Do you always need to use conditioner?

Mirror Talkers study by Denise Baden, Professor of Sustainable Business from the University of Southampton

in collaboration with Eco Hair and Beauty and Green Salon Collective // funding from UK Research and Innovation // support from L'Oréal, Wella and Toni & Guy // research assistance from Stephanie Hodgson


ECO TIP 5: Do you always need to use conditioner?

The answer is, it depends.  

Research at the University of Southampton asked those who normally use conditioner to try going without and report back on progress. 40% said it made no difference, 30% said their hair was less oily and didn’t need shampooing again so quickly and 30% said it was worse (too dry). So there is a 70% chance you don’t really need it.

Read on for:

  • Health and beauty tips
  • Money saving tips
  • Eco savings and tips
  • Bonus tips
  • ...and more!


Little research has been done on the effects of reducing or eliminating conditioner use but we have compiled the following experiences:

  • --- Some find it reduces the need to wash so often.
    --- Some find it makes hair easier to style as it is less greasy/lank.
    ---Some find their hair looks better.

Based on those and the university research mentioned above, we think it's worth trying out and seeing for yourself if it improves your hair (or not!). 

Share your experiences in the Mini Forum below.


Not buying something you don't need is an obvious financial win. The proof is in the pudding: try reducing or eliminating conditioner (for however long you dare) and see whether you miss it or not.

Conditioner also contains water but that’s a fraction of the cost of the water used in rinsing it off. Not conditioning can reduce your shower time by as little as two minutes but this can have a serious effect on your bills. 

To put that into perspective: if you showered for two minutes less each day, you could save up to £16 per year per person on your energy bills and up to £22 on your water and sewage bills.

Go to Energy Savings Trust to learn more. 


We mentioned how not using conditioner can save on water and energy bills which of course translates to less water usage and less emissions. So that's a start.

The conditioner that you didn't buy also contains water and was produced using plenty of energy. So that's also a consideration.

Also not buying a product you don't need means you're not unnecessarily contributing to plastic pollution since most conditioners come in plastic bottles.


1: Using less conditioner and also conditioning less often is another way to 'save'.

2: Leave-in conditioner may be a better product for you and requires less water and energy to use. An added bonus is that it can give body to fine hair and some people even find it makes hair easier to style


Some people swear by going without conditioner at all and others have substituted it for leave-in conditioner.  We are all different and also what works with our hair changes as we get older. But it’s true that hair does adjust over time and so it's important to experiment a bit to see what is right for you. 

If you try conditioning less or use leave-in conditioner – please let us know how it went - we’d love to hear your experiences