View Full Version : Expensive Hair Care Products - Necessary?

March 22nd, 2008, 03:29 PM
I have had a hair product obession for forever. I've gone through a period where if it did not come from a salon or Health Food store I would not use it on my hair. Now I'm tired of bankrupting myself on all these expensive products, ojon, kerastase, aveda, aubrey, ect -I've used them all. Is there anyone out there who has been through this or is currently going through this. Is there really a difference between the expensive stuff and the major market supermarket brands like pantene or loreal? Its not just products that are the obession, I've made my hair my one remarkable feature that people do comment on, this sounds shallow but if its the expensive products that are the reason for the complements then don't know if I can give them up. Therapy may be cheaper.

March 22nd, 2008, 03:46 PM
Mary, I say that if the expensive products work for you, then use them. If you have gorgeous compliment worthy hair, then obviously they are good for your particular hairtype.

I discovered that when I started using Water Only, my hair never looked better. Then I started massaging essential oils into my scalp and got new growth and thickness. So for me I am a commercial product minimalist.

I do try new things but they never give me good results. I say stick with what works, if it makes you and your hair happy. Would I spend a fortune on expensive hair products if they made my hair gorgeous? You bet your butt I would.

March 22nd, 2008, 03:54 PM
Mary - I know what you mean. A slightly cheaper but still salon line is Jonathan, which I am a huge fan of - but only the Serious Volume line.

Organix, which you can get from walgreens, makes my hair GORGEOUS. I find it quite similiar to salon product.

March 22nd, 2008, 04:24 PM
No, expensive hair care products are absolutely not necessary for nice hair, long or otherwise.

March 22nd, 2008, 04:25 PM
Cheap products works very good for me.I love Dove and Loreal nutri gliss.Why not try vo5 or Suave?Enjoy the search:cheese:.I don't use as much expensive products as I used to.I just can't with five kids.I loved Kerastase and Redken.

March 22nd, 2008, 04:28 PM
I am also WO on my scalp, but use conditioner on the length, and it is a lot less frizzy. Alot of conditioners actually make my hair more frizzy. I ordered some Goth Rosary conditioner online, and it is pretty pricy but worth it to me. I am working on finding something cheaper but with the same ingredients. For me, it depends on the ingredients(I am a label reader), because there are so many ingredients that my hair hates.

March 22nd, 2008, 04:38 PM
I always look wistfully at the expensive products but then buy cheap like L'oreal Pro Vive (I love this product currently) or even cheaper VO5 conditioners. I have used very nice salon products and they can be wonderful but you don't really need them to have nice hair. Imagine if only wealthy people were able to grow healthy long hair!

March 22nd, 2008, 04:47 PM
Well, you'll find a lot of people here who don't use anything more than water and some $.99 drugstore items. But of course you'll never know unless you try.....and you won't bankrupt yourself experimenting with cheaper alternatives.

I use Chagrin Valley shampoo bars at $5 a bar which last me approx 1-2 months to wash my hair, and a giant bottle of Suave Humectress (Humectant knockoff) as my conditioner. Giovanni direct leave in, and coconut oil.

All in all, my monthly hair product cost is probably somewhere under $5, and I think my hair is great.

Although I do want to splurge on some Ojon product someday!

March 22nd, 2008, 04:47 PM
How do you think your hair looks and feels with salon versus cheapie products? Things work differently for everyone and we all have different expectations for our hair. Perhaps you could do an experiment where for maybe a month you use only cheapie products and for another month the expensive products?

I love the results I get with the Ojon stuff in the tub and with Aveda products. Yes there are good things you can get at drugstores and supermarkets. I use VO5 and WR for CO washing. I'm one who loves heavy conditioning and if I have to pay more yes I'll do it. You can also boost the power of a cheapie product by adding things to it such as making a SMT mix.

So I'd say not absolutely necessary for me but more fun and better smelling.

March 22nd, 2008, 04:51 PM
I think that, to some degree at least, expensive hair products are kind of a way of buying hair knowledge instead of actually learning about hair. The hair scientists at the salon companies formulate complicated things that will make up for a certain amount of incompetence on the user's part.

That's where LHC comes in. We study our hair ourselves, and learn about it, and learn how to use tricky substances. So if your hair is dry, instead of just buying some massively expensive salon treatment, you look up oiling, and how to do it without looking like an otter in an oilslick, and what oil is best for you, and spend a few hours doing an oil treatment. The expensive conditioner saves you time, in exchange for money. But if you have the time to look things up here, you can have as good or even better results with a six dollar jar of coconut oil!

March 22nd, 2008, 04:54 PM
No, it's not absolutely necessary to use expensive products to have nice hair, but if they're working for you, keep using them.

I personally have had success using both. For example, most of my staple shampoos can be purchased at the drugstore for less the $5. But then one of my favorite protein conditioners is $15 for 2.7 oz bottle. So just use what works for you.

March 22nd, 2008, 04:55 PM
I think it depends on what your hair likes. I tried Aubrey stuff and it was waaayyy to gunky for my hair. Actually I don't use much conditioner at all, since I leave my hair up all day I don't need oodles of cones for it so my natural sebum works for me. Unless the ends are dry them I use some EVOO.

March 22nd, 2008, 05:01 PM
It depends on your hair and routine...but probably not.

I'm also WO, with a white vinegar rinse. Pretty damned cheap.

March 22nd, 2008, 05:04 PM
Think about all the R&D the big drugstore brands are able to put into their products and you'll feel better:meditate:

March 22nd, 2008, 05:04 PM
I have never noticed any difference between the expensive and cheap products, they all made my hair look pretty much the same, and I have bought some pretty pricey stuff in my time. Actually, nothing ever worked on my hair until I stopped using shampoo altogether. Mary, it may be that you just have naturally beautiful hair! Why don't you just try using something less expensive as a test and see if you get the same results?

March 22nd, 2008, 05:44 PM
Expencive or not, the price dosen't really make a difference for my hair. I do tend to use cheap products since I rarely notice any difference and because I usually need a lot for my hair. Only a few products I use regulary are expensive and that is ofte speciality products like blonde shampoo to remove discolouration etc.

March 22nd, 2008, 07:13 PM
My hair doesn't like the expensive stuff. I was like that too... not using conditioners if they didn't cost me an arm and a leg. It's funny to think of how much I spent on my hair compared to how much I do now, and my hair looks a lot better now. I only really pay more for shampoos (and those cost 8$). My conditioners cost $2 each. Try the cheaper stuff and see how your hair likes it!

March 22nd, 2008, 08:04 PM
Here's an insightful article:

The Beauty Brains' take:

In short, many cosmetic companies will own multiple brands, and some of their stuff may sell as cheap as $5 for one brand, whereas their high end brand might sell for as much as $30. Yet the differences in formulas between their two brands? In some cases, non-existent.

March 22nd, 2008, 08:12 PM
I don't buy by price. Actually, thats incorrect. I do, but not in the way you do! I will not pay over $15 for shampoo or conditioner. There are plenty of cheap brands that do just as well as the pricey ones, if not better.

Currently the shampoo I'm using costs $6 and the condish $1 & $8 (I use two different kinds of condish.)

March 22nd, 2008, 08:15 PM
I think that it varies from head to head. If the cheaper stuff works, use it.

I'm pretty much WO on the scalp, and conditioner on the hair. My hair happens to be snobby, only behaving its best with double digit priced conditioners.

Hey, some people spend lots of money getting their nails done, or buying lots of hair toys. I spend it on conditioner. :)

March 22nd, 2008, 08:17 PM
Nope, price isn't the determining factor at all.

There's a range of product types at a range of prices, so if you know what works for you, (ordinary S&C routine, CO, CWC ... ) I'm confident that you can find something virtually identical for less money.

I've been using some of the Ellin Lavar line Textures, that's sold at the drugstore (CVS), and loving the results, after a LONG period of experimentation.

In fact, my success with this line came as something of a surprise, since I'd been rotating products in one way or another for such a long time. All I know is that once I started using this line, the rest of my stash started gathering dust.

I don't mean to say that this specific line is for everyone, but that once you find some products that work well enough that you lose the urge to experiment, you're probably on the right track.

If cost is an issue, read labels and figure out which ingredients work for you, and find some similar products with a smaller price tag. I'm confident you'll find SOMETHING, there are so many product lines out there competing for our money that copycats are quite common.

March 22nd, 2008, 08:19 PM
I say no. i wont pay anymore over 4 dollars for any item for my hair. if i see something calling for me thats more, i ask myself "is this trip really nessesary?" usually its not, and my hair is in better shape than its ever been.

March 22nd, 2008, 08:24 PM
ive gotten my best resusts with conditioner from the dollar store... ive tryed the expensive brands and none of them really worked well enough for the money... for cone free i say vo5 is the best... for cone filled i say garnier fructis is nice but it still doesnt work as good my dollar store conditioner (cone filled) pantine is overrated... i tryed it a few times and all i got from it was tangly lifeless dull hair.... i say if you are going for a supermarket brand and you are trying to ween yourself garnier fructis length and strength is a good choice.. it has camellia in it too... oh how my hair loves camellia oil!
as shampoos go i have to say that i love vo5... its cheap and great!

March 22nd, 2008, 08:31 PM
in my experince my hair likes Nexxus humctress the best it can be a bit pricey ($14 /bottle) compared to the 1$ VO5 condtioners. VO5 tends to leave my hair heavy feeling and a bit greasy looking, but that is also on my hair some ppl fine the Vo5 works the best for them.

March 22nd, 2008, 09:17 PM
I use natural shampoo with no harsh detergents, and it's about $8 a bottle, which is expensive, but I dilute it, so it lasts for ages.

My conditioner costs about $2, and it's the best I've ever used. I've tried more expensive stuff (before LHC), and nothing works as well as Pears for me.

Leave ins include coconut oil (maybe $4 for a big bottle) and aloe vera gel (maybe $6 again for a big bottle, and I use very little, so it goes a long way).

Deep treatments are composed of EVOO, honey, aloe, etc...stuff I'd have anyway.

Clarifying is baking soda and a vinegar rinse. Again stuff I'd have in my kitchen anyway.

LHC has taught me what actual ingredients my hair could use, so I can make them myself, rather than buying a commercial leave-in or deep treatment, which has lots of unnecessary filler.

-- Natalie

March 22nd, 2008, 09:19 PM
in my experince my hair likes Nexxus humctress the best it can be a bit pricey ($14 /bottle) compared to the 1$ VO5 condtioners. VO5 tends to leave my hair heavy feeling and a bit greasy looking, but that is also on my hair some ppl fine the Vo5 works the best for them.

Have you tried Suave's Humectant? It's supposed to be a knockoff of the Humectress.

I haven't used the Nexxus brand so I can't say really how they compare, but I know I find the huge $4 Suave bottle of Humectant just fine :)

March 22nd, 2008, 09:25 PM
I think that some products you need a better quality product and unfortunately expense sometimes does mean better quality. I really like both Aveda Damage and Kerastase Masques.

Shampoos on the other hand, I think you can get by with cheap. I have been using Suave and am very happy with it.

Styling products? I think a good Redken, Tigi or Rusk is fine. But I have also used a smoother that is relatively cheap.

I also like coconut oil, jojoba oil...

So I guess it just depends..

March 22nd, 2008, 09:27 PM
i am now and probably always will be a product junkie. but since joining LHC i have cut waaaaaay back on my expensive hair products mainly because everything i love has cones in it and i'm steering away from them at the moment. i actually gave my sister my favorite Aveda conditioner (the Deep Penetrating Hair Revitalizer) which has been discontinued. writing this now, i kind of can't believe i did that.

anyway, i've found that coconut oil, jojoba, and CO with a simple, inexpensive conditioner has made my hair feel better than it has in a very long time. i still use one expensive product (Biolage Conditioning Balm, which i use only for CWC) but i've found that the inexpensive products work just as well for regular use.

March 22nd, 2008, 09:33 PM
My favorite conditioners hands down are Suave and Vo5, which you can buy for a dollar or sometimes if you find it on clearance 50 cents.

Shampoo, on the other hand, is not something I am willing to go cheap with. Since cheap shampoo equals cheap, harsh detergents--the same detergents that are probably found in dish washing soap. So I buy "natural" brands of shampoo like Avalon or Jason and those cost 6-8 bucks a pop, but last forever since I use a) very little shampoo, and b) I dilute it. (I've had the same bottle of Avalon shampoo since July, and there's still a bit left).

March 22nd, 2008, 09:44 PM
I've always been interested in homemade products, and natural solutions to beauty or health issues.

If store-bought, I prefer it be as basic as possible and environmentally friendly. In the past, the appeal of manufactured is that it WAS full of heavy-duty stuff, marketed to a public that thought homemade meant old-fashioned.

Until recent years I found the expensive stuff was loaded with ingredients. Maybe it does work better, but I'm not tempted :)

On the flip side, my brother wouldn't DREAM of using a budget brand on his hair, and he's got the most beautiful hair of anyone I've met! :shrug:

March 22nd, 2008, 10:11 PM
I am one of those people that believe, you get what you pay for most of the time. If I want better quality, I have to pay for it. Because I am conscious of toxic ingredients in most Heath & Beauty Aide products these days, paying more for the natural brands (I use Aveda), are worth it for me (although I do not enjoy paying $28 for 8oz of my favorite shampoo from them).
For me, when I realized a $5 conditioner wasn't going to give me the results that Biolage or Joico was going to give me, thats when my hairs health took off. But I am not obsessive. I stick with whats works and will do simple home/natural mixes as well.

March 22nd, 2008, 10:18 PM
Have you tried Suave's Humectant? It's supposed to be a knockoff of the Humectress.

I haven't used the Nexxus brand so I can't say really how they compare, but I know I find the huge $4 Suave bottle of Humectant just fine :)

No , i didn't know Suave made any such product. I will have to look for it the next time i go to good ol' Walmart. Thanks for the heads up:)

March 22nd, 2008, 10:53 PM
No , i didn't know Suave made any such product. I will have to look for it the next time i go to good ol' Walmart. Thanks for the heads up:)

Keep the original Nexxus. The Suave Humectant is good, but nowhere near as good as the original.

March 22nd, 2008, 11:10 PM
I'm currently using Chagrin Valley shampoo bars 1-2 times a week (5$/bar which lasts forever, I'm currently using random samples to see what my hair likes) with only a light application of jojoba oil on the length as conditioner as needed. My hair is tailbone length.

March 23rd, 2008, 01:08 AM
My hair doesn't like any humectant or anything that says "moisturizing". So basically I just wash it with shampoo, no conditioner. If I use shampoo bars I use a vinegar rinse. That's about it. Definitely not expensive. :) I did try all sorts of stuff but nothing felt better than just pure clean hair to me. It really varies greatly from one person to the next.

March 23rd, 2008, 01:18 AM
Experiment and use what you find works best for you and your hair. Everyone is different and I doubt there's even two people here with the exact same hair routine, except those who go WO or NW/SO, and I think it varies even there.

March 23rd, 2008, 02:29 AM
Pre LHC, I used L'Oreal Pro Vive or Dove volumizing. Since LHC, I've used mostly VO5 for conditioners and tried various shampoos.

At this point, my hair is best with Giovanni 50-50 shampoo, which I can get from an online supplier for $4.64 a bottle, rather than the $8 it costs in Whole Paycheck. My alternate shampoo is Nexxus Therappe which cost $15 for a HUGE pump bottle, and I dilute whatever shampoo I'm using half and half with water.

The two best conditioners for my hair are Giovanni 50-50 or VO5 Tangerine Tickle. And no, no other VO5 gets the same results. I don't know why.

My leave ins, if I use them, are Fox's Leave In (homemade) or BWC direct leave in, or coconut or emu oil. These go only from shoulder down.

March 23rd, 2008, 02:45 AM
I have had good luck from both high end and low end lines.

As for what drugstore lines work well for me, Pantene conditioners and some of the L'oreal conditioners work fine. I like the Aussie Deeeep conditioner. Organix sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner is a wonderful drugstore line! Suave shampoo and conditioner is kind of hit or miss for me. Sally Beauty Supply has a ton of great cheap shampoo and conditioners. Since you are making the transition from high end to lower end you might want to start there since it might make the transition easier. :)

March 23rd, 2008, 03:55 AM
Like most said, you find something that works for you then stick to it. I tryed several different products, all made my hair fluffy and frizzy. I'm now using Naked Naturals shampoo and conditioner. It leaves my hair feeling clean, light and soft. I love it. I'm using my old products to shave my legs.

March 28th, 2008, 04:13 AM
Thank you for the tip! I tried Organix and love it!!

March 28th, 2008, 05:01 AM
Different people, different hair, different products.

I spent years experimenting with hair products and it turned out the ones that my hair loves happen to be expensive - a phyto shampoo and an aveda weekly treatment. However the second best is an own brand shampoo and conditioner that cost £1.29 together (they're always on buy one get one free) so if I'm feeling particularly poor my hair doesn't suffer that much.

My biggest revelation with hair products was to realise that regardless of what saloon people said my hair is dry, very very very dry and should be treated as such even if this means buy products that are generally not used by people with caucasian type hair.

March 28th, 2008, 06:05 AM
It all depends on what works for you.
The shampoo and conditioner I currently use (Trilogy (http://trilogyproducts.com/main.asp?pid=994&sec=994)) are the best I've ever tried, and the most expensive. But the main reasons I started using them are: botanical ingredients, no animal testing, supporting a local, environmentally-aware company.

March 28th, 2008, 06:53 AM
I really dont think the expensive products work any better. But sometimes I just like to buy myself a treat.

March 28th, 2008, 07:08 AM
I can't use the inexpensive products from the drugstore. I just can't. They make my scalp itch, they make my hair static-y and limp (great combo). I used Fructis for a while with some success, but long term it made my hair dry and stiff.

So, I use salon products--not the really expensive ones, but pricey enough. I only wash once a week or so, so it's not that much. And I never get my hair cut, bleached, permed, or styled at the salon, so I save money there.

I sometimes use shampoo bars and/or herbs and oils, and they are quite frugal. But I can't use VO5 or Suave.

I think everyone's hair is different. And frankly, the environments in which we live are different. I have very hard water, and I think that the more expensive brands are better at dealing with that. If I had soft water, I'd probably go WO; now that would be cheap!

March 28th, 2008, 07:28 AM
Are the expensive products necessary? - no absolutely not, IMO.

What is necessary is that any product agree with your hair and scalp (you can use different products on each) and that you like it.

If you find that an expensive product works better for you - by all means use it.

But there may well be alternatives out there that are less expensive and work just as well.

March 28th, 2008, 07:37 AM
I would say expensive products aren't necessary as a general rule. My hair seemed to be doing fine with 49 p Tesco shampoo, though I've gone off that as I've decided to go no-cone, and for some reason their 'poo contains dimethicone. That said, some people's hair really objects to cheap brands, in which case they do in fact get better results from salon brands. However, there is a large proportion of us who do fine with either, and you'll only know if you fall into that category if you try cheaper products. I would say that if you're worried about spending so much money to try a higher-end drug store brand with similar ingredients to what you currently use, and see what your hair thinks of it.

March 28th, 2008, 07:41 AM
In terms of the performance of products - no, people have reported expensive and cheap products work the same on their hair.

Do the expensive products contain better ingredients? - some do - some do not.

It comes down to what works for you.

April 15th, 2008, 06:23 PM
My mother loves buying those expensive products and so I've got a chance to try them out. Honestly until now the best conditioner I ever used was Loreal's Nature's Therapy Mega Moisture. It's not available in our country so I have to order it online with a lot of shipping charge but it's the best I could find and still is cheaper than salon products.

April 16th, 2008, 01:39 AM
OK, without reading what else has been said and assuming cheap product are popular here are my thoughts. I don't buy stuff from salons in my area but I do order Madora which is pricey. I also buy jessicurl which is $10 a bottle. Although all the products together my cost me $160 it lasts me a few years. I also sometimes use shampoo bars, CV, and maybe once every few months or so a cheap shampoo with sulfates watered down. But that's what works for me.

April 16th, 2008, 02:09 AM
No, expensive hair care products are absolutely not necessary for nice hair, long or otherwise.

Exactly. I use nothing but Suave conditioner for CO and my hair is much nicer than when I had enough money to buy expensive-ish hair stuff.

April 16th, 2008, 08:18 AM
For many years I've been a product junkie. Most of them were pricey (Aveda, Paul Mitchell, Redken).
At the end I had serious skalp problems, so I switched to non sulphate shampoos and natural products.
Now I'm totally happy, my hair has improved so much.
More money for new toys! :D