Difference Between Shampoo And Conditioner

Difference Between Shampoo And Conditioner

We are all well aware of these common hair care products that we use on a daily basis. But have you ever wondered what the basic difference between a shampoo and a conditioner is? Or why do we use it to keep our hair clean and healthy? You’re about to get all of these answers through this blog while further reading on, along with a few tips and knowledge here and there. Before we explain to you the difference between shampoo and conditioner, let us explain what exactly a shampoo and conditioner is.

What Is A Shampoo?

To define, a shampoo is a liquid cleansing agent, almost soapy in texture that helps to keep your scalp and hair clean. The word originally came from a Hindi word called, “Champo”, meaning massaging the scalp. It can remove excess dirt, sebum and soothe flaky, itchy and irritated scalp, along with reducing hair fall.

Fun fact: Modern shampoos were introduced in the late 1930s to replace the use of normal soap on the hair.

What Is Shampoo Made Up Of?

To begin with, shampoos usually contain as many as 10 to 30 ingredients in one formula. They have cleansing agents, thickeners, preservatives and other natural ingredients. Before dwelling into that, let’s talk about the different types of shampoos that are available in the market to suit different usage patterns. They are, everyday shampoos, volume nourishing shampoos, shampoo for oily, dry and frizzy hair respectively, SLS-free shampoos, and many more.

Different types of shampoos that are available in the market include:

  • Everyday Shampoos: These are mild formulae and don’t usually make your scalp dry.
  • Volume Nourishing Shampoos: These shampoos can help treat thin hair and add volume to the already existing length.
  • SLS-free Shampoos: Sulfate-free shampoos are usually a great alternative for your daily use as they do not strip your hair off of your natural oils.
  • Shampoos for Oily Hair: These shampoos can specifically help people with oily hair to control and reduce excessive sebum secretion.
  • Dry Shampoos: These are excellent alternatives for the days when you do not wish to wash your hair but still want to get that bouncy effect. They are hairsprays that not only clean the hair but also give it a nice fragrance.
  • Colour-protection Shampoo: These are specifically formulated for people with coloured hair, to protect the colour on their hair from fading away. They prevent your hair from getting dry and tangled.

Some of the common ingredients found in shampoos include:

  • Surfactants: It is a cleansing agent that is used to clean the pollutants from the scalp and repair hair follicles. Some of them used in the formulation are SLS, SLES, Sodium Lauryl Sarcosinate.
  • Preservatives: These are used to prevent bacteria from affecting the hair’s overall health. These include, Sodium benzoate, Sorbic acid, Benzyl alcohol, Potassium sorbet, Dehydroacetic acid, etc.
  • Thickeners: These are basically used to increase the viscosity of the shampoo. Some of the common ones used are Stearyl alcohol, Gelatin, Cetyl alcohol, Carnauba wax, etc.
  • Natural Ingredients: Some of the main ingredients commonly used are Argan oil, green tea, Olive, coconut oil, aloe vera, honey, etc.

Benefits Of Using Shampoo

Benefits Of Using Shampoo

Shampoo helps to get rid of all the unnecessary residues in your hair, such as dir, excess oil, dandruff, etc, to make your hair growth unstoppable and healthy. Shampoos come in different types and fragrances, and are often suggested to use at least twice a week. They not only clean your scalp thoroughly but also play a major role in proper hair growth by providing nutrition to your hair. 

What Is A Conditioner?

To be precise, shampoos often tend to remove the natural oils off of the hair, along with dust and dirt, which may leave your hair feeling dry and dull. A conditioner is a hair product to be used after cleansing with shampoo, to restore the hair’s natural moisture and make it softer, thicker and smoother in texture.

It is a semi-liquid formula that influences the appearance, general manageability and good health of your hair.

What Is A Conditioner Made Up Of?

To answer that, we have to first understand that there are five types of conditioners available in the market, and the ingredients in each formulation are decided accordingly.

  • Moisturizing Conditioner: These help to usually retain the lost moisture in the hair and the ingredients include, glycerol, hyaluronic acid, fatty alcohols, sodium PCA, cationic surfactants, sorbitol, panthenol, fructose, erythritol, etc.
  • Deep Conditioners: These generally go deep down into the cuticles to make your hair look smoother and feel softer. Deep conditioners also help to improve the elasticity of the hair. Ingredients include proteins, plant oils, amino acids, mineral oil, silicones, fatty acids, etc.
  • Acidifying Conditioner: They have a very low pH range, i.e. 3.0-4.0, in comparison to other kinds of conditioners, which makes them slightly acidic in nature. The ingredients include citric acid, ascorbates, amineoxides, citrus extracts, behentrimonium chloride, cetrimonium chloride, stearalkonium chloride, etc.
  • Colour Protecting: These conditioners contain heavy moisturizing agents and proteins to fill in the gaps caused due to hair colouring and styling. Ingredients include salicylates, polymers, PABA, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, benzophenone, etc.
  • Thermal Protection Conditioner: These conditioners are typically formulated to protect the hair from heat damage, from hair styling. Ingredients include dimethicone, amodimethicone, dimethiconol, cyclomethicone, etc.

Benefits Of Using A Conditioner

Benefits Of Using A Conditioner

Conditioning you hair can actually make you hair look softer, smoother, silkier, and shinier. Conditioners usually work on restoring the lost moisture in your hair, which often tends to fade away after cleansing your hair with shampoos. Therefore, conditioners protect your hair from damage that is often also caused by the harmful chemicals present in the various shampoo formulations. Conditioners, however, are to be used on your hair length only and not on the scalp.

Difference Between Shampoo And Conditioner | Shampoo Vs Conditioner

Shampoo has a liquid texture and is used to cleanse your scalp and hair follicles.Conditioner is thick and creamy in consistency, used on your hair shaft after cleansing with shampoo.
It gets rid of dirt, dust & bacteria residing on your scalp, and removes dead skin cells and excess sebum oil.It moisturizes the hair and nourishes it, making your hair soft and healthy.
They contain Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium lauryl sarcosinate, sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), etc.They contain hydrating and moisturizing components such as propylene glycol, sodium PCA, etc.


To conclude the shampoo vs conditioner argument, shampoos and conditioners are deep cleaning and moisturizing agents that help your hair to have a healthy, damage-free and glamorous growth. Each of them has their own set of components and benefits. Therefore, to choose the best product in each category, firstly make sure to understand your hair type well enough and then go ahead for choosing your suitable products accordingly.

With this, we hope to have explained to you the difference between shampoo and conditioners; however, if you do have any doubts between the two products, let us know in the comments section and we will get back to you shortly.

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