February 26, 2020 at 02:00AM by CWC
Long ago, some genius came up with the idea that shampoo and conditioner should be sold as a duo like PB&J or avocado and toast. Ever since that storied time, we’ve been shopping for these two essentials as a set: moisturizing shampoos go with moisturizing conditioners; curl shampoos must be paired with curl conditioners. But actually, by mixing and matching different categories of shampoos and conditioners, you can do your strands multiple solids at the same time.
“I’ve always been a believer of mixing and matching your shampoo and conditioner, because most people don’t have the same issue from roots to ends,” says Suave celebrity stylist Marcus Francis. That means that if you have oily roots and dry ends, you can use something that will clean hair more thoroughly up top (like a clarifying shampoo), and then use something with more moisture on bottom (like a moisturizing conditioner).
“Hair is complex, and may need different things at different times,” says Glamsquad Creative Director Giovanni Vaccaro. He suggests thinking of your hair the same way you think of your skin: Just as your skin can be “combination” (aka: oily and dry at the same time), so too can your strands. “Sometimes hair may need volume at the roots and moisture on the ends,” Vaccaro says. For others, you might want to pair a color conditioner with a curl shampoo to support both the texture and highlights. “It’s great to build your product wardrobe so that you can give your hair that it needs, when it needs it,” he says.
The best way to get started on this, according to the pros, is first to think about your texture and then to think about giving your hair what it needs. “Sometimes it takes playing around with the combination or products, or the order in which you’re using them in your hair,” says Francis. You’ll want to consider the top two concerns you’re dealing with—whether that’s dryness, frizz, lack of volume, or something else—and look for a shampoo and conditioner to help with handling each.
To make this process as easy as possible, we asked the pros to put together shampoo “cocktails” to help treat varying hair concerns that a combination hair type might have to deal with. Read on for what they recommend.
If your combination hair type is dry and flat
One of the most common combo issues that stylists see is hair that needs volume at the roots and hydration on the ends. In this case, your best bet is to use a volumizing shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner. To give roots some added oomph, volumizing shampoos are often meant to leave behind polymers space out individual hairs, making them look fuller. Follow that up with a conditioner that’s spiked with avocado, shea butter, coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, or honey. According to Vaccaro, if you’ve got fine-to-medium hair and lack volume, you’re always going to want to stay away from any moisturizing conditioners and look for volumizing options, instead.
If your combination hair type is dry and frizzy
When dryness and frizziness happen in tandem, the most important thing to think about is making sure your lengths are nourished. “The best ingredients to look for are products with avocado which helps nourish frizzy hair and papaya which is perfect for hair that is damaged and has breakage,” says Garnier celebrity consulting hairstylist Millie Morales. Use a frizz-calming shampoo followed by a moisturizing conditioner for best results.
If your combination hair type is oily and frizzy
As a general rule, shampoo treats your scalp and conditioner treats your strands. So first, zap oil on your scalp with a clarifying, oil-free formula. Then, use a conditioner that will fight frizz while also replenishing strands with moisture. Just be sure to only apply it on the ends of your hair to avoid any excess buildup at the root.
If your combination hair type is oily and flat
Verb Ghost Shampoo, $18; Verb Volume Conditioner, $18
“Oiliness and lack of volume often occur together,” says Francis. He suggests using a clarifying shampoo to get rid of the oiliness, then adding some oomph by way of conditioner. “Try to end with a conditioner that gives hair movement and feels lightweight, with controlled finish,” he says. Look for something that’s lifting and cleansing, and has ingredients such as rosemary, mint, eucalyptus, lavender, rose oil, and tea tree.
If you want to go all natural with your haircare routine, these are the best shampoos and conditioners money can buy. And be sure to keep strands healthy with the blowdryer our editor swears by for damage-free hair.