Best 2-in-1 Shampoos

Updated October 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

56 Models Considered
14 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best 2-in-1 shampoos

Your hairstyle is an extension of your personality, so your tresses should be treated with care. Sometimes, though, your schedule keeps you from giving your locks the attention they deserve. A 2-in-1 shampoo can help you streamline your shower when you need to shave time from your routine.

Two-in-one shampoos include both washing and conditioning ingredients, allowing you to skip a step when time is at a premium. These formulas feature cleaning agents that remove dirt and grime when you rinse them from your hair. They also pack in conditioning compounds that are released upon rinsing, giving your hair a smooth, silky finish.

Wary customers can rest assured that there’s a 2-in-1 shampoo for them, no matter what type of hair they have. Early combo formulas only worked on “easy” hair: not too oily, not too dry, not too thick. Today, there’s a 2-in-1 shampoo for thin hair, curly hair, color-treated hair, and more.

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People with dry hair can use 2-in-1 shampoos, but they must be intentional about moisturizing. Chase your 2-in-1 shampoo with moisturizing conditioner, or spray with a leave-in conditioner in a time crunch.

Key considerations

Hair type

When picking the perfect 2-in-1 shampoo, you first need to consider your hair type.

If you have dry hair, you need a formula that packs extra moisture. Blends infused with products like coconut milk, olive oil, and other heavy hitters will lock in the moisture and reduce frizz and flyaways.

Customers with oily hair need formulas that skip added moisturizers and exotic oils. While most hair types should avoid sulfates, those with oily hair shouldn’t rule them out entirely. Sulfates are sometimes harsh on sensitive skin because they’re so effective at stripping away excess oil. Formulas containing salicylic acid can also help oily hair.

Curly-haired customers often also have dry hair, thanks to an abundance of twists that serve as weak points along the cuticle. Those with tight and medium curls should be on the lookout for formulas that are heavy on oil. If your hair has a wavy texture, feel free to look for a more balanced blend or one focused on other hair concerns.

Fine hair is the primary hair type original 2-in-1s actually helped. These customers can look for a balanced formula. Consider blends with added moisturizer if your hair tends towards drying, but be observant, as fine hair is more prone to dulling product buildup than other types.

Other concerns

Aside from hair type, some customers have other challenges that affect their hair care.

Color-treated hair: Are your tresses color-treated? If so, look for mild formulas that will be gentle on hair that has already been dried by chemical treatment. Blends with extra conditioners can help pamper hair stressed by bleach and dye. Avoid sulfates; they’re harsh on dry hair and can fade your color, too.

Dandruff: If dandruff is your foe, look for 2-in-1s specially formulated to fight the flakes. These blends will likely include coal tar, salicylic acid, pyrithione zinc, or sulfur.

Thinning hair: Is your hair thinning? Formulas enriched with vitamins and antioxidants may help feed your locks, while proteins and oils can help bolster volume and body.

Chlorine damage: Swimmers with hair damaged by chlorine will want a 2-in-1 shampoo with moisture-rich ingredients. An extra helping of vitamin C will help banish pool chemicals from your tresses.

Features

Nourishing ingredients

Many 2-in-1 shampoos enhance their formulas with key vitamins and luxurious oils to strengthen and moisturize hair.

Vitamin A: Shampoos rich in vitamin A assist your body in producing its own moisturizing oil, called sebum.

Vitamin B: Formulas that include biotin and other B-vitamins assist in hair growth by helping to bring vital nutrients to the scalp.

Coconut oil: Coconut oil encourages hair growth by nourishing your scalp. It moisturizes hair and reduces frizz using omega-6 fatty acids as well as vitamins E, A, and K.

Argan oil: Rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, argan oil boosts hair’s elasticity and increases its shine.

Olive oil: Olive oil promotes scalp health, strengthens and smooths hair, and prevents brittleness with the help of omega-3 oils, vitamin A, and vitamin E.

Extracts: Extracts from herbs, flowers, and other botanicals may soothe skin, replenish nutrients, and add light fragrance to shampoo formulas.

Tear-free

Parents looking for a convenient 2-in-1 shampoo for their children should make sure the formula they choose is tear-free. This is especially important if you have a child who washes or rinses their own hair, but even parents who bathe their children are hard-pressed to keep every drip out of their child’s eyes. 

Scents

While some 2-in-1 conditioners are unscented, many include ingredients that add a pleasing finish. Some smell like flowers or fruit; some exude a “clean” aroma; others are musky. If you are sensitive to artificial fragrances, choose something that’s unscented. Even natural substances can cause reactions, so keep this in mind if you react poorly to specific fruits, vegetables, or other botanicals.

Expert Tip
STAFF
BestReviews

2-in-1 shampoo prices

Costs for 2-in-1 shampoos vary depending upon the ingredients, so there’s something to fit just about any budget.

Inexpensive: The lowest-priced 2-in-1 shampoos start around .30 per ounce. At this price, shampoos will get the job done, but they may use sulfates to do it. They may not contain many natural ingredients, and the scents are likely to be artificial.

Mid-range: The next tier of 2-in-1 shampoos ranges from .40 to .75 per ounce. These formulas may have more natural ingredients, and some will be sulfate-free. Many in this price range address specific concerns, like dandruff prevention or the need for a “tear-free” product for children.

Expensive: The priciest 2-in-1 conditioners cost more than .75 per ounce and may reach as much as $2 per ounce. If you’re paying this much for a product, you should be getting a formula made with high-quality, natural ingredients that clean, treat, and moisturize your hair and scalp. Keep in mind that most shampoos in this tier are not intended for children and therefore might not be tear-free.

Tips

  • Thinner shampoos may be best for children who wash their own hair. A young person may have difficulty fully rinsing a thicker formula, so a thinner one might be better.
  • Shampoo/conditioner combos that forego parabens are healthier for your hair. Avoid sulfates, too, unless your hair is naturally oily.
  • Most conditions instruct you to leave conditioner on your hair for three minutes before rinsing so the moisture can soak in. This three-minute rule doesn’t apply to 2-in-1 shampoos because the conditioning agents aren’t released into your hair until you rinse the shampoo out.
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2-in-1 shampoos were invented in the 1980s in an effort to increase conditioning at a time when many consumers were not as aware of the need to moisturize hair as they are today.

FAQ

Q. How can a 2-in-1 shampoo wash dirt out while leaving conditioner in
A.
It’s a scientific feat. Two-in-one formulas are basically regular shampoos that include silicone, which is commonly used to smooth hair and prevent moisture loss. This silicone is trapped, or suspended, inside a suspending agent, which keeps it from falling to the bottom. The silicone stays “trapped” as long as it’s in the bottle and as you first work the shampoo into your hair. When you rinse, the water breaks down the suspending agent, releasing silicone into your locks. Silicone is heavier than water, so it stays put in your hair while the water rinses away dirt and oil.
 

Q. Why do we need to use conditioner?
A.
Shampoo removes dirt and debris from your hair and your scalp, but often, shampoo does its job a little too well. Too much oil is removed from the hair, leaving your locks and scalp dry. Conditioner replaces the moisture. It also strengthens hair and smooths damaged strands to help prevent breakage.
 

Q. How often should I use a 2-in-1 shampoo?
A.
Combination shampoos are convenient but should only be used once or twice a week. These formulas usually condition by depositing silicone and other smoothing ingredients in your tresses. If you use them continually, deposits may build up in your hair, leaving it looking dull and heavy. Once this happens, you’ll need to remove the buildup with a clarifying shampoo. 

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