Argan oil plus botanical extracts and oils enhance shine and health of your hair and scalp. Gently cleanses without stripping color. Conditioner hydrates hair and leaves it feeling soft and thicker. Paraben-free and cruelty-free.
A higher price point. Some users report scalp irritation or dandruff after using it.
Pro-V hydrating conditioner has a blend of nutrients to replenish dry hair from root to tip. Leaves hair feeling soft and silky. Locks in hydration. Large bottles last a long time and the price is affordable, giving you great value.
Some don't like the scent of the shampoo.
The moisturizing formula repairs hair and makes it feel stronger, thicker, and shinier. Gives hair a soft and silky feel. Great for thick hair. Heat protective and color-safe.
Conditioner takes a while to wash out. Doesn't come with pumps.
Complete with nourishing oils, this duo will help your hair feel strong and smooth. Removes oily build-up and dandruff. Conditioner promotes smooth and sleek hair. Refreshing, minty scent.
Some felt that the combination made their hair feel dry.
Worked to soften and leave hair feeling hydrated and healthier. Klorane uses plant-based ingredients that work well even for sensitive scalps. Lightweight formula does not weigh down hair.
Product can be difficult to get out of bottle when it begins to run low.
After going through an intensive research process to narrow down our short list of top products in this space, we tested Klorane Hydrating Mango Routine to be sure that it’s worthy of our recommendation. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter and test to verify manufacturer claims.
Selecting the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type is essential to healthy, shiny hair. Shampoo cleanses your hair of oil and dirt, and conditioner softens it for manageable styling. It’s best to buy shampoo and conditioner in a set because the two products are formulated to work together to give you a good hair day every day.
However, with hundreds of options to choose from, choosing the right shampoo and conditioner set for your locks can be a challenge. You’ll need to consider your hair type, the ingredients, and any special hair concerns you have, like dandruff prevention or keeping your color-treated hair strong and vibrant.
Our buying guide has everything you need to know when shopping for shampoo and conditioner sets, including how much you should expect to pay and a few hair care tips.
The main consideration when choosing a shampoo and conditioner set is your hair type.
Fine hair shouldn’t be confused with thin hair. Fine hair indicates the thickness of each strand of hair, rather than your whole head of hair. You can have a lot of hair, but each strand may be fine. Fine hair often becomes greasy in a short period of time between washes. A gentle shampoo that increases volume is a good option for fine hair. Avoid thick, creamy formulas. Also, you may not need to condition your hair every time you wash it. Too much conditioner can weigh down fine hair.
Coarse hair is the opposite of fine hair. It is often dry and needs a creamy formula to revitalize and moisturize each individual strand. Your hair may be naturally coarse and dry, or it can become that way from overstyling or excessive heat treatments.
Frizzy hair needs more attention from conditioner than from shampoo. Conditioners help tame frizzy hair by softening it and making it easier to manage. Use a conditioner every time you wash frizzy hair. If your frizz can’t be tamed by conditioner, consider an oil treatment once per week or month to aid in smoothing.
Curly hair is different from frizzy hair. Curly hair means your locks are naturally wavy and curly. Frizz comes from broken hairs sticking up from the head or from curls that have lost their integrity. Look for a shampoo and conditioner set specially formulated for moisturizing and separating curls for a sleeker look.
If you have oily hair, there is plenty of moisture already in your locks. Avoid formulas that are moisturizing because you’re only adding more oil to the hair that way. With oily hair, shampoo often but avoid over-conditioning.
If you’ve added highlights, lowlights, or completely dyed your hair, choose a shampoo and conditioner set for color-treated hair. Shampoos and conditioners that keep color-treated hair healthy help to preserve the color in your hair, and they also work to strengthen dyed hair. Look for products with protein-based ingredients. You may also want to use a purple shampoo once a week to maintain the vibrancy of your color.
Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are similar ingredients. The former is a sulfate that works to lather and clean the hair, but it can cause some scalp irritation. The latter has the same properties, but it is less harsh. Many people with color-treated hair use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner sets for a gentler wash.
Cocamidopropyl betaine is another cleansing ingredient. It works to clean the hair, but it may cause a slight irritation for some users.
Dimethicone is a silicone that works to smooth and condition the hair before adding any conditioning products. It’s most often found in shampoos.
Panthenol is used to hydrate hair, and it’s a form of vitamin B5.
Citric acid raises the pH of your shampoo and your hair. Because the ingredients in shampoos and conditioners work better in a more acidic environment, citric acid is sometimes added to increase the properties of the products.
Parabens are added to hair products as preservatives. However, some people prefer to avoid these chemicals and seek out paraben-free shampoo and conditioner sets instead.
Dry shampoo is used to refresh hair between washes. It helps to soak up excess oils, which gives your hair a “clean” look. However, dry shampoo should not be substituted for regular washing with a shampoo and conditioner set.
Think of how much hair a baby has – not much. That hair is also usually very fine, and it needs gentle, tear-free baby shampoo to cleanse it properly.
Dandruff shampoo helps to moisturize the scalp itself and stop itchiness and flaking. These shampoos work to soothe and exfoliate. The active ingredient is usually zinc pyrithione.
Prices for shampoo and conditioner sets are based on the quality of the ingredients and the quantity of product in each bottle.
For $13 to $18, you can purchase drugstore shampoo and conditioner sets that come in 24-ounce bottles. The ingredients in these formulas are usually not top-quality. However, they work just fine for many people. In this same price range, you can find shampoo and conditioner sets with natural ingredients in smaller eight-ounce bottles.
For $20 to $25, you’ll find shampoo and conditioner sets with better ingredients and more specialized formulas. Many of these sets are sulfate-free and paraben-free and gentle enough for color-treated hair.
High-end sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner sets formulated from organic ingredients cost $25 and up. These sets offer the highest-quality ingredients and may be worth the price if you have a number of hair concerns.
Be wary of shampoo and conditioner sets that claim to be suitable for all hair types. It’s best to buy a set that caters to your specific hair type, whether that be fine hair, curly hair, or color-treated hair.
Don’t associate a high price tag with a quality product. Just because the product is expensive doesn’t mean it’s right for your hair. Always choose a shampoo and conditioner set formulated for your hair type or concerns.
If you’re unsure of your hair type, ask your hair stylist at your next appointment. Your stylist will be able to help you find the right products for your hair.
Remember that you know your hair’s quirks better than anyone, including how often you need to wash it.
There were a few standout shampoo and conditioner sets that almost made our top five. The Nexxus for Color-Treated Hair Assure System Shampoo and Conditioner Set is formulated specifically for color-treated hair. It maintains color with white orchid extract while still thoroughly cleansing the hair with a gel-like shampoo and nourishing conditioner. The WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Conditioner Set is free from sulfates, parabens, and silicone. Perfect for dry hair and itchy scalps, the apple cider vinegar shampoo soothes and refreshes. The conditioner features coconut oil and avocado oil for serious hydration and soft, mangeable locks that are ready for styling.
Q. If a shampoo and conditioner set contains sulfates, does that mean it’s bad?
A. No, not necessarily. What you should be wary of is excessive sulfates. Too much of these cleansing ingredients may irritate a sensitive scalp or be harsh on fine hair. You may also want to avoid sulfates if you have color-treated hair or damaged hair that needs to be washed gently.
Q. Can my partner and I share the same shampoo and conditioner set?
A. If you have the same type of hair, go ahead. But if your hair types are different, and they probably are, one person may not benefit from using the shampoo and conditioner set you’ve selected.
Q. How long do 24-ounce bottles of shampoo and conditioner usually last?
A. It depends on how many people are using the shampoo and conditioner set, but each wash should use no more than one tablespoon of each product. If you wash your hair three times per week, 24-ounce bottles of shampoo and conditioner should last about four months.