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View Full Version : Salon vs. drugstore products



aquadreamer
November 2nd, 2014, 07:27 PM
So I have been using mostly drugstore products on my hair, and a hairdresser said that salon products are much better for hair, apparently because they are more pH balanced and are gentler. However, I also hear people say that some drugstore products and higher end products are extremely similar (e.g. Kerastase and L'Oreal). I did some research and found that for some products, the first twenty or so ingredients are similar (but slightly out of order).

If you have tried both drugstore and salon hair products, could you please share your experience with them, and whether you think one is better than the other? Thank you! :)

kaydana
November 2nd, 2014, 07:42 PM
Salon products are better for hairdressers because they make money off them.

Never trust people who will profit from you taking their advice.

Rhoward
November 2nd, 2014, 09:18 PM
Until recently I've always used salon products I think I've tried almost every brand you can think of. Kerastase, Delorenzo, Loreal, Redken, Lush, you name it I've probably used it, and spent a small fortune on it too! About a week and a half ago I started using a supermarket/drug store brand and my hair has never looked better. Try some if you find one that agrees with your hair you'll save a fortune.

Avis
November 2nd, 2014, 09:58 PM
I agree with kaydana that hairdressers are more likely to push salon products because they profit from it and not necessarily because they're the best product. And never underestimate the quality of drugstore products, they can actually be really great. Unless you make your own blend of oils and herbs and stuff, most products will all have the same basic ingredients. I don't have much experience with salon quality products, but when Dove conditioners make my hair feel as great as it does, I don't really have the urge to try anything else.

goldenears
November 3rd, 2014, 02:22 AM
I only used salon products for years and in my honest opinion, I felt like most of them were drugstore formulas in fancy packaging with a higher price tag. I will say though, I do like Pureology which is a salon brand and I'm willing to pay extra for.

ghost
November 3rd, 2014, 02:32 AM
The only area I've really found it makes a difference is with hair color. Salon-quality color is a lot better for your hair than a box dye from the drug store, because you can choose the strength of developer that you use, instead of just using the box dye developer (typically pretty high-volume).
As for things like shampoo, conditioner and styling product, just be mindful of the results that you want and any ingredients that are important to you.

Angels+Eyeliner
November 3rd, 2014, 04:12 AM
As everyone else has said, your hairdresser has a lot to gain from you switching to their salon products.

They won't be 'gentler' because formulas (and needs) vary. I've known girls who would only use baby shampoo because it's gentle on their hair/scalp and girls who use horse shampoo because... well I can't remember why this girl was raving about it. It might well be gentler than some drugstore budget brand that is effectively a harsh detergent and some perfume BUT most shampoos aren't like that.

Fifty years ago, your stylist probably would have been right about salon products being 'better' than drugstore brands (but DIY are always tailored to suit the individual, so never believe that something that works for you is 'bad' because it's cheap). The thing is, a lot of the cheaper brands have benefitted from research done by high end brands that has filtered down, and I'd reckon that most salon brands have an equivalent on the market somewhere. There are only so many things that you can put in shampoo to make it work. Your salon brands might have conditioning formula, but you will strip that right out again when you rinse off so there's no point. Salons can jam as many cool sounding things into their products but at the end of the day, you wash your hair with it.

Unless you notice a real difference using salon brands, don't fork out for them. It might be worth getting a fancy conditioner, but don't worry about it being the one your stylist recommends.

Also, another quick tip. If you do find that your salon brand is 'the one' don't buy it from the salon itself. Look online, or in hair and beauty shops (especially professional stockists with bulk discount). Often the salons mark-up their already expensive products and make it seem like they are the only source, but you can often find stashes of it online for cheaper.

Verdandi
November 3rd, 2014, 05:08 AM
I've used saloon brands a lot before in my life, but also cheaper brands like Wella. I just never put that much thought in what ended up in my hair as long as it was a shampoo and a conditioner. Sure, some of them was better than others (Matrix Biolage was a favourite for years, and I still feel thankful everytime I see a bottle, it saved child-me from having to cut my hair off since I hated brushing so much and had terrible tangles with other brands), but a little ingredients research goes a long way. I kinda know which key ingredients do what in my hair, so I look at labels rather than price tag. And I prefer the drugstore/supermarket products because the ingredients list is sooo much shorter ;) (and I'm a broke student...)

Sometimes I splurge on something, but mostly I buy my $5 bottles and be happy about it. My shampoo is slightly more expensive (Desert Essence Lemon Tea tree, about $20 here in Sweden), but I haven't found one that good anywhere else and I've had the same bottle for a year, so I can live with that. Sure, I love Matrix Biolage and John Masters Organics, but I do great without them, and my hair certainly don't care :)

Also, WHEN I buy expensive saloon stuff, I do it online, at discount sites or Ebay after rigorous googling. I've found stuff at half the price sometimes. (and almost double, that was hilarious since it was my cheap supermarket brand deep conditioner on a kind of high end beauty site...).

clioariane
November 3rd, 2014, 07:18 AM
I love salon brands like Kérastase, Bumble & Bumble, etc. but I've also had good results with drugstore products like L'Oréal and John Frieda. I think both are fine, just find out what you like and what fits in your budget :)

sofo
November 3rd, 2014, 07:39 AM
I do think salon products are better for me. I buy them online though. My scalp is a lot better when I use salon products, it doesn't itch and flake. I have checked the ingredients on products I have trouble with and those that work for me, without being able to find any suspicious ingredient. I think it might be that the salon schampo is easier to rinse out properly.

sarahthegemini
November 3rd, 2014, 09:57 AM
Salon products are not by definition gentler and ph balanced. Salon products are just the same cheap stuff in different packaging.

muddblood21
November 3rd, 2014, 10:22 AM
My experience has been that a lot of drugstore brands are ok, but some are just plain awful. I had an unfortunate extra heavy shed this year due to Pantene. However, just like everything else in this life, we are all individuals and some are lucky enough to be able to use any shampoo with no problems. I love salon brands, but I would never pay what they are priced in a salon. I like to hit up places like TJMAXX and Ross to get the good stuff at a much more budget friendly price. I have been known to fall for a bottle at Walmart just as easily though...as long as it is not Pantene lol

Panth
November 3rd, 2014, 12:29 PM
They are no more gentle and no more pH balanced (or, indeed, better for any other reason). They're just in fancy packaging, with a price tag. Oh, and probably a commission to the stylist if she sells enough...

You'd be much better off if you educated yourself about ingredients (this blog (http://www.thenaturalhavenbloom.com/), though targeted at curly hair, is an absolute treasure trove of reliable, unbiased, scientific information about ingredients and products that will benefit anyone of any hairtype). Once you understand what ingredients do what, you will be able to understand what your hair likes and why, and thus be better able to chose the right products for you (and, indeed, chose more cost-effective products based on science and reasoning rather than hype and marketing).

blue_eyes
November 3rd, 2014, 01:00 PM
The only salon products that have ever amazed me were Redken's Extreme Strength Builder Plus hair mask & their Anti Snap leave-in (from the same product line). Both products worked like magic and were suggested to me by a Redken salon. So yes I think stylists have their own motives, but in that case it worked out for me.

I've also used a bunch of high end and low end shampoos & conditioners, and they all got the job done for the most part, but nothing made an impression (except for how much my hair hated Lush's products). I'd rather save money on shampoo & conditioner and splurge on the things I really love, like the Redken mask. :P

Johannah
November 3rd, 2014, 01:10 PM
I tried both and I like drugstore products more.

BarretoSupreme
November 3rd, 2014, 01:37 PM
I loved salon products until I started trending towards more natural/organic beauty products. What you use on your hair is up to you, but what most have said about salon and drugstore products being the same is mostly true. There are definitely some that are worse than others, you just have to educate yourself on ingredients and read the labels to find the best bang for your buck.

HintOfMint
November 3rd, 2014, 04:49 PM
Above a certain price point (I don't think V05 or Suave are good formulations, and the conditioners especially need to be used with a heavy hand to work), I think salon and drugstore brands are more or less the same. However, I'm only thinking of shampoo and conditioner. Things like hair color, and various styling products... I'm not so sure. I don't use enough of them and I don't experiment enough with them to really have an educated opinion.

pocketsmall
November 3rd, 2014, 04:55 PM
Pureology is the only salon brand I think is worth the price (I only wash once a week and I have very fine/thin hair so a tiny bottle literally lasts me at least 6 months). I also like the old Alterna products from like 5+ years ago.

ErinLeigh
November 3rd, 2014, 10:34 PM
The only salon products that have ever amazed me were Redken's Extreme Strength Builder Plus hair mask & their Anti Snap leave-in (from the same product line). Both products worked like magic and were suggested to me by a Redken salon. So yes I think stylists have their own motives, but in that case it worked out for me.

I've also used a bunch of high end and low end shampoos & conditioners, and they all got the job done for the most part, but nothing made an impression (except for how much my hair hated Lush's products). I'd rather save money on shampoo & conditioner and splurge on the things I really love, like the Redken mask. :P

I feel the same way. I am fine with drugstore products. Never saw much difference between salon and drugstore except for one product...Redken Extreme Builder Plus.
It is the most amazing mask for damaged hair I have ever used.

ZeppHead
November 4th, 2014, 07:34 AM
Ive only tried biolage and honestly I loved that stuff when my hair was damaged. I saw a huge improvement in health and texture when I was using it. When I stopped working I went back to using garnier fructis and this is my holy grail! Now that my hair is very healthy I can get away with drugstore brands but when my hair was heat and chemically damaged biolage shampoo conditioner and leave in was my best friend. I recently tried the leave in and hated it. I think my hair just didn't need all the protein in it anymore....I'm not complaining that stuff was 25 dollars!

hexomega
November 10th, 2014, 09:13 PM
Agree with those above mentioning Biolage and Pureology. I like those more than 90% of what's on the drug sore shelf, but I'm certain there's a brand somewhere that's just as good for cheaper. Haven't found it yet, but my mind is open. One of the salon brands I tried in the past actually caused some pretty severe shedding which made my hair feel half as thick in only a couple months of use.

renia22
November 12th, 2014, 01:07 PM
There was a similar thread I read where this topic was brought up, and someone mentioned a study that was done to see if a conclusion could be drawn based on blind testing of products. I'm sorry I don't have a link to the study, but basically consumers were given unmarked, unidentifiable bottles of shampoo & conditioner and had to rate them simply based on performance, not having a clue what they were using. This study apparently wasn't funded by any particular company trying to sway consumers towards a particular brand. Again, I don't have specific details, but 3 drugstore brands came out on top, and a couple of salon products rated as the worst. It makes you wonder if you knew absolutely nothing about what you were using and simply had to go by performance, what the opinion would be.

With that said, I'm one of those people who has tried everything including high end, drugstore, natural/ organic, handmade, obscure brands, you name it. If I had to pick one brand that I can say I use from start to finish and it doesn't start doing weird things to my hair part way through (dryness; build up), doesn't end up under the sink, or where the shampoo ends being used up as a body wash, conditioner as shave cream, I'd have to pick Clairol Herbal Essences (drama clean, body envy, tousle me softly, smooth collection). I also really like Paul Mitchell shampoo 2 and kiehl's silk groom serum. I do agree with HintofMint that it's after a certain price point that you can start comparing quality, I also have found that the cheapest of the cheap brands aren't as good and have had absolutely no success with any of them (shampoos with the texture of liquidy jello & watery conditioners)

blue_eyes
November 12th, 2014, 01:18 PM
I feel the same way. I am fine with drugstore products. Never saw much difference between salon and drugstore except for one product...Redken Extreme Builder Plus.
It is the most amazing mask for damaged hair I have ever used.

EinLeigh you're the only other person on the forum I've seen mention using this mask. Isn't it wonderful?! I can't rave about it enough! :)

bunzfan
November 12th, 2014, 01:54 PM
I worked in salons years ago and I have to say found there products to be far far better in quality which meant you didn't need to use as much, thanks for reminding me about biolage must hunt that out.

Two weeks ago I discovered the redken treatment range and got the hair treatment butter and my hair is transformed so I must check out the other one you are all mentioning . back in the day kms and Sebastian.

vivianne
November 12th, 2014, 02:06 PM
I often used salon products before i found the german longhaircommunity. Since than i changed completely to light organic products which are available in our organic stores or in drugstores. I think my hairstructure changed - i have 1b hair, before i thougt it was a 1a structure.
It makes me feel good and comfortable - so i hold on using this new products. For my it also obvious that my earlier salon products could cover hair damage better. This ist impossible with the organic stuff for me. But i think the damaged hair belongs to me and my hairbleaching experiences. So - i let grow the unbleached hair and can see: organic products are enough!