How do 2 in 1 shampoos work?

As a follow-up to the last shampoo post we thought we’d show you a comparison between a 2-in-1 shampoo plus conditioner and a supposed regular shampoo.

Undoubtedly, the best 2 in 1 technology was created by the good folks at P&G back in the mid 1980′s. The original patent is right here. This technology led to the phenomenal success of a shampoo called Pert Plus. That shampoo is still around but sales have been withering ever since Pantene was introduced in the mid 1990s. Ironically, except for the fragrance and color these formulas are very much the same.

2 in 1 shampoo technology

So what is this 2 in 1 technology? Essentially, it is 2 ingredients added to a regular shampoo, a silicone and a suspending agent. The silicone is usually an ingredient called Dimethicone and it is what makes the formula conditioning. The suspending agent is Glycol Distearate and it is what keeps the silicone from separating out of the formula. The way it works is this¦when the bottle of shampoo is sitting on the shelf, the suspending agent is able to hold the silicone in the formula. But when you put the shampoo on your head and mix it with water, the suspending agent does not work so well. The silicone separates out, stays behind on your hair where it can provide conditioning. That’s the theory anyway and it actually works.

Now that you know a bit about the 2 in 1 technology let’s do a comparison of a 2 in 1 shampoo and a regular shampoo.

Here is the ingredient list of a 2 in 1: Pantene Pro-V Shampoo + Conditioner, Classically Clean

Water, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Chloride, Cocomide MEA, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Sodium Citrate, Polymethacrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, PEG-14M, Dihydrogenated Tallowamidoethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Ammonium Xylene-Sulfonate


Water, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Glycol Distearate, Cocamide MEA, Panthenol (Pantene Pro-Vitamin Complex), Panthenyl Ethyl Ether (Pantene Pro-Vitamin Complex), Lysine HCl (Pantene Amino Protein Complex), Methyl Tyrosinate HCL (Pantene Amino Protein Complex), Histidine (Pantene Amino Protein Complex), Dimethicone, Fragrance, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Trimethylolpropane Tricaprylate/Tricaprate, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Ammonium Xylene-Sulfonate

Notice any similarities? The first 4 ingredients are exactly the same. But more importantly, both contain the 2 in 1 technology, Glycol Distearate and Dimethicone.

Just so you don’t think we’re picking on Pantene, other brands do the same thing for example Fructis (their 2 in 1 vs their normal both contain Dimethicone). And even your favorite salon brands do it too.

So why do these companies add 2 in 1 technology to regular shampoos? Mostly because the added conditioning helps prevent the hair from being so clean that it feels dry. Almost any shampoo will do an excellent job of removing the oil and dirt from your hair. Take out too much however; you’ll get a head of hay.

Beauty Brains Bottom Line

If you want a clarifying or normal shampoo then DO NOT use one that contains Dimethicone. Despite what it says on the label if a shampoo contains Dimethicone it is a conditioning shampoo.