best shampoo and conditioner

Hair is often referred to as our “crowning glory,” reflecting not only our personal style but also our overall health. Healthy hair can boost confidence and self-esteem, making effective hair care products an essential part of our daily routines. Using the best shampoo and conditioner is fundamental to maintaining the health and appearance of our hair, addressing various issues such as dryness, damage, and scalp conditions. They play crucial roles in cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting hair, making them indispensable tools in our grooming arsenal.

Understanding the intricacies of hair care requires a deep dive into the evolution of these products, the science behind hair and scalp health, and the myriad of formulations available on the market. By exploring these aspects, we can better appreciate the importance of selecting the right shampoo and conditioner tailored to our individual needs.

Top Picks

SaleBestseller No. 1
TRESemmé Rich Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner Rich Moisture Pack of 2 for Dry Hair Formulated With Vitamin E and Biotin 28 oz
  • REVIVE DRY HAIR: TRESemmĂ© Rich Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner hair care for dry hair delivers optimized hydration that targets dryness and locks in moisture where your hair needs it most
  • ENRICHED WITH VITAMIN E: This gentle shampoo and conditioner system's advanced formula with vitamin E delivers optimum hydration for parched hair that targets dryness and seals in moisture
  • SOFT, HEALTHY-FEELING HAIR: This hydrating shampoo and conditioner system delivers 7x more moisture, versus regular shampoos and conditioners, leaving your hair feeling soft, beautiful, and healthy
  • TREND LED, RIGOROUSLY TESTED: Every ingredient is carefully selected to ensure your hair receives the best possible care. We do not test on animals and our hair products are PETA-approved
  • HAIR CARE TIPS FROM OUR STYLISTS: Use both TRESemmĂ© Rich Moisture Shampoo and TRESemmĂ© Rich Moisture Conditioner to achieve touchably soft hair that’s still full of natural movement
Bestseller No. 2
MONDAY HAIRCARE Repair Shampoo and Conditioner Set 12oz for Dry to Damaged Hair, Made with Keratin, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Vitamin E
  • REPAIR SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER: MONDAY Haircare REPAIR Shampoo & Conditioner is an intensely nourishing and restorative shampoo for dry, damaged and depleted hair. It contains hydrating natural ingredients such as Keratin, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Vitamin E to leave hair feeling healthy and replenished.
  • PREMIUM FORMULAS: MONDAY Haircare’s range of Shampoo and Conditioners is dermatologically tested, pH-balanced, and SLS-free and paraben-free. With MONDAY, every day can be a good hair day.
  • CERTIFIED CRUELTY-FREE: MONDAY Haircare’s products are approved as cruelty-free under the Leaping Bunny programme by Cruelty Free International. MONDAY is also recognised by PETA as a brand that does not test on animals.
  • RECYCLABLE BOTTLES: Not only do MONDAY’s little pink bottles look great in your shower, they’re made from recyclable plastic to help minimise carbon footprint and reduce landfill.
  • INCLUDES: 1x Repair Shampoo 12oz & 1x Repair Conditioner 12oz
SaleBestseller No. 3
L'Oreal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Repairing Shampoo and Conditioner for Damaged Hair, 28 Ounce (Set of 2)
  • Expert Repairing Formula: L'Oreal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Repairing Shampoo and Conditioner set for silky, healthy, stronger, supple, and easy to style hair* *with system
  • Caring Ingredients: Formulated with caring ingredients, featuring up to 9 percent Repair Concentrate with Protein for silky, healthy-looking hair
  • Indulgent Experience: Neither too rich nor too light, Total Repair 5 Repairing Shampoo and Repairing Conditioner create a perfect synergy of intense care without the weigh down
  • Irresistable Fragrance: L'Oreal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5’s offers a sophisticated floral, creamy blend with juicy green notes
  • Complete Repairing Systen: Maximize results by using with the L'Oreal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Power Restore Multi-Use Treatment

Historical Background

Evolution of Hair Care Products

The journey of hair care products dates back thousands of years, with early civilizations using natural ingredients to clean and condition their hair. Ancient Egyptians, for instance, utilized a combination of animal fats and plant oils, such as castor and almond oil, to maintain their hair. They also used various herbs and clay to create rudimentary shampoos.

In ancient India, Ayurveda—a traditional system of medicine—recommended the use of amla (Indian gooseberry), shikakai, and reetha (soapnuts) for hair cleansing and conditioning. These natural ingredients were revered for their ability to nourish the scalp and promote hair growth.

The concept of modern shampoo originated in the early 20th century. The word “shampoo” itself is derived from the Hindi word “champo,” meaning to massage or knead. The first commercial shampoo was introduced by Kasey Hebert in 1903, which paved the way for the hair care industry we know today. Conditioners followed suit, with the first commercial conditioner, “Brilliantine,” being introduced by Ed. Pinaud in 1900 to soften men’s hair and beards.

As the decades passed, advancements in chemistry and technology revolutionized the formulation of shampoos and conditioners. The mid-20th century saw the introduction of synthetic detergents, which replaced soap-based cleansers due to their superior cleansing properties and gentleness on the hair. The 1970s and 1980s witnessed a surge in the variety of hair care products, each tailored to specific hair types and needs.

Science of Hair and Scalp

Anatomy and Physiology of Hair

Hair is a complex structure composed primarily of a protein called keratin. Each strand of hair consists of three main layers:

  • Cuticle: The outermost layer, made up of overlapping scale-like cells that protect the inner layers. A healthy cuticle lies flat and smooth, giving hair its shine and preventing damage.
  • Cortex: The middle layer, which provides strength, color, and texture to the hair. It contains fibrous proteins and melanin, the pigment responsible for hair color.
  • Medulla: The innermost layer, which may be absent in finer hair. It is composed of soft, spongy cells that provide structural integrity.

Hair types are classified based on the shape of the hair shaft, ranging from straight (Type 1) to wavy (Type 2), curly (Type 3), and coily (Type 4). Each type has unique characteristics and requires different care approaches.

The hair growth cycle comprises three phases:

  • Anagen: The growth phase, lasting 2-7 years, during which hair actively grows.
  • Catagen: The transitional phase, lasting 2-3 weeks, where hair growth slows, and the hair follicle shrinks.
  • Telogen: The resting phase, lasting around 3 months, where hair growth stops, and old hair is shed to make way for new growth.

Scalp Health

A healthy scalp is crucial for maintaining healthy hair. The scalp is home to numerous sebaceous glands that produce sebum, an oily substance that moisturizes and protects the hair and skin. An imbalance in sebum production can lead to various scalp issues, such as:

  • Dandruff: Characterized by flaky, itchy scalp, often caused by an overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia.
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis: A more severe form of dandruff, resulting in red, inflamed, and scaly patches.
  • Psoriasis: An autoimmune condition leading to thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry patches.

Shampoos and conditioners are designed to address these issues by cleansing the scalp, removing excess oil, and providing necessary hydration and nourishment.

Ingredients and Formulations

Key Ingredients in Shampoos

Shampoos contain a variety of ingredients, each serving a specific purpose. The primary components include:

  • Surfactants: These are the cleansing agents that remove dirt, oil, and impurities from the hair and scalp. They can be classified into:
    • Anionic Surfactants: Such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), known for their strong cleansing and foaming properties.
    • Cationic Surfactants: Less common in shampoos, used primarily in conditioners.
    • Nonionic Surfactants: Mild and gentle, often used in baby shampoos and sensitive scalp formulas.
    • Amphoteric Surfactants: Such as Cocamidopropyl Betaine, which are mild and help stabilize foam.
  • Moisturizers and Humectants: Ingredients like glycerin and panthenol that attract and retain moisture, keeping hair hydrated and soft.
  • Proteins and Amino Acids: Hydrolyzed keratin, silk, and wheat proteins that strengthen and repair damaged hair.
  • Botanicals and Extracts: Natural ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, and tea tree oil that soothe and nourish the scalp.

Key Ingredients in Conditioners

Conditioners are formulated to provide moisture, reduce friction, and enhance the manageability of hair. Key ingredients include:

  • Emollients and Occlusives: Oils (such as argan oil and coconut oil), butters (like shea butter), and silicones (such as dimethicone) that smooth and seal the hair cuticle, reducing frizz and enhancing shine.
  • Proteins and Amino Acids: Similar to shampoos, conditioners often contain proteins to repair and strengthen hair.
  • Detangling Agents: Silicones and cationic surfactants that help reduce tangling and make hair easier to comb.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Ingredients like vitamin E, biotin, and zinc that promote hair health and growth.

Harmful Ingredients to Avoid

While many ingredients are beneficial, some can be harmful or irritating:

  • Sulfates: Though effective cleansers, sulfates can strip hair of natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation.
  • Parabens: Preservatives that have been linked to potential hormonal disruptions.
  • Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives: Such as DMDM Hydantoin, which can cause allergic reactions.
  • Fragrances: Can cause allergies and irritation, especially for sensitive scalps.

Different Types of Shampoos and Conditioners


Shampoos are formulated to address specific hair needs and concerns:

  • Clarifying Shampoos: Designed to deeply cleanse the hair and scalp, removing buildup from styling products, hard water, and pollution. Ideal for occasional use.
  • Volumizing Shampoos: Lightweight formulas that add body and lift to fine, limp hair.
  • Moisturizing Shampoos: Hydrating formulas that infuse dry, brittle hair with moisture.
  • Color-Safe Shampoos: Sulfate-free formulas that preserve the vibrancy and longevity of color-treated hair.
  • Anti-Dandruff Shampoos: Contain active ingredients like pyrithione zinc, salicylic acid, or ketoconazole to combat dandruff and soothe the scalp.


Conditioners come in various forms to suit different hair needs:

  • Rinse-Out Conditioners: The most common type, applied after shampooing and rinsed out after a few minutes. They provide basic moisture and detangling benefits.
  • Leave-In Conditioners: Lightweight formulas left in the hair to provide ongoing moisture, detangling, and protection.
  • Deep Conditioners and Hair Masks: Intensive treatments used weekly or bi-weekly to provide deep hydration and repair.
  • Protein Treatments: Strengthen and rebuild damaged hair by infusing it with proteins.
  • Co-Washes: Cleansing conditioners that gently cleanse hair without stripping it of natural oils, suitable for curly and coily hair types.

Matching Products to Hair Types and Needs

Hair Types and Recommended Products

Understanding your hair type is crucial for selecting the right shampoo and conditioner:

  • Fine Hair: Benefits from volumizing and lightweight products that add body without weighing hair down. Look for shampoos with gentle cleansing agents and conditioners with light moisturizers.
  • Thick Hair: Requires moisturizing and detangling products to manage its density and potential frizz. Shampoos with rich, creamy textures and conditioners with emollients and oils work well.
  • Curly Hair: Needs hydrating and defining products to maintain curl pattern and prevent frizz. Sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners with hydrating ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil are ideal.
  • Color-Treated Hair: Requires color-safe products that protect and prolong the vibrancy of the hair color. Look for sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners with UV filters and antioxidants.
  • Oily Hair: Benefits from balancing and clarifying products that remove excess oil without over-drying the scalp. Shampoos with ingredients like tea tree oil and salicylic acid can help.
  • Dry Hair: Needs intensive moisture products to replenish lost hydration. Shampoos with gentle surfactants and conditioners with rich, hydrating ingredients like glycerin and oils are best.

Popular Brands and Their Offerings

High-End Brands

High-end brands are known for their luxurious formulations and innovative ingredients:

  • Kerastase: Offers a wide range of shampoos and conditioners tailored to different hair types and concerns. Their products are known for their high-quality ingredients and effectiveness.
  • Oribe: Renowned for its luxurious and high-performing hair care products, often infused with unique botanical extracts and advanced technology.
  • Aveda: Focuses on natural and sustainable ingredients, offering a variety of shampoos and conditioners that cater to different hair needs while being eco-friendly.

Mid-Range Brands

Mid-range brands provide quality products at a more affordable price point:

  • Redken: Known for its scientifically advanced formulations, offering a broad range of products for different hair types and concerns.
  • Paul Mitchell: Offers a diverse lineup of shampoos and conditioners that cater to various hair needs, known for their salon-quality results.
  • Moroccanoil: Famous for its argan oil-infused products, providing excellent hydration and nourishment for dry and damaged hair.

Drugstore Brands

Drugstore brands offer affordable and accessible hair care solutions:

  • Pantene: Known for its Pro-V formula, offering a wide range of shampoos and conditioners that deliver moisture, strength, and shine.
  • Garnier: Offers a variety of hair care lines, including Fructis and Whole Blends, focusing on natural ingredients and effective results.
  • Tresemme: Provides salon-quality products at an affordable price, with a focus on professional-grade performance.

Reviews of Top Products

Top Shampoos and Conditioners in Each Category

To identify the best products, it’s important to consider expert reviews, customer feedback, and clinical tests:

  • Clarifying Shampoos: Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo, Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two.
  • Volumizing Shampoos: Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo, Living Proof Full Shampoo.
  • Moisturizing Shampoos: OGX Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo, SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo.
  • Color-Safe Shampoos: Pureology Hydrate Shampoo, Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo.
  • Anti-Dandruff Shampoos: Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Shampoo.
  • Rinse-Out Conditioners: Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Conditioner, Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Conditioner.
  • Leave-In Conditioners: It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product, Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner.
  • Deep Conditioners and Hair Masks: Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector, Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask.
  • Protein Treatments: ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment, Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus.
  • Co-Washes: As I Am Coconut CoWash, DevaCurl No-Poo Original Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser.

Eco-Friendly and Natural Options

Organic and Natural Shampoos and Conditioners

With growing awareness of the environmental impact of personal care products, many consumers are turning to organic and natural options:

  • Importance of Natural Ingredients: Natural shampoos and conditioners are free from synthetic chemicals, relying instead on botanical extracts and essential oils to cleanse and condition hair. They are often gentler on the scalp and hair, reducing the risk of irritation and allergic reactions.
  • Top Organic Brands: Brands like Acure, Avalon Organics, and Rahua are known for their commitment to using organic, sustainable ingredients. They offer a range of products that cater to different hair types and needs.
  • DIY Options: For those interested in homemade solutions, there are numerous recipes available for making your own shampoos and conditioners using ingredients like apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and coconut oil.

Innovations and Future Trends

Recent Innovations in Hair Care

The hair care industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and ingredients being introduced regularly:

  • Micellar Shampoos: Utilizing micellar water technology, these shampoos provide a gentle yet effective cleanse, attracting dirt and oil without stripping hair of its natural moisture.
  • Probiotic and Prebiotic Ingredients: Emerging research suggests that maintaining a healthy scalp microbiome can promote better hair health. Products with probiotic and prebiotic ingredients aim to balance the scalp’s natural flora.
  • Personalized Hair Care Solutions: Companies like Function of Beauty and Prose offer customized shampoos and conditioners tailored to individual hair types and concerns, based on detailed questionnaires and sometimes even hair analysis.

Future Trends

Looking ahead, several trends are likely to shape the future of hair care:

  • Sustainability: There is a growing focus on eco-friendly packaging and sustainable ingredient sourcing. Brands are moving towards biodegradable packaging, refillable bottles, and zero-waste products.
  • Scalp Microbiome Research: Advances in understanding the scalp’s microbiome are expected to lead to more targeted treatments for scalp conditions and overall hair health.
  • AI and Technology: The integration of AI in personal care is becoming more prominent, with smart devices and apps offering personalized hair care recommendations and monitoring hair health over time.


Choosing the Right Shampoo and Conditioner

Selecting the best shampoo and conditioner requires an understanding of your hair type, specific concerns, and personal preferences. By considering factors such as ingredients, formulation, and product reviews, you can build a personalized hair care routine that addresses your unique needs.

Regular hair care and maintenance are essential for keeping your hair healthy and looking its best. Whether you opt for high-end brands, mid-range options, or affordable drugstore products, the key is to choose products that work well for your hair type and deliver the results you desire.

In the ever-evolving world of hair care, staying informed about the latest trends and innovations can help you make better choices and achieve the best possible outcomes for your hair. Whether you prefer natural and organic options or cutting-edge technological advancements, there is a wealth of products available to meet every need and preference.