Vlog­ger Kim­may­tube pro­posed a buffer­ing method to com­bat the dry or rough feel­ing that you may get when you sham­poo. The basic prin­ci­ple is that you wet and sham­poo your hair as nor­mal and then apply a small amount of con­di­tion­er to hair before rins­ing off the sham­poo com­plete­ly. This method is designed to allow hair to feel mois­turised and soft imme­di­ate­ly after sham­poo­ing. Some nat­u­rals love this method while oth­ers can­not stand it, so, is the buffer­ing method a good idea or a bad idea?

Short answer
Yes and no. Some very mild sham­poos as well as some good cleans­ing clar­i­fy­ing sham­poos will pose no prob­lems but in gen­er­al lay­er­ing a con­di­tion­er over a sham­poo can lead to build up (J Soc Cos­met Chem, pp 263–278,1993).

Long answer

1. Oppo­sites attract — Sham­poo and Con­di­tion­er have dif­fer­ent charges.
Sham­poo in gen­er­al is neg­a­tive­ly charged while con­di­tion­er is pos­i­tive­ly charged. If you can cast your mind back to your physics lessons, you may recall that oppo­sites attract. There­fore if you wash your hair with the neg­a­tive­ly charged sham­poo and instead of rins­ing it off, you apply a pos­i­tive­ly charged con­di­tion­er, you end up trap­ping a mix of sham­poo and con­di­tion­er on your hair.

2. So what if you get a mix of sham­poo and con­di­tion­er, you can rinse it off, right?
Actu­al­ly wrong. Con­di­tion­er is designed to deposit a lit­tle bit on hair specif­i­cal­ly tar­get­ing flaws such as cracks or holes in the cuti­cles. This tem­porar­i­ly repairs the hair, makes it soft and smoothes the cuti­cle down. How­ev­er, the mixed up sham­poo and con­di­tion­er is actu­al­ly much more dif­fi­cult to rinse off and unlike con­di­tion­er alone which tar­gets flaws in the hair, it will pret­ty much form as build up all over the hair and scalp. This build up can some­times be vis­i­ble to the eye as white flakes on the scalp after rins­ing (did you ever won­der what that was?)

3. How come it works for some nat­u­rals?
Sci­ence is a lit­tle more com­pli­cat­ed than just neg­a­tive sham­poo will attract a pos­i­tive con­di­tion­er to cre­ate build up. Some very mild sham­poos have very lit­tle neg­a­tive charge and some mild con­di­tion­ers have very lit­tle pos­i­tive charge which makes them able to be rinsed off with­out cre­at­ing build up even if you do lay­er one on top of the oth­er. Equal­ly clar­i­fy­ing sham­poos with a very strong neg­a­tive charge wash off eas­i­ly even when pos­i­tive con­di­tion­er is lay­ered on top.

4. How do I know if my sham­poo and con­di­tion­er will mix to cre­ate build up or not?
It is tru­ly an exper­i­ment, it may or it may not. You (or I) can­not tell from look­ing at the ingre­di­ents, it will be a case of tri­al and error.

5. Is there any oth­er way to get rid of the dry, rough feel of the sham­poo?
My best advice would be that you should not wor­ry too much about the feel of your hair imme­di­ate­ly after a sham­poo. Sham­poo does remove oil and does slight­ly lift the cuti­cle of hair cre­at­ing a slight­ly rough and dry feel­ing. Hair con­di­tion­er is designed to fix that and it works best once you have rinsed off the sham­poo com­plete­ly. It is bet­ter able to bind, find and fix any flaws in your hair’s cuti­cle. By all means, do rush to apply a con­di­tion­er after rins­ing sham­poo from your hair and do avoid han­dling or comb­ing your hair while it only has sham­poo. Final­ly, do exper­i­ment, not all sham­poos will give you a dry, rough feel­ing, although those that do may be good for when you want to clar­i­fy your hair, so make a note of them too.

Ladies, have you tried the buffer­ing method? How did it work? 

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20 Comments on "Buffering Shampoo with Conditioner — Bad or Good Idea?"

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Recent­ly I’ve had exten­tions in my hairand after see­ing won­der­ful reviews on this sham­poo on the Brazil­ian hair I Istalled I decid­ed to try it. While it worked won­der­ful­ly on that hair it didn’t do to well on my nat­ur­al hair. My hair already doesn’t like sham­poo, even sul­fate free sham­poo, it usu­al­ly drys my hair out and this shampoo/slash con­di­tion­er has sul­fate in it and it was even worse. I stopped using it imme­di­ate­ly.


Your sto­ry was real­ly infi­amr­tove, thanks!

The Mane Captain

what about 2in1 sham­poos? I guess they will have the same effect. I would some­times add a bit of con­di­tion­er and oil to my sul­phate sham­poo. Of course I use sul­phate free or reduced sul­phates so i don’t need to wor­ry about this


I remem­ber see­ing this video but it made no sense to me so this was one tip that I dis­re­gard­ed.

What is the log­ic behind two in one shampoo/conditioners JC? Are they like cleans­ing con­di­tion­ers?


I’m sure kim­my said she stopped doing this ages ago


nev­er tried this. don’t think i will.


If some­one feels the need to add con­di­tion­er to their sham­poo, then their sham­poo is too strong for their hair and they should con­sid­er using a milder sham­poo or a dif­fer­ent brand. Sham­poo has a spe­cif­ic pur­pose — to cleanse the hair; as does con­di­tion­er. Clar­i­fy­ing and sul­fate sham­poos should be used spar­ing­ly if some­one has a prob­lem with stripped hair after sham­poo­ing.


I wouldn’t try this. I’d much rather pre-poo with an oil to so it can act as bar­ri­er against the sham­poo.


Free knowl­edge like this doesn’t just help, it pro­mote deamor­c­cy. Thank you.


Deep con­di­tion­ing can be left on all day as opposed to shampoo.Either way rins­ing is required. Here’s one of my favs.…..

Ariel a.k.a. Luvnsider
Ariel a.k.a. Luvnsider

I detan­gle using a oil and then I put a mix of con­di­tion­er and sham­poo togeth­er and it real­ly does my hair right!!
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Hair is pret­ty, but you’d look just as pret­ty with­out the nose ring.


The lat­ter was unnec­es­sary and unwar­rant­ed.


I just mix oils with my sham­poo then lather…helps alot. Pre-poo­ing did noth­ing for me and my hair felt weird when I did this con­di­tion­er buffer­ing tech­nique.

What? I have nev­er of this! smh! When I was ques­tion­ing the Co-Wash Meth­ods I did do the Con­di­tion­er-sham­poo-con­di­tion­er thingy. But not this! This is what works for me; water down your sham­poo if it’s too strong. Kind of like when you wash your dish­es. One doesn’t put dish wash­ing liq­uid on every dish and spoon. You fill the sink up with soapy water right? Well I do! I am doing the same thing with my sham­poo and it works just fine and it saves mon­ey and prod­ucts. Just get a appli­ca­tor bot­tle and put a table­spoon of sham­poo and fill… Read more »

I also add a lit­tle jojo­ba oil to my sham­poo water.


Some sham­poos don’t give me that rough feel­ing but I mix my (sul­fate) sham­poo with oils, this has worked fine for me and cleans well (still need to con­di­tion though) so prob­a­bly will not need to do this.

I was doing this for a while and it was ok. I stopped because it was­nt mind blow­ing enough for me to keep doing it. I agree with two things you stat­ed though, not wor­ry­ing about that stripped feel­ing after sham­poo­ing and exper­i­ment­ing with diffrent sham­poos until you find a good one. At the begin­ning of this year I went back to sul­fate sham­poo because even though I avoid­ed sil­i­cone and such sul­fate free sham­poo didn’t remove all that it should of. Plus I think the rea­son why my hair react­ed bad­ly to sul­fates was because I was wash­ing too… Read more »

At last! Some­thing clear I can under­stand. Thanks!


I total­ly agree with you. I have had my sierlt­socks for almost 12 months. I stop using the sis­ter­lock sham­poo after 2 months. It did not clean my hair prop­er­ly. I use Dr Bronner’s pep­per­mint sham­poo and Ave­da rose­mary mint and I have had no prob­lems. I feel like as long as you band and braid and use sham­poos with no oils or mois­tur­iz­ing agents, you will be fine.BTW, your locs look beau­ti­ful Saman­tha!