If there is one commercial from my childhood that sticks out in my brain, it's Pert Plus' two-in-one-shampoo jingle. "Are you still messing with two bottles?" it would taunt from the TV screen. And, it wasn't the only brand to do so. Two-in-one formulas were all the rage in the '80s and '90s, boasting shorter shower times with their one-step processes. Their It status was short-lived, however, as consumers began to put an emphasis on regimens and care over convenience, and these products eventually lost popularity among women.
But, like a hair-care phoenix, these two-in-one wares have risen from the ashes — but they're not quite the same. In fact, they're not technically shampoos. Say hello to the cleansing conditioner, a product that's actually been around for a while in the natural-hair circles. Cleansing conditioners do just what their name implies: They scrub your mane clean and give it a deep drink of hydration, without sulfates or surfactants. That means you won't get the suds, but you will get softer hair that looks and feels a lot cleaner. In truth, they're actually better than the two-in-one formulas of yore. "Using a cleansing conditioner is always better than a two-in-one, which never seem to leave the hair moisturized enough," says Nicole Tresch, a senior colorist at Rita Hazan Salon.
And, they're so effective, they can basically do away with your need for a regular shampoo-and-conditioner duo. Tresch does advise, though, that these products are best for people whose hair needs a little extra moisture. "It's great for people who have dry, coarse, or curly hair, but not necessary for people with finer hair."