What Is the Difference Between Shampoo and Hair Cleanser?

What is the difference between shampoo and hair cleanser? This is a difficult question for anyone who wants to choose a hair care product for their hair. Although both shampoo and hair cleansers have the same end goal, they still contain different ingredients and uses that you may not know.

In this article, Clairoliviawayman will help you distinguish between shampoo and hair cleanser to use them in the right way. 


What Is the Difference Between Shampoo and Hair Cleanser?

Both shampoo and hair cleansers are good hair care products because they can help enhance your hair’s appearance and health. In this article, I will analyze the two of them in detail so that you can choose a suitable one for your hair care routine.


The shampoo is used to eliminate the scalp of sebum and prevent folliculitis and seborrheic dermatitis from developing. Shampoo can remove sebum, desquamated stratum corneum, styling products, sweat components, and environmental dirt on your hair.


Shampoos are liquid cleansers that are formulated to achieve the cleansing ability given the condition of the hair. You can read the main ingredients in this list below.

  • Detergents – Removing environment dirt, sebum, styling products, and skin scales from the hair
  • Foaming agents – Forming suds
  • Conditioners – Leaving the hair soft and smooth 
  • Sequestering agents – Preventing soap scum from forming on the hair and scalp 
  • Fragrances – Giving a scent in shampoo
  • Preservatives – Preventing bacteria and microbial contamination of the shampoo before and after opening
  • Specialty additives – Bringing other benefits to the shampoo, apart from hair and scalp cleansing


In the market, there are eight types of shampoo that you need to know in order to find a suitable one for you. 

  • Normal hair shampoo
  • Dry hair and damaged hair shampoo
  • Everyday shampoo
  • Oily hair shampoo
  • Baby shampoo
  • Deep cleaning shampoo
  • Medicated shampoo
  • Professional shampoo

Hair Cleanser

Like shampoo, a hair cleanser is used to take care of and clean your hair. This hair care product is ideal for dry hair, color-treated strands, or damaged hair. Besides, its recipe is simpler than shampoo’s, so you can make hair cleanser at home with natural ingredients.


There are some basic natural ingredients in a hair cleanser that you may need to know.

  • Baking soda – Eliminate dirt, sebum, and skin scales from the hair
  • Apple cider vinegar – Using as a toner for hair
  • Clay – Moisturising and cleansing your hair
  • Water – Cleaning some of the build-ups on your hair


Unlike shampoo, hair cleansers only include two basic types.

  • Natural hair cleanser – Do not contain any chemicals or detergents
  • Non-natural hair cleanser – Fragrances and specialty additives included to give your hair a wonderful scent and improve the cleaning capacity.

Read: How Does Shampoo Work? – Simple But Magical

Which Is Better For Your Hair?

Shampoos come with the great effective cleaning that can eliminate all dirt, sebum, skin scales from hair and scalp. However, some ingredients in shampoo may cause allergies to your skin and eliminate your hair’s natural oil, so shampoo is not useful for sensitive scalp.

Therefore, if you want to have healthy hair, the best option will be hair cleansers because hair cleansers often contain natural ingredients to protect natural oil on your hair. 

Plus, the cleansers can help you nourish your dry and damaged hair. Using hair cleansers is well-suited for those who often dye and bleach hair to take care of and improve their hair condition. 

Although their cleaning effectiveness is not as good as shampoo, you can improve this by combining them with some suitable hair conditioners when washing your hair.

The Bottom Line

To sum up, choosing a shampoo or a hair cleanser is up to your needs and hair condition. You can choose a shampoo to clean your hair quickly and effectively, or a hair cleanser for good hair care to your thin, curly hair.

I hope you now can make your own decision for hair care products after reading this post about “what is the difference between shampoo and hair cleanser?”.

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