The faster the better right? Well, not so fast. We’ve all heard of the 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner combo that touts a convenient way to shampoo and condition your hair in one go. But are they really effective at treating flakiness, itchiness, and dandruff while simultaneously caring for your hair? The answer, in short, is no.
In this article we’ll take a look at why a 2-in-1 dandruff shampoo product isn’t the best way to get rid of flakes, and how you can start a new regimen that is still easy but much more effective.
A 2-in-1 dandruff shampoo is marketed as a convenient two products in one (makes sense, right?). These products first hit the market in the 1980s touting the convenience of one product that could cleanse, condition, and treat dandruff at the same time.
In reality, a 2-in-1 is not as simple as just adding shampoo and conditioner together. Additives are used to help stabilize the formulation and polymers are used to bind the conditioning agents with the surfactants for cleansing. These chemical additives can fundamentally change the quality and effectiveness of the cleansing and conditioning ingredients.
Additionally, most 2-in-1 dandruff shampoos are formulated with sulfates because they provide a strong lather and mix well with the conditioning agents suspended in the formulation. However, sulfates can irritate the scalp, aggravating dandruff and some of its underlying conditions like seborrheic dermatitis and eczema. For a sensitive scalp, it is best to avoid sulfates in your dandruff shampoo and personal care products.
One of the main issues with using a 2-in-1 shampoo is that the detergents in the shampoo don’t allow for the conditioning elements to do their job as well as if they were applied separately.
Why is that? The outermost layer of hair, the cuticle, is what traps dirt and oils in your hair and on your scalp. Shampoos work by opening your cuticles and cleansing to release the dirt and oil.
Conditioners work by closing your cuticles and replacing the lost oils from shampooing. The problem is that you cannot open and close your cuticles at the same time. Rather, what ends up happening is that a 2-in-1 is effective at cleaning your hair, but the conditioner falls short. While the 2-in-1 you can grab off the shelf today will likely minimize the damage done by frequent shampooing, it won’t do the full job of a dedicated conditioner.
The best way to treat dandruff and condition your hair is to use a dedicated, dermatologist-tested anti-fungal dandruff shampoo with Zinc Pyrithione (also known as pyrithione zinc) and separate conditioner. This way, you allow for the shampoo and conditioner to each do their job without interfering with the other. This is especially important for dandruff shampoos because it’s essential to let the active ingredient do its job to fight flakes before conditioning (more on that in a bit).
Shampoos and conditioners just don’t mix, literally. On a chemical level, the charges in conditioners and shampoos repel each other. 2-in-1 shampoos work by suspending the silicones inside the formulation. When you rinse your hair, you also wash away the conditioning elements.
Although many 2-in-1 formulations have found a way to stabilize both shampoo and conditioner in one product, they have yet to produce a formulation that can perform as well as dedicated products.
The best way to treat dandruff and condition your hair is to use a dedicated dandruff shampoo and separate conditioner.
Dandruff is simply flaking caused by irritation of the scalp. This scalp irritation or flaking may be linked to seborrheic dermatitis, dry scalp, and other conditions. When your irritated scalp sheds flakes of skin cells, that’s dandruff. It’s important to treat your flakes with a scientifically-formulated dandruff shampoo, and follow that treatment with a moisturizing conditioner to moisturize your hair and calm and soothe your scalp. Look for an antimicrobial dandruff treatment shampoo with the active ingredient Zinc Pyrithione, which helps stop fungal growth, preventing dandruff flakes.
Zinc Pyrithione is our choice for fighting dandruff, over common drugstore ingredients like ketoconazole, tea tree oil, coal tar, and selenium sulfide, or DIY ingredients such as apple cider vinegar. Paired with innovative ingredients like salicylic acid, probiotics, piroctone olamine, and decylene glycol, our dandruff and scalp care products are safe and effective. For curly hair, color-treated hair, and everything in between, by shampooing regularly, you can reduce redness, dryness, and irritation of the scalp, and control flakes.
The most effective way to treat dandruff and care for your scalp is to use the right products. Begin your shower routine by wetting your hair completely and lathering on your dandruff shampoo. After you let the shampoo sit on your hair and scalp for a few minutes, rinse it off along with all the dirt and oils it removed.
Now that your outer layer has been cleansed, your hair is ready to be conditioned. Just like before, work the conditioner throughout your hair from root to tip and let it sit for a few minutes. This replenishes the oils lost from the detergents in shampoos and coats the outer layer of the cuticle, giving it shine and tangle-free manageability.
If you are reaching for the two in one shampoo & conditioner, chances are you probably want the benefits of conditioner. Minimizing the drying effects of shampoo is far from the full effect of conditioner alone and is not enough to treat dry flaking skin. This is why we always recommend you have a dedicated dandruff shampoo for all hair types and separate paraben-free, sulfate-free conditioner with hydrating ingredients like aloe and coconut oil for your hair care routine. While some tout the benefits of DIY moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, almond oil, and peppermint oil, you’re always better off going for a professionally-formulated product. It’s definitely worth the few extra minutes it takes to make the switch.
Use the best dandruff shampoo that gets at the underlying cause of flaking, and a conditioner that adds moisture back to your hair and scalp. Check out The "Gotta Get" Set, which includes our Balancing Shampoo and Nourishing Conditioner. Our conditioner is specially formulated with ingredients like probiotics, vitamin E, and colloidal oatmeal that help hydrate a healthy scalp. This set is the perfect combo for dandruff control, dry scalp care, getting rid of excess oil, itch relief, and bringing shine to your hair.
This powerful combo is much more effective than using a 2-in-1 alternative, giving you the maximum scalp care you need to get your dandruff under control and leave your hair silky soft. Check out the set here.