult to wash off. 

A silicone-free conditioner will penetrate your hair better without creating buildup. 

3. Detangle Your Hair

Before squishing your hair, removing knots or tangles is important to help create defined curls. You can use your fingers or a detangling brush to get rid of the knots.

Start detangling on your ends to remove the most stubborn tangles first. Next, work on the middle. Finally, brush your hair at the roots. 

Then brush your hair one last time starting from the roots to the ends to help you make sure it’s completely tangle-free. This will also help distribute the conditioner evenly.

4. Settle Into the Right Position

Most squish-to-condish tutorials suggest you flip your head and start squishing your hair upside down. This is the most common way of doing the method.

However, this does not work for everyone. Some prefer to do S2C with their hair on their side. Some do it while sitting with their hair upright, leaning forward or backward, or tilting their hair to the side while squishing.

You must try different ways to S2C your hair and see which works for you. There is no strict rule about the right position for squishing your hair, but remember that you should always scrunch your hair from the ends to the roots.

The best way to S2C your hair depends on how you want to do the method and what results you want to achieve.

5. Squish Your Hair

After you position your hair, cup your hands to collect water or just stick your hair under running water and squish the water into your hair. 

Then work in sections starting from your ends to the roots. 

Keep on scrunching your hair section by section multiple times to help the conditioner penetrate your hair shaft and cuticle. This will hydrate your hair and promote curl clumping. 

Your hair should start to feel soft like seaweed after squishing multiple times. If not, rake a palmful of conditioner through your hair, then continue scrunching your hair with water until your hair feels smoother than usual.

6. Detangle and Rinse Your Hair

Some don’t need to detangle their hair after doing S2C, but if you feel like you need to, you can comb your hair with your fingers or run a detangling brush through your hair. Then scrunch your hair again to enhance curl clumping. 

Also, because the conditioner is watered down during the S2C process, you can continue styling your hair as usual or rinse out your hair to remove the conditioner.

Rinse your hair if you have weighed-down hair or oily roots. You can also leave a bit of conditioner, especially if you have dry hair that needs leave-in conditioner.

7. Style Your Hair as Usual

Remove excess water by squishing your hair using a microfiber towel or a cotton T-shirt. Do not use terry towels! These will make your hair frizzy. 

After drying, continue your curly hair routine and style your hair as usual.

How To Squish to Condish Low-Porosity Hair

If you have low-porosity hair, here’s how to squish to condish your hair effectively:

  • Wash your hair as usual.
  • Apply conditioner generously and distribute it evenly to your hair.
  • Detangle your hair carefully using your fingers or a wide-tooth comb.
  • Squish the conditioner into your hair by cupping your hands and scrunching your hair upwards towards your scalp.
  • Get a shower cap or plastic bag and use it to cover your hair, then let the conditioner sit for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • After conditioning, just rinse your hair and proceed with your regular hair routine.

Remember, the key to success with the squish-to-condish method is to use a generous amount of good conditioner and to really squish it into your hair.

Super Soaker Method: A Variation of the Squish-To-Condish Technique

When it comes to enhancing curls and keeping them healthy, the squish-to-condish method is a game-changer.

But did you know there is another technique you can combine with S2C for even better results? It’s called the super-soaker method.

The difference between the squish-to-condish method and the super-soaker method is that the latter involves the use of additional hair products like gels, essential oils, or leave-in conditioners.

Here’s how to do the super-soaker method:

  1. Complete your S2C routine.
  2. Make sure your hair is wet and detangled. Then apply the styling products to your hair. You can rake your hair to distribute the product evenly.
  3. Cup your hands and fill them with water. Then scrunch your hair gently to allow the styling products to define your curls.
  4. Dry and style your hair.

Tips and Tricks for Successful Squish-To-Condish Sessions

Want to make sure you do the S2C method the right way? Follow these tips below!

Use Plenty of Conditioner

Suppose you’re used to using the conventional method where the conditioner sits briefly on top of the hair shaft before being rinsed away. In that case, your instincts will probably guide you to use only a small amount of conditioner.

But because the squish-to-condish technique aims to hydrate your curls and encourage them to clump together, not using enough conditioner can make you wind up with dry, frizzy, or poorly defined curls.  

a middle-aged woman smiling at the camera while applying conditioner to her hair

So what’s the most effective way to ensure your hair is completely saturated with conditioner for guaranteed S2C success? Here are a few tips:

  • See to it that every strand of hair is coated in conditioner from the roots all the way down to the ends.
  • Pay attention to how your hair feels as you squish in the conditioner. Once it feels slippery like seaweed, you know you’ve added enough. 
  • Listen to how your hair sounds while squishing. You should hear squelching sounds during the process. 

If your hair doesn’t feel seaweed-like or make squelching sounds, add more conditioner. It’s better to use too much than not enough when using the squish-to-condish method.

Do the Squish-To-Condish Method for at Least One Minute

How long it takes you to do the squish-to-condish method will depend on your hair type and the amount of conditioner you use. It’s generally best to do it for at least a minute for best results. 

But a good way to know when enough is enough is when your curls start dripping lightly or stop dripping altogether.

This may serve as a sign that your hair has absorbed enough moisture from the conditioner. At this point, you can proceed to the next step in your hair care routine.

In short, there isn’t a set amount of time to do the squish-to-condish method, but paying attention to your hair’s texture and moisture levels can help you determine when to rinse out the conditioner.

Perform the S2C Technique Regularly

The frequency with which you do the squish-to-condish methods depends on your hair type and needs. 

For example, if you have dry, damaged, or color-treated hair, you can squish to condish every time you wash your hair.

Now if you have fine or oily hair, it’s best to do it every other wash day instead to avoid excess hair fall. It’s important to listen to your hair and adjust the frequency accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Squish-To-Condish Method

Can I Squish To Condish While Using a Deep Conditioner?

Yes, you can squish to condish while using a deep conditioner. In fact, squish to condish can help your hair better absorb the nutrients and moisture from the deep conditioner.

Follow the same steps as you would with regular conditioner, making sure to apply the deep conditioner generously and squish it into your hair.

Can You Squish To Condish Wavy Hair?

Yes, the squish-to-condish technique works on wavy hair as well. While it may not create as defined curls as it does on curlier hair types, it can still help enhance and define waves.

Adjust the amount of product and frequency of squishing to find what works best for your waves.

Remember, squish to condish is not a one-size-fits-all method, so don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust it to your hair’s unique needs.

Hydrate Your Curls Using the Squish-To-Condish Method!

Now that you have learned about the squish-to-condish technique and its benefits for curly hair, why not try it?

This method can enhance your hair’s moisture levels, prevent flyaways and frizz, and encourage curl definition.

Remember that the basis of all moisture is water, so hydrating and revitalizing your hair with water and conditioner is the best way to achieve healthy and bouncy curls.

Squish to condish is useful for all types of curly hair, whether yours is wavy or coily. It’s a simple and easy technique you can do to take care of your hair. So try it today and get started on your journey to softer, more beautiful curls! 

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  • Shai Urbano

    Shai is a licensed pharmacist with a Bachelor of Arts in Pharmacy. She uniquely intertwines her medical expertise with a fervent passion for beauty. With an intrinsic understanding of ingredients and formulation, she's the proud creator of her own line of products designed exclusively for naturally curly hair. Over her four-year writing career, Shai consistently delivers content enriched by her distinct blend of knowledge and enthusiasm.

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