Conditioning Shampoo

Conditioning Shampoo: Two-in-one shampoo-and-conditioner products became popular in the ’80s because the consumers were using shampoo regularly but not conditioning enough – so brands began to incorporate conditioning ingredients into their shampoo formulas. But while those products were closer to true shampoos, these days, conditioning shampoos are closer to true conditioners. Previously, it was believed that it was impossible to have a shampoo and conditioner all in one product. But Procter and Gamble, made a breakthrough in the shampoo category because they were able to prove that there was something left behind on the hair that conditioned it and reduce the friction between hair strands. They used an ingredient called Polyquaternium-10, and that was one of the first ingredients used for 2-in-1  shampoo and it’s still the main ingredient used today. Procter and Gamble now use dimethicone that softens the hair. The technology, patented by Procter and Gamble; wherein dimethicone and a special suspension system are used. Because dimethicone does not attach to hair, it also does not interfere with the shampoo’s cleaning ability or cause build-up. The shampoo first cleans the hair as it normally would, while the suspension system holds the conditioning agent in place until the hair is rinsed. Then, the force of the water releases the conditioners, allowing them to work. In addition to silicone, the Aveeno Nourish   Dandruff  2-in-1 formula contains oat peptide and extract for extra moisturizing benefits and zinc pyrithione, an antibacterial and antifungal ingredient. This combination works together to cleanse, moisturize and treat dandruff without over-drying hair. 

The critical aspect of 2-in-1 shampoo is the compatibility of ingredients. Most of the conditioners are cationic (have a positive charge), but most of the surfactants [detergents] in shampoos are anionic (have a negative charge). Hence the primary challenge is to develop a  stable product by maximizing conditioning. Besides changing the fragrances and cleansing agents (detergents), the formulations have not advanced much since introduced in the market.  The table below exemplifies some of the 2-in-1 shampoo plus conditioner products available commercially.


2-in-1 shampoo plus conditioner

The biggest disadvantage of using 2-in-1 shampoos is product build-up on hairs. As the conditioners are deposited onto the hair, they tend to build up. If used every day, then the hair starts to look dull and weighed down. A clarifying shampoo would be needed to clean the hair. 

Shampooing every day is not good or necessary for most hair types. But for those that feel the need to shampoo their hair more often, brands have been developing specialized  2-in-1 products called co-poos (conditioner-shampoos) OR co-washes. The difference between these 2-in-1 products versus those from the 1980s is that these are closer to true conditioners whereas the 1980s products were closer to true shampoos. For co-poos,  the advantage is that they can minimize the damage that daily shampooing can cause. The disadvantage is that they might be too heavy for oily hair types.


Traditional shampoos rely on detergents that are chemically attracted to the dirt in hair.  They are distributed by rubbing, scrubbing, and lathering, and when rinsed, the hair feels clean. If it tends to be dry or damaged conditioner is used to add back moisture. Co-washing is an alternative wherein cleansing conditioners are used. Co-washing is short for conditioner washing or cleansing hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Cleansing conditioners are gentle, detergent-free, all-in-one formulas that clean, hydrate, and condition hair in one step.  They contain little-to-no sulfates (sodium lauryl sulfate), and they generally don’t lather.  They leave hair soft and frizz-free without stripping or drying. They feature “slip” which eliminates the need for the rubbing and scrubbing that causes hair-damaging friction. Most of these no-shampoo method formulas can be used daily. Ideally, cleansing conditioners should be “free from”- free from sulfates and soaps that remove impurities harshly; free from parabens, and free from silicones that can lodge on the surface of the hair and cause build-ups. Some cleansing conditioners combine the “no-shampoo” cleansing agent with a  heavy conditioner that sits on the hair and then gradually penetrates. These formulas must then be rinsed thoroughly, and over time, they might cause an undesirable build-up.  More modern co-wash formulas feature a unique, tandem approach of cleansing and conditioning – they melt into the hair and quickly draw out impurities without causing weighty build-ups. They’re also targeted for specific hair types. Healthful additives like antioxidant fruit complexes protect hair from damage. Co-washing is becoming so popular that hair product companies are offering co-washing cleansing conditioners along with gentle sulfate-free shampoos. 

However, complete cleansing may not be achieved with Co-wash products. There are certain properties that shampoos or cleansers have, but are absent from some co-washing conditioners. Many shampoos are formulated with a low pH. The acidity of shampoo raises the hair cuticle, making it easier to remove dirt and product build-up. Shampoos also have detergents that clean the hair and scalp. These may not be seen or maybe limited with co-washing conditioners. Table.2 below exemplifies some of the commercially available brands of co-wash along with the descriptive features of the product. 


Co-Washes / Co-Poos
Co-Washes / Co-Poos
Make sure you also check our other amazing Article on : Cold Cream
Sharing Is Caring:

Leave a Comment