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Drugstore Hair Care vs. Salon Quality Hair Care

January, 30, 2023

Photo: Curly/Textured aisle at Target.

When it comes to hair care, it can be quite overwhelming to find the right products that will give you the best results while maintaining your hairs’ health. We all have different hair types which can require specific needs to maintain healthy tresses. In this article we will discuss how to find the best hair care products based on quality and your hair care needs. Keep reading to find out about the hair care products you should avoid as well as hair care products you should have in your wash day routine to get the best results.

Drugstore vs. Salon Quality: Is it a big deal?

The short answer to this question is “no”. However, in my experience I have gotten the best results from salon quality products compared to drugstore brands that I have used.  Although salon quality is my go to option for hair care, there are several brands that I trust that are not considered salon quality.  Some of these brands can be found in Walmart, Target or your local beauty supply store which I will discuss later in this post.  In order to reap the true benefits of a product, you must do research about the brand as well as the ingredients used to formulate the product. 

As a professional hairstylist, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best high-end hair care brands in the beauty industry. Using salon quality hair care products helped me realize that there is more to hair care than what is advertised in the media.  It also prompted me to take a closer look at the ingredients that make up these products to have a better understanding on how to choose the right products for my clients as well as for my own personal use.

So is it better to buy drugstore or salon quality hair care products? 

This will depend on the quality of the ingredients used to formulate the products. Most of us choose drugstore products over salon quality products based on convenience and affordability. However, going the cheap route may cause you more problems rather than benefiting you in the long run. When you invest in high quality products, you avoid potential damage to your hair and you will achieve better results which will improve the overall health of your hair.

Although drugstore products may seem like the best option when you are on a budget, not all are beneficial or worth having in your hair care regimen. The majority of drugstore products are watered down which forces you to keep buying the product. They also contain ingredients that can cause damage to your hair over time, such as harsh sulfates and silicones. That is why it is best to do research and learn more about the ingredients you are putting in your hair before committing to a specific brand.

Be mindful that hair care products that are heavily advertised may not always be what they seem. Brands that are advertised on TV, YouTube and social media will attempt to gaslight you by claiming results that are not scientifically possible, such as promising rapid hair growth or making claims about repairing split ends. You may even see your favorite celebrity or beauty influencer raving about certain brands that may not be beneficial for your hair, but don’t fall for the hype.

Although it may be tempting to purchase these products, the claims that these companies are making are just marketing schemes used to sell more products to consumers. Without the proper knowledge of hair care and science, you may be buying into their false advertising. But don’t panic, after reading this article you will be able to make better decisions when it comes to your hair care choices.

How do I know what hair care products/brands to choose for my hair type?

The best way to choose hair care products that will benefit your hair is to learn what your hair needs to thrive and do your own research. Sometimes it is best to be more informed about hair care than to blindly choose products that may not be beneficial to your hair health. Knowing all you can about a product before purchasing it will ensure that you are reaping all of the benefits of the product. 

Hair requires several elements to help it grow and prevent hair damage to maintain its optimal health. When choosing a hair care product, do research and review the ingredients list to ensure that the product includes healthy ingredients that are safe and beneficial to your hair. The key ingredients to look for in a product are water (aqua), protein, plants/herbs, essential oils and carrier oils. Hair care products that contain plant based ingredients will usually be free of harmful chemicals that may cause long term damage to your hair and body.  But don’t let the ingredients confuse you.  Focus on the most important ingredients that your hair requires to maintain its health.

Some ingredients you may want to avoid include parabens, non-soluble silicones such as dimethicone, phthalates, and sulfates. Improper use of these products can cause scalp issues or dry hair that can eventually lead to hair breakage. However, if you choose to use these types of products in your hair regimen, be mindful of their purpose and the potential risks you may face by using these products.

Side note: Although sulfates have a bad rep for stripping the hair of its natural oils, there is no evidence that suggests that it is harmful to use. However, excessive use of sulfate shampoos can cause dry scalp and hair, so it is best to use them in moderation when you need a deep cleanse to remove excess oil, product build up, and dirt from your hair.

When all else fails, ask a professional. You may be reluctant to visit a salon due to past experiences but don’t let a bad salon experience hinder you from seeking help when you have questions or concerns about your hair. Most salon professionals in the beauty industry are equipped with the knowledge and experience to help you choose the best products to create a regimen for your hair type or condition. 

Search your area for highly recommended salon professionals that specialize in hair care. Read reviews from clients to see whether or not the hairstylist is professional and is an expert in hair care in regards to your hair type. Reading about other clients’ experiences will help you have a better understanding of how the hairstylist is treating their clients and whether or not they are empathetic to their clients hair care needs. Focus on the hairstylists experience and not the hype that may surround their name or brand.

In addition, consulting with a professional will help you understand your hair type better and what your hair needs. Your hairstylist will be able to closely examine your hair and scalp to determine the right products and regimen that will help you maintain your hair at home in between salon visits. Going this route will ensure that you are taking advantage of all your options regarding your hair health to make caring for your hair less stressful.

Hair Care Products: Brands to avoid and brands that are highly recommended by a salon professional

Now that you know the basics on how to choose the best products for your hair, I will list some of the haircare brands that you may want to avoid as well as the brands that I highly recommend to maintain a healthy hair care regimen. These are products that I have tested and have done research on to give you plenty of options to choose from.

Hair care brands to avoid

  • Pantene Pro-V
  • Cantu
  • VO5
  • Suave
  • Dove
  • Aussie
  • Garnier Fructis
  • Tresemme
  • Head & Shoulders
  • Herbal Essence
  • Mane n’ Tail

Note: Although these brands are inexpensive and may seem like they are helping you achieve your hair goals, they may contain harsh sulfates that strip the hair of its natural oils which can cause dry hair and scalp over time.  These products may also be diluted (hence why you may have to repurchase often) and contain fillers that can cause a waxy buildup on the hair.

Highly recommended hair care brands

  • Design Essentials
  • Joico
  • Nexxus
  • Redken
  • Paul Mitchell
  • Mizani
  • Alikay Naturals
  • Taliah Waajid
  • Moroccanoil
  • Pattern Beauty
  • The Doux
  • Aunt Jackie’s
  • Eden Bodyworks

Note: Some of these products are salon quality brands that are formulated with high quality ingredients that are safe for any hair type. They are also highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way, allowing you to get the best bang for your buck. They can be found at your local beauty supply store, Walmart, Target, TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshall’s, and on Amazon. You may be able to purchase products from your hairstylist as well. 

Caring for your hair can be frustrating at times but if you use the advice included in this article, it will help you choose the right products for your hair care needs that will truly improve your hair health. In addition, it will save you time and help you avoid the frustration that may arise when deciding on what is best for your hair.

Thank you for reading! On behalf of Zuri’s Dream, please enjoy this coupon. Use code DREAMHAIR10 at checkout to get 10% OFF your next purchase! 

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