Shampoo and conditioners are two of the most basic hair care products. No hair care routine is complete without them. There’s a reason why a shampoo and conditioner from every brand and range come in a pair. One removes dirt, oil and other impurities from the hair and cleanses it effectively, while the other conditions it and adds a healthy shine. While you’ve been using these two products for all your life, have you ever paid attention to the right way to use a shampoo and conditioner or how much you should be using? We bet you didn’t, because they are fairly simple to use and the instructions are mentioned on the label, right?

You will be surprised to know that washing your hair with shampoo and then applying conditioner may not be the right order or technique for you. While it works for most hair types, over the years there have been so many different hair cleansing and conditioning methods, that it's worth taking a look at them. In this article you will learn about shampoo and conditioner in detail as well as how to use them for your best hair yet. Because sometimes it's the basics where we all go wrong!


What is Shampoo

What is Shampoo

In the simplest terms, shampoo is a cleansing agent that removes dirt, oil and other impurities from the hair and scalp to give it a clean and fresh feel. Traditionally, women used to apply soap on their hair to cleanse it. With soap, however, the application and lathering part was difficult. So, liquid shampoos were introduced. Today, there are shampoos for every hair type and concern out there to address various hair problems like hair fall, dandruff, frizzy hair, split ends, damaged hair and more. Most shampoos contain SLS, a chemical agent that produces lather for effective cleansing. However, it can be a harsh ingredient especially for chemically treated hair, which is why SLS-free shampoos are quite popular these days.


Types of shampoo

Types of shampoo

1. Everyday shampoo:

These are mild shampoos and do not contain any harsh surfactants. If you sweat a lot or have an oily scalp, this will be an ideal choice as it won’t dry out the scalp. It will gently clean the scalp without robbing it of its natural sebum.

2. Sulfate-free shampoo:

Sulfates are cleansing agents added to a lot of products like shampoos, face washes, body washes and more, as it helps the product lather. However, it can be pretty harsh for some, especially on dry and coloured hair. A sulfate-free shampoo would be better for dry and coloured hair.

3. Volumising shampoo:

Those with thin and limp hair may often find it difficult to add volume to their strands. A volumising shampoo adds volume to the strands and makes it appear thicker and fuller. If your hair falls flat on the scalp, you should add a volumising shampoo to your hair care routine.

4. Colour protecting shampoo:

Those with coloured hair should not wash their tresses with regular shampoo as it can damage the hair as well as fade the colorway before it is supposed to fade. A colour protecting shampoo will prevent dryness and damage and adds a healthy shine to the hair.

5. Dry shampoo:

One product that has become quite popular in recent years is dry shampoo. If you don’t have the time to wash your hair, but want to refresh your hair and scalp quickly, dry shampoo will get the work done in no time!


What is Conditioner

What is Conditioner

A conditioner is usually used as a second step in a hair care routine. It is a thick formulation that contains conditioning agents and additives that add shine, moisture and softness to your hair. This product also makes hair more manageable by controlling frizz and giving it a smooth and healthy look. Shampoos remove both artificial and natural oils from your scalp, however some amount of sebum is required to keep your strands healthy. A conditioner helps with that, it nourishes your strands and prevents it from appearing dry, it may also prevent split ends. Therefore, it is recommended to use both shampoo and conditioner together for best results.


Types of conditioners

Types of conditioners

1. Nourishing conditioner:

This is the most basic type of conditioner, if there’s a conditioner sitting on a shelf in your bathroom it's probably this one. The main job of this conditioner is to nourish hair and add shine after it has been cleansed.

2. Deep conditioner:

This conditioner too nourishes your hair, but on a deeper level. It contains far more nourishing ingredients than your regular conditioner does and offers better results. Deep conditioners are recommended for those with dry and damaged hair as it has hair repairing abilities.

3. Colour protecting conditioner:

Just like a colour protecting shampoo is gentle on chemically treated hair and prevents colour from fading, similarly, a colour protecting conditioner ensures your hair does not get damaged and retains its shine.

4. Leave-in conditioner:

Most conditioners have to be washed off after a few minutes of application. However, a leave-in conditioner is designed to stay in your hair and offers long-lasting results. It forms a protective layer on the strands and prevents external aggressors from damaging it. It is suitable for all hair types and makes hair look gorgeous, minutes after application.


How to use shampoo vs conditioner

How to use shampoo vs conditioner

  • Soak your hair with warm water, not hot water to begin with
  • Take a small amount of shampoo in your palms, and a few drops of water to dilute it
  • Apply it to your scalp using your fingertips and massage until it lathers
  • Take some more and apply to the lengths of your hair, but pay more attention to your scalp
  • Rinse it completely with warm water and finish with a cold water rinse. This will add a healthy shine to your tresses.
  • Next, take a small amount of conditioner in your palm or as suggested on the label
  • Start applying it to the lengths of your hair, chin down is recommended. Do not put the conditioner on your scalp
  • Allow the conditioner to stay on your hair for at least three minutes for it to work effectively
  • Rinse your hair with water and towel dry to soak excess water.


While it is recommended to not wash your hair everyday as it can be damaging for your tresses, we believe it all depends on your hair type and lifestyle. Those with an active lifestyle or an oily scalp may have to shampoo their hair more often than others. However, you can always opt for a mild shampoo that will gently remove sweat and oil without damaging your strands.


Can You Use conditioner before shampoo

Can You Use conditioner before shampoo

In the last few years, many hair washing techniques and trends have come up. Some people have found these to be quite useful. Co-washing, no poo, and reverse hair washing are a few methods that have found many takers. Never heard of these terms before? We’ll take you through each of them below.

1. Co-washing


Co-washing is the short form of conditioner-only washing, yes you read that right. In this method, you skip shampoo completely and only use conditioner on your hair. If your hair is dry and curly, you might benefit from this technique. The idea behind this method is that shampoos contain harsh ingredients that strip hair of its natural oils, using the only conditioner means it will leave the strands more smooth and silkier than usual.

2. No poo method

No poo method

The next method is the no poo method, and as the name suggests, it involves not using shampoo. Is it similar to co-washing? Not really. Does that mean people who follow this method never wash their hair? No. It just means giving up on traditional, commercial shampoos and using alternative, natural ingredients to cleanse hair. This may include baking soda, apple cider vinegar or at times washing hair with just water. People with curly or coarse hair benefit the most from this.

3. Reverse hair washing

Reverse hair washing

You guessed it right, reverse washing simply means you have to reverse the hair washing process. Condition the hair first, rinse it and follow it up by shampooing. This ensures any residue left on the scalp by the conditioner is washed off, and the hair isn't weighed down. This method works well for those with fine and limp hair.