Which is more important? Shampoo or Conditioner?

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I’ve been mixing and matching shampoo and conditioner for years. I remember believing that I MUST use the same brand and line of conditioner that matches my shampoo, but that simply isn’t the case.

You can kind of do whatever you want with the products!

In some cases, you’ll have a much greater result if you stick to a coordinating shampoo and conditioner, but in general, I’ve found that simply staying with the same brand can grant you quite good results!

Personally, I like to use a volumizing shampoo and a hydrating conditioner. Volumizing conditioners don’t work very well for me, and can leave my hair full of static electricity! Smoothing or deeply hydrating shampoos won’t give me the lift I want but will deliver nice softness to my hair.

If you are looking for a new shampoo and conditioner, but you aren’t interested in purchasing both products, here are a few things to keep in mind.

If your hair is oily, greasy, or is generally lifeless at the root, look for a really good volumizing shampoo. You can probably save a few bucks on a lower end conditioner but I’d look for a good quality, well-reviewed cleansing shampoo.

If your hair is dry or damaged, it may be better to invest in a really good, hydrating conditioner and find a cheaper shampoo.

If your hair is generally normal or doesn’t fall into the above categories, I’d say to always default to a higher quality conditioner over shampoo. In my opinion, there is a pretty enormous jump from cheap conditioner to even a low priced professional brand, but it’s not as dramatic with shampoos!

P.S. Did you catch this new hair tutorial?

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Comments (27)

  1. A.C. says
    Posted September 18, 2019

    Kate, this is VERY helpful.
    Here is my dilemma. I have highlighted hair so i always use hydrating (color safe) shampoo and same brand conditioner. My hair, however gets super greasy at roots by the time i hit the bed at night. As much as i would love to go a day between washing it, i simply cannot and i tried numerous dry shampoos that do nothing for me. Are there any particular brands you recommend for oily hair? I’ve been looking and researching but no luck. I did see that Head and Shoulders has one meant for oily hair so i was thinking about giving it a try. Any input, if you made it this far, would be appreciated 🙂

    • Kate says
      Posted September 18, 2019

      Why don’t you try using a clarifying shampoo at least twice a week? That should keep the oil from building up too much! Redken makes a great clarifying shampoo!

      • A.C. says
        Posted September 19, 2019

        Thank you! I will try that.

    • Catherine R. says
      Posted September 19, 2019

      I really like the Oribe charcoal cleansing shampoo. It works really well but won’t strip or fade color the way some of them do. I have high and low lights so color fading and brassiness are both a concern. It might be worth checking out.

  2. Amy McKenna says
    Posted September 18, 2019

    I’m looking for a volumizing color care shampoo, is there one that exists?

    • Kate says
      Posted September 18, 2019

      I’d look at Redken Shampoos!

    • Melanie says
      Posted September 18, 2019

      I use pureology for this, in case that’s helpful. 😊

  3. Amy says
    Posted September 18, 2019

    Interesting. I have learned that price does not necessarily equal quality.

    I use Suave deep cleansing shampoo – works great to get product out and prevents build up. For the Conditioner, I use Dove Oxygen Conditioner (matching shampoo caused my hair to be very frizzy).

    Works great and I have been using it for over 3 years now.

  4. Melanie says
    Posted September 18, 2019

    I have just hit 40 and am noticing excessive hair shedding and thinning. I have tried Redken’s volume shampoo/conditioner and Nioxin. I haven’t noticed a difference from either. Any suggestions to reduce hair shedding/thinning? (side note – I’ve had my thyroid tested and levels are normal).
    TY!!

    • Kate says
      Posted September 18, 2019

      If I were you I would look into taking a supplement with Biotin in it, which helps support hair growth + strength. I’m sorry you are dealing with this!

    • Catherine R. says
      Posted September 19, 2019

      My mom has had great results with the combination of Biotin supplements and the Bumble and Bumble Full Potential products. Her hair thinning was a result of thyroid issues but getting her levels fixed didn’t help her hair regrowth at all. After several months of waiting she started the supplements and this line of products. It could be worth checking out!

      • Melanie says
        Posted September 19, 2019

        Thanks so much for the suggestions! I did try Biotin awhile back but it made me breakout – Looks like I will have to do some more research and maybe talk to a derm. TY!

    • Kimberly says
      Posted September 22, 2019

      Hi! I had same trouble and have gotten wonderful results with collagen powder. I put it in my coffee, and especially enjoy the chocolate flavor. I can brush my hair and loose just a few strands where I used to lose so much more. I tried biotin, b vitamins, hair vitamins and believe the collagen is what has helped me. I also have been using olaplex 3 step treatment as a standalone and believe it has strengthened my hair so much. Good luck!

  5. Susan says
    Posted September 18, 2019

    Can you recommend a good store bought shampoo conditioner

    • k says
      Posted September 19, 2019

      i’ve used drug-store/ grocery store Infusion 23 conditioner with good results in the past. If you have a costco membership the “Kirkland” brand shampoo and conditioner is another option. Tresemme (spelling?) has been an old standby as well.
      I’m a big fan of John Freida styling products (volume specifically)- I would be open to their shampoo/conditioner if I was in the market for a budget option.

  6. Marcia says
    Posted September 18, 2019

    I love my Ethique shampoo bar and conditioner bar!

  7. Eleanor Mullen says
    Posted September 18, 2019

    Kate, great info…I’m 48 and have dry, highlighted, thinning hair that never seems to get greasy🤔 I use Nioxin 3 Shampoo and Conditioner but wonder if this is best for my hair type as it’s quite drying? (I do use Kerastase Anti Ciment Conditioner on my ends). What would you advise?

    • Kate says
      Posted September 18, 2019

      Oh that Kerastase treatment is great! Why don’t you try either adding a hydrating mask once a week or potentially look for a more hydrating conditioner? I love Purely Hydrate and Virtue Restore!

  8. Posted September 19, 2019

    Hey thanks for clearing this up for me! Had always been a little confused about it.

  9. Posted September 19, 2019

    Thanks for all the information! I would have to say my hair is a mix of both oily and greasy (at the roots) and dry everywhere else.

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  10. Aimee says
    Posted September 19, 2019

    This is great! My issue is that i have super dry scalp, but color treated hair. Anti-Dandruff shampoos tend to strip the color. Any advise?

    • Posted September 26, 2019

      I use natural oils for dandruff and dry scalp and I’ve seen a HUGE improvement. I mix lavender, cedarwood, rosemary, and tea tree (this is what does it I believe) with witch hazel and distilled water – spray it on at night and it has helped a lot!

  11. Stacey says
    Posted September 21, 2019

    Hi Kate! Have you tried the Navy haircare line? Several bloggers I follow rave about it. I’m wondering if has anything better to offer over something like Redken or Matrix?

    • Kate says
      Posted September 21, 2019

      I haven’t tried it!

    • Kate says
      Posted September 21, 2019

      I’ve never tried it!

  12. Posted September 22, 2019

    Those are some really good tips! Thank you!

  13. BC says
    Posted October 9, 2019

    I am 50 with shoulder length hair. I know age causes thinning of hair but my hair is actually breaking off, literally breaks at mid shaft.

    any suggestions for hair products to help with breakage?