Top 5 Shampoo and Conditioner Sets of 2017

Make Your Hair Look Beautiful and Promote Existing Growth

At Smarter Reviews, we employ a comprehensive evaluation system to analyze and measure the full value of products, by looking at the ingredients, safety, projected effectiveness, return policies, and overall customer satisfaction. This method is known as the Smarter Reviews Ranking System.

In addition to ranking products, we also collect research from the latest studies and clinical trials. Choosing the best product is easy with Smarter Reviews. We offer a clear-cut system that covers the most important criteria, and takes into account the experienced personal reviews of our valued Smarter Shoppers. We've taken the guesswork out of the process, so you can shop smart, and save on time and money.

Shampoos and Conditioners: What You Need to Know

We cannot escape itan ad featuring Beyoncé's perfect hair, a massive billboard with a current pop star's luscious locks, or even walking down the shampoo and conditioner aislecelebrity branding is everywhere, and it influences our buying decisions.

But what ingredients are we actually paying for in a shampoo and conditioner? Celebrity endorsements? Sleek billboards? How about sulfate-free, natural shampoo and natural conditioner?

The main way women today are maintaining their hair's health and natural beauty is through a high-quality, effective shampoo and conditioner set.

THE HIDDEN DANGERS OF SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONERS

According to the Journal of the American College of Toxicology, common shampoo and conditioner ingredients such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) can damage the immune system, cause separation of skin layers, and inflame your skin leaving it dry, rashy, and irritated.

SLS is found in about 90% of hair care products, but is also found in several harsh floor cleaners, engine degreasers, and car wash detergentsnot exactly something you would want to put in your hair.

The sad truth is that most manufacturers cut corners and use cheap synthetic ingredients when formulating their products. It saves them money and most consumers can't tell the difference.

You may wonder why your hair is unhealthy, but you'd never think to blame your good ol' shampoo and conditioner.

The Proof is in the Pudding -- WE mean in the Shampoo and Conditioner

You are what you eat, right? Consuming processed and unnatural foods can make you feel sluggish and lead to numerous health issues. The same goes for your hair. Your hair and scalp act like a sponge and absorb the nutrients that you feed it.

You want to find the right mix of essential oils, vitamins, natural extracts, and mild cleansers to gently clean your hair and scalp, while fortifying it with beneficial natural ingredients.

Below are beneficial and natural ingredients a high-quality shampoo should contain. All ingredients have been studied in clinical research to help maintain healthy hair.

Beneficial and Natural Shampoo Ingredients:

Essential Oils

  • Peppermint Oil - Aids in the moisturizing process, promoting existing hair growth.* 3
  • Cedarwood Oil - Promotes existing hair growth.* 4
  • Tea Tree Oil - Cleanses your hair and scalp by removing dead cells and unblocking hair follicles.* 5
  • Jojoba Seed Oil - Similar to the natural oil your scalp produces - sebum, Jojoba is used to moisturize the scalp.* 6
  • Grapefruit Oil - Hydrates the scalp, helping to clear away dead skin and make the skin feel comfortable.* 7

Fortifying Extracts

  • Horsetail (plant) - Assists in nourishing and helping hair follicles feel stronger. It also aids in removing styling product buildup.* 8
  • Nettle - Promotes healthy/beautiful hair.*.9
  • Willow bark - Helps maintain existing hair growth*

Proteins

  • Keratin - Promotes hair health by protecting hair cells from styling products and heating tools.* 10, 11
  • Soy and Wheat Proteins - Penetrates the cortexes of hair strands, to help them feel and look stronger, while also moisturizing them.* 11

Vitamins

  • B5, D3, and E - Helps maintain hair growth, and hydrates the scalp.*

Natural Foaming Agents

  • Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine - Derived from the fatty acids in coconut oil, it acts as a foaming and anti-static agent, which conditions and helps thicken the appearance of your hair.*

It is important to know which ingredients are good for your hair. But it is equally important to know which ingredients to avoid. Many people don't understand why their hair is damaged. If you are experiencing an itchy or dry scalp and have noticed hair loss or thinning, you might want to look at what is inside your shampoo and conditioner.

Listed below are harmful shampoo ingredients you need to look out for:

Harmful Shampoo Ingredients:

  • Harsh Sulfates

    SLS and SLES are chemicals reported by the American Journal of Contact Dermatitis to cause irritation. They are added to shampoos because of their cheap and effective bubbling properties.
  • Parabens

    Chemicals including methylparaben, ethylparaben, and propylparaben can be absorbed through your skin and have been linked to breast cancer.12
  • Cocamide DEA

    Found in many products claiming to be natural, the basis of this chemical—coconut oil—seems innocent enough. But scientists tinkered with the ingredient, modifying it into an unnatural, toxic form, and in 2012 California added it to its known carcinogens list.13

Now that we've taken a look at the ingredients we need in our shampoo (and the harmful ingredients we need to avoid!) let's take a look at conditioner.

Conditioner is used to moisturize and protect your hair. Because of conditioner's protective properties, you want to make sure there are plenty of naturally occurring proteins and amino acids to nourish and promote healthy hair.

Listed below are beneficial and natural ingredients your conditioner should contain. Just as importantly, make sure you read the list of harmful ingredients you must avoid.

Beneficial and Natural Conditioner Ingredients:

Hydrolyzed Proteins

  • Keratin - The strongest hair protein which everyone's hair is made from, this protein helps keep hair looking and feeling strong, reduces frizz, smoothes, and makes your hair shine.*.14
  • Hydrolyzed Soy Protein - Strengthens the look and feel of your hair, helps increase your hair's moisture and adds shine.*.15
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein - Fortifies and moisturizes your hair by penetrating each hair cortex*.15

Essential Oils (Conditioning)

  • Marula Oil - Seals, coats, and smoothes your hair cuticle*.16
  • Argan Oil - This high omega oil coats, protects, and moisturizes your hair*.17
  • Coconut Oil - Helps makes your hair look and feel stronger, more flexible, and promotes existing hair growth and maintenance.* 18
  • Avocado Oil - Coats and helps hair feel and look stronger, leaving your hair feeling thick and shiny* 18

Amino Acids

  • Silk Amino Acids - Helps nourish hair without weighing it down or causing buildup. They also contain high levels of serine which has excellent moisture preservation characteristics*

Detangling Agents

  • Behentrimonium Methosulfate - Mild and recommended for use on baby products, derived from rapeseed oil, best used for detangling.*

Harmful Conditioner Ingredients:

  • Behentrimonium Chloride

    Also known as Docosyltrimethylammonium chloride, this cheap, harsh chemical can cause skin and eye irritation.19
  • Isopropyl alcohol

    Used in antifreeze, wood finish, and shellac, this strips hair of its natural oils and can cause damage. Avoid this ingredient.
  • Silicones

    While you usually can't avoid them in your styling products, they shouldn't be present when conditioning your hair. They create the illusion of healthy hair, when in actuality they clog your pores and dry your hair from the inside out.20

Take Care of Your Hair! Be Aware of Sulfates, Parabens, and Silicones

Sulfates, parabens, and silicones are harmful! Studies have linked them to cancer, hair loss, and scalp irritations.21

The harsh reality is that they are commonly used in your shampoo and conditioner.

Take a look for yourselfif SLS and SLES are not listed as some of the first ingredients in your shampoo then you're on the right track.

In Summary

The best way to take care of your hair is with a natural shampoo and a natural conditioner. Here are some tips from our Smarter Shoppers on what to find:

  • Look for mild cleansers, essential oils, vitamins, and extracts - they will gently clean your hair and scalp, while fortifying it with beneficial natural ingredients*.
  • Look for Essential Oils from Coconut, Avocado, Argan, and Marula - they will give your hair shine and moisture without the oily buildup*.
  • Look for Vitamin B, D, and E - they will nourish your hair follicles and help retain your hair's natural properties*.
  • Avoid harsh sulfates, parabens, and silicones - these ingredients may work for the very short term, but they do more harm in the long run and can seriously damage your hair and can even cause premature hair loss*.

TOP 5 Shampoos and Conditioners for 2017

Based on our own extensive research, the metrics provided by our Smarter Reviews Ranking System, and consideration of numerous reviews by Smarter Shoppers just like you, we've compiled a list of what we've found to be the top five products in 
this category, on the market today.

Review

Revitalize & Restore

Total Ranking

295 votes

9.6/10

A+

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 9.7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 9.6/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.5/10

  • Value
  • 9.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Return Policy
  • 9.6/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 9.6/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Premium ingredient list: Argan Oil, Marula OIl, Jojoba Seed Oil, Saw Palmetto
  • Sulfate-Free, Paraben-Free, Silicone-Free
  • Hair was left clean and hydrated*
  • Color-Safe
  • Great User Reviews
  • 90-Day money back Guarantee
  • Made in the U.S.A.

CONS

  • Often sold out due to low stock
The Bottom Line

Hair La Vie Revitalize Shampoo and Restore Conditioner was Smarter Shoppers' number one top choice. Their powerful formula uses clinically researched ingredients, making them the top choice across-the-board for manageability and overall beautiful hair. Hair La Vie had the highest user reviews and ratings. The confidence in their product is undoubtedly the best our Smarter Shoppers have ever seen, with a 90-day money back guarantee. We highly recommend this dynamic shampoo and conditioner duo to support your hair.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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Review

"Hydrate" Shampoo and Conditioner

Total Ranking

722 votes

8.7/10

B+

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 8.8/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 9.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.5/10

  • Value
  • 8.2/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Return Policy
  • 8.6/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 8.8/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Several Essential Oils
  • Effective*
  • Cute packaging

CONS

  • Contains harsh chemicals, silicones, and parabens
  • Uses synthetic colors and fragrances
  • Limited 20-Day Guarantee
  • Long term use may cause hair damage*
The Bottom Line

Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner is a highly concentrated salon product. Some of our Smarter Shoppers were less than satisfied after purchasing this product recommended by stylists, and many more were surprised to find such harsh chemicals in a brand named "Pureology." This shampoo and conditioner set was found effective when used sparingly, however some users also reported damage.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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Review

Wen Cleansing Conditioner

Total Ranking

608 votes

8.1/10

B-

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 7.9/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 8.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.5/10

  • Value
  • 8.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Return Policy
  • 7.6/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 8.4/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Smells Good*
  • Soft Hair*
  • Can help reduce dandruff*

CONS

  • Hair feels drier*
  • Difficult to use*
  • Requires large amount to clean hair*
  • Oily scalp*
  • Users reported hair Loss*
  • Pending class action lawsuit
The Bottom Line

Wen uses a five-in-one, formulated cleansing system replacing your shampoo, conditioner, detangler, and leave-in conditioner. Many of our Smarter Shoppers were satisfied with this product. Wen's Cleansing Conditioner contains a healthy amount of extracts and oils. However, in December 2015, hundreds of women reported severe hair loss  resulting in a class action lawsuit.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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Review

Tea Tree Special Shampoo and Conditioner

Total Ranking

560 votes

7.4/10

C

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 6.2/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 8.2/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.5/10

  • Value
  • 7.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Return Policy
  • 7.7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 7.8/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Cleans thoroughly*
  • Smells great*
  • Made in the U.S.A.

CONS

  • Contains harsh chemicals known to cause cancer (California State Proposition 65 Warning)
  • Dries out hair*
  • Users reported dry scalps and more dandruff*
The Bottom Line

Selected Review:

Many of our Smarter Shoppers were surprised about how harsh this shampoo and conditioner was on their hair. Many reported that their scalps felt dry and rashy. The product smells great and has a nice, tingling feeling, but it is full of chemicals. Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo has a Proposition 65 warning, meaning the chemicals used in the shampoo and conditioner are on the State of California's list of harmful chemicals that studies have shown to be associated with cancer.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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Review

Kerastase Nutritive Bain Satin 1 Shampoo

Total Ranking

827 votes

7.0/10

C-

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 7.5/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.5/10

  • Value
  • 7.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Return Policy
  • 6.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 7.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.3/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Cleans thoroughly*
  • Adds shine*

CONS

  • Contains sulfates and silicones
  • Uses synthetic colors and fragrances*
  • Felt harsh on scalp and hair*
  • Users report off-putting fragrance*
  • Shampoo has a Proposition 65 warning (known to cause cancer)
The Bottom Line

If you want a non-SLS, non-silicone product, Kerastase Nutritive Bain Satin 1 Shampoo is not for you. Our Smarter Shoppers thought this product cleaned and moisturized their hair decently. But there were many mixed reviews, with some people enjoying the smell and some people not liking it at all. If you tend to color-treat and/or thermal-style your hair you might need something with more moisturizing properties than Kerastase Nutritive Bain Satin 1 Shampoo has to offer.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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Citations

  1. Discover Health & Wealth. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <http://www.discoverhealthandwealth.com/toxic-ingredients.html>
  2. Young Ho, Ji, Min Ah Park, and Young Chul Kim. N.p., 26 Dec. 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <http://www.toxicolres.org/download/pdf/TOXICR_2014_v30n4_297.pdf>
  3. University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 14 Nov. 2013. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/alopecia>
  4. Think Healthiness. N.p., 1 Dec. 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <http://www.thinkhealthiness.com/tea-tree-oil-hair/>
  5. Becker, Lillian. N.p., 23 Sept. 2008. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <http://www.cir-safety.org/sites/default/files/115_buff3f_suppl.pdf>
  6. Mariaca, Katherine. LiveStrong. N.p., 23 Mar. 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/91378-benefits-grapefruit-essential-oil/>
  7. Akin, Leo. Progressive Health . N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <http://www.progressivehealth.com/hair-loss-horsetail.htm>
  8. Underwood, Corinna. LiveStrong. N.p., 29 Aug. 2013. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/271267-how-nettle-root-works-for-hair-loss/>
  9. Beer, Christina, Simon Wood, and Robert Veghte. The Scientific World Journal. N.p., 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/641723/>
  10. International Journal of Trichology. N.p., Jan. 2015. Web. 22 Jan. 2017. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4387693/>
  11. Darbre, P. D., Aljarrah, A., Miller, W. R., Coldham, N. G., Sauer, M. J. and Pope, G. S. (2004), J. Appl. Toxicol., 24: 5-13. doi: 10.1002/jat.958
  12. Pinola, A., Estlander, T., Jolanki, R., Tarvainen, K. and Kanerva, L. (1993). Contact Dermatitis, 29: 262-265. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.1993.tb03562.x
  13. Grollier, Jean F., and Claude Dubief. U.S. Patent No. 5,089,252. 18 Feb. 1992.
  14. Villamarin, Arturo A., and Mabel AS De Gomez. U.S. Patent No. 4,269,824. 26 May 1981.
  15. Zimba, N., S. Wren, and A. Stucki. International Journal of Aromatherapy 15.4 (2005): 177-182.
  16. Monfalouti, Hanae El, et al. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 62.12 (2010): 1669-1675.
  17. Athar, Mohammad, and Syed Mahmood Nasir. (2005).
  18. Cameron, D. M., et al. Toxicology in Vitro 27.8 (2013): 2203-2212.
  19. Tosti, Antonella, and John Gray. Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings. Vol. 12. No. 2. Nature Publishing Group, 2007.
  20. Aljarrah A, Miller W R, Coldham N G, Sauer M J, and Pope G S. Journal of Applied Toxicology. Vol 24, 2004, p. 5-13

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Authors

Tanya

As a former hair stylist with over 15 years of experience, Tanya knows hair and has tried thousands of products on all different hair types. She's passionate about educating consumers in making wise purchase decisions for long term hair health.

Tanya at tanya@smarter-reviews.com

Desiree

Desiree has been working in the beauty industry since 2005 as a licensed cosmetologist. She enjoys writing and engaging with readers in discussions on all aspects of beauty & lifestyle.

Desiree at desiree@smarter-reviews.com

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