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Everywhere you look, there is shampoo and conditioner—in one. The same bottle. How is this possible? Are we all being played for dupes, “yanked around” by our hair follicles as Big Shampoo laughs all the way to the bank? I sought out answers—the scientific answers.

When discussing the important topic of “Does shampoo and conditioner in one really work or what?” what usually happens is, every single individual idiot who ever washed their hair in their lives will pipe up and say, “Well for me it does,” or “For me it doesn’t,” or some other similarly useless bit of anecdotal crap. As a fact-based journalist let me be the first to inform you that that is not scientific, and nobody wants to hear it. What we need is a real expert. A real hair expert.

Do you know the term for the study of hair? Trichology. Much like tricknology—except that trichology is true, and about hair. In order to get to the “roots” of this important question, I turned to Penny James, the head of Penny James Salon in New York City and an International Association of Trichologists-certified trichologist. If you aren’t an IAT-certified trichologist I don’t give a damn about your opinion, on this particular issue! But Penny James kindly shed some light:

There are so many 2- in- 1 shampoo conditioner combos on the market. I personally have very fine hair that tangles easily, and I love to try these so called easy quick way to wash and moisturize your hair all at the same time.

Sadly for my hair type they don’t work.!

On a professional note. Everyone needs to be able to shampoo their hair to get rid of build up and oil, this leaves the scalp cleansed. The hair if longer than a few inches needs to be hydrated. Most good quality shampoos and conditioners are acidic based this helps the cuticle to lay flat, but if a conditioner is not used the hair can become very static, and tangled, when brushing out you end up ripping the hair and damaging the cuticle.

For thick coarse hair use a moisturizing shampoo followed by a cream based conditioner that will smooth the cuticle and leave your hair feeling manageable, if you did not take this step to add the moisturizer it could lead to damaged cuticle’s and make the hair frizzy and dull. For long thin hair you will need shampoo that cleanses the scalp but not weigh down the hair, followed by a light weight conditioner to strengthen and moisturize the hair shaft.

To lump all our hair types together and state that its going to work for everyone is simply not true. Is it a scam? No, it’s great for people with medium fine very short hair and a healthy scalp. The rest of us need to use two products to keep our scalp and hair in the best possible condition.

2-in-1 type of product is not recommended to anyone who needs to create extra moisture to the hair shaft.

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There you have it straight from a certified trichologist: Combination shampoo-conditioner is not a scam if you have medium fine very short hair and a healthy scalp. If you do not have medium fine very short hair and a healthy scalp—don’t waste your freaking money!

Although I cannot declare Big Shampoo to be fraudulent this time, there will be a next time—I assure you.