The First Thing You Should Do When You Get New Shampoo and Conditioner

updated Oct 8, 2020
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Some habits and routines are so engrained in your life that questioning them doesn’t even occur to you. When you aren’t even aware of these practices, it’s beyond the realm of possibility to change them—unless someone shines a spotlight on them and tells you why it might behoove you to take a closer look.

I used to wash my hair with shampoo twice, and then use conditioner, each and every time I washed my hair. The first time was to “get rid of the dirt,” and the second time was to address oils and such. This is what I was taught as a young girl—thanks, Mom! But I realized as an adult (not that long ago, actually) that maybe my hair didn’t need such rigorous cleansing. I tried skipping that second shampoo, and found that my hair was perfectly fine with one less washing—possibly better, even.

Not only did altering my hair-washing habit cut my hair-washing time down, but it also saved me consumption, packaging waste, and money. I no longer need to buy two bottles of shampoo for every bottle of conditioner. And as I’ve begun to invest a bit more in haircare products that make my fine hair feel thicker and fuller, saving my resources by using less product has become even more of a priority.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

So when I found out that I could dilute my shampoo and conditioner with little impact to their potency, it became standard practice, and it’s the first thing I do when I get new bottles of product. The benefits are not only financial—diluting shampoo can keep product from overly stripping your hair, ultimately yielding softer, healthier locks. There’s really no reason not to dilute.

To stretch your hair care products without loss of effectiveness and cut your expenditure by half, decant it into small applicator bottles. These will help you apply less each time you use your products. The nozzle will also help you apply shampoo precisely where you need it most: your scalp. Start with a combination of half shampoo or conditioner and half water. If you need more product, increase the amount. Use a brush or comb in the shower to distribute through your hair.

The change is small and relatively painless, but as with so many small changes, the results compound over time. Pretty soon, you’ll chuckle at the days you spent twice as much on shampoo and conditioner.