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No Such Thing as 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner

January 30, 2022 5 min read

No Such Thing as 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner

The title is not click bait.   It's true.   There is no such thing as a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner.


Well, to make it pretty simple it's because you can't combine two products that have functions that are completely the opposite of each other.

Is 2 in 1 Shampoo Bad?

You wouldn't expect a "be wet and dry" product to work would you?  Of course not.   You can't be wet AND dry at the same time.   Perhaps there is some sort of Jetsons style machine that washes you and dries you . . . but it doesn't allow you to both at the same time.   It washes you THEN dries you.   

Imagine a food dish that claimed to be "spicy and not spicy".   Wouldn't you be a little skeptical?  

Let us be perfectly clear.   The function of a shampoo and the function of a conditioner have TOTALLY OPPOSITE FUNCTIONS.   The purpose of a shampoo is to clean.   It does so by using surfactants.  The purpose of a surfactant is to use soap to remove surface debris from the scalp and hair.   Furthermore, nearly all shampoos use sulfates to create a lather which removes oils from the hair and scalp as well.

A hair conditioner serves the completely opposite function.   The entire purpose of a conditioner is to replace the natural oils into your hair that the shampoo has removed.   Conditioners provide fatty alcohols, humectants, and oils to bring health, body and shine back to your hair that a properly functioning shampoo removes.  

Does 2 in 1 Shampoo Work?

2 in 1 shampoo

Again, let us be clear.  The purpose of a shampoo is to clean your hair and scalp.   There is NO SUCH THING as a product that can differentiate between "good" stuff in your hair (like "sebum" and natural oils) and "bad" stuff like dirt, sweat, dry skin etc.  

The purpose of a conditioner is to put those "good" things BACK into your hair and scalp.  A great conditioner is full of natural fats, oils, humectants and more that will not only replace the "good" things that the shampoo has by necessity removed, but will change your hair from a dry and damaged negative charge to where the ingredients have a positive charge which attempt to cling to your hair and reduce static charge in your hair.  

So, what is the deal when someone says they have a "2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner"?  

It's All Lies

I don't want to say "they are lying to you" . . . but, well . . . they are lying to you.

Look, you can create a shampoo that uses more mild surfactants.   Perhaps it eschews sulfates.   Sulfates contribute to lather which specifically helps to remove oils from your hair.  

Similarly, a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner could use ingredients that have plenty of fatty acids and replenishing oils and wonderful butters. 

But to what effect?   

If you have a product that "cleans", then the shampoo part of the product will be "cleaning" out the very ingredients that the so called conditioner is allegedly replacing.

Now, there are certainly degrees of effectiveness to a shampoo.   There is an entire line of shampoos called "clarifying" shampoos that are designed specifically to be very aggressive in removing practically EVERYTHING from your hair other than the hair itself.   Then there are very mild, sulfate free shampoos who's purpose is to clean less effectively.   

But make no mistake, the two ends of the spectrum would be a shampoo that works well, and a shampoo that works less well.

You see where we are going here right?   If you have a shampoo that is actually working, then any ingredients fulfilling the role of "conditioner" would be washed out.   That's the point of the shampoo.  

As mentioned, there CAN be degrees of effectiveness of a shampoo.   A formulator can use ingredients that have less detergent, they can use ingredients without sulfates.    But let's be clear, you are not creating a "2 in one shampoo and conditioner" you are creating a less effective shampoo.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.  

Healthy hair has natural oils known as "sebum" that the body produces.  Conditioners strive to replace these pols when they are removed from the hair.   But, you can also choose not to remove the oils at all.  

Some people achieve this by not washing their hair every day.  Others achieve this by using a more mild shampoo.   Others do it by using a quality shampoo AND a quality conditioner.

All of these can be great solutions.   The important thing is to understand what you are doing and why.   The goal here is to have healthy and vibrant hair.   Honestly, a combination of all three of these solutions is probably ideal.

Depending on the type of hair you have, you can find the solution that works best for you.   I have found that using a "less effective" shampoo on a semi-daily basis works for me.  Then, once every two weeks or once a month I will use a more "aggressive" shampoo to give myself a deep clean on my hair . . . but then I ALWAYS follow that up with a great conditioner to replace the "good" stuff that I took out of my hair while using a more aggressive shampoo.  

You should find the solution that works best for you.

Here's What IS the Best 2 in 1 Shampoo

Now, that said . . . there IS such a thing as a "2 in 1" shampoo that can be effective, just not in the way you think.  

At ManBasics Speakeasy Barbershops we offer a "shampoo bar".   This is a relatively "mild" shampoo that can be used on a daily basis.  As we said, make no mistake it is not a "conditioner" as much as it is a "mild shampoo".  

Now, there IS another use that a shampoo bar can be used for: Soap!

A shampoo bar IS a 2 in 1 shampoo and SOAP.   There is no reason why you can't use the shampoo bar on your hair as well as the rest of your body.  It also has a lower ph (ANYTHING you put in your hair should have a low ph!), which is not only great for your hear but also your body. Frankly, our entire body prefers a lower ph product, not just our head and face.   But, our bodies are less sensitive to higher ph products like regular bar soap than our head and face.     

Now, ounce for ounce, a shampoo bar from ManBasics is more expensive than using regular bar soap for your body, and shampoo bar for your hair and face.   Yet, if a one item solution is what you really want . . . a shampoo bar can fill that niche for you.   We highly recommend the ManBasics Shampoo bar, since we know EXACTLY what is in it.   

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