Choose your shampoos and conditioners as a “prescription” for your hair type

By Alisa Hrustic

Running out of shampoo and conditioner is definitely at the top of our list of shower-time mood killers. But running out of just one? The WORST. Don’t act like you’ve never slightly panicked after realizing you went through all of your conditioner and only used up half your bottle of ‘poo.

But it turns out your fears are totally unwarranted, because matching your shampoo and conditioner brand is not only unnecessary—it might stop your precious locks from reaching their peak #onfleek potential.

Say wha??? Nothing will ever be the same again.

Think about it this way: You should choose your shampoos and conditioners as a “prescription” for your hair type. Shampoos and conditioners come from all sorts of families (volumizing, cleansing, smoothing, and moisturizing, to name a few—all with different top-level ingredients), and rarely does a matching set suit your hair prescription, says Jet Rhys, owner of Jet Rhys Salon in San Diego. Choosing a solo product from different families is totally fine as long as you’re paying attention to your personal needs.

So, if your hair is feeling coarse, look for a smoothing agent. If your strands are finer, look for a volumizing formula. Pay attention to what kind of style you’re going for day-to-day, and adjust the formulas as you change up the texture. Want to give your fine curls a sleek blow-out? Switch from volumizing conditioners to silicone-based ones instead for smoother results.

“It’s almost like you’re treating two different hair textures,” says Nunzio Saviano, New York hairstylist and salon owner. “One is from the scalp to the mid-shaft, and [the other is from] the mid-shaft to the ends.” Saviano explains that if you have an oily scalp and dry ends, for example, you should use a ‘poo that works best for your roots and a conditioner that’ll help hydrate your ends. “It never has to be the same brand,” he says. Makes sense, right?

The only time you should be all matchy-matchy: if you’re dealing with dandruff or an itchy scalp, says Rolanda J. Wilkerson, Ph.D., a principal scientist for Procter and Gamble. That’s because using a more cosmetic conditioner with your anti-dandruff cleanser could reduce the scalp care benefits. (Wilkerson says that 60 percent of the active ingredient in Head & Shoulders—pyrithione zinc—is decreased on the scalp when you don’t follow up with the brand’s anti-dandruff conditioner.)

So there you have it. You are NOT committing hair-care sacrilege by mixing instead of matching. Take that, Ma!