Salon vs. Drugstore Products: Does it Matter?

Kyle RichardsonAustin, Hair, Product Spotlight, Specials, Springfield

You’re in the shower, about to lather up your hair when you realize you’re out of shampoo. Tomorrow you plan to head over to your local drugstore or even the grocery store to restock your supply. Chances are you’ll buy the same brand of shampoo you just ran out of or maybe the bottle that’s on sale that week, and it will get the job done. You’ll be left with fruity smelling, clean hair.

Drugstore products do what they say they will, so why spend double, sometimes triple the money on expensive salon products? The short answer is because they’re better for your hair, but you might just be surprised to find out that these products can actually cost less in the long run.


The products we find at stores like Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart are appealing for many reasons. Beyond affordability, they are easily accessible, usually come in a variety of colors, and a multitude of delectable scents. Have you ever thought about why there is such a price gap between drugstore and salon products? While most contain the same or similar ingredients as salon products, they are diluted, and you don’t get all of the benefits.

What are the products diluted with you may ask? Usually, chemicals, fillers, and water. These ingredients do nothing for the health of your hair. Instead, they could actually be damaging your hair. Sulfates are a particular chemical that many of us have heard of. This is what causes your shampoo to really lather up and produce suds, which in turn makes us feel like we’re getting a really good clean. Unfortanelty, sulfates can strip out color and result in dry hair.

Say you’ve just gotten your hair colored, you most likely spent, at minimum, $70 on your service. Does it make sense to use a $5 bottle of shampoo on your new color? No. You’ve invested money in coloring your hair, you should invest money in keeping that color as vibrant as it was when you walked out of the salon.

We see the “salon products” on the shelf at Target or Walmart, but are they really salon approved? Unfortunately, most of the time these products are over processed and diluted. They will be cheaper than their salon approved twins, but much less effective.


“Invest in your hair, it’s the crown you never take off.”



Why buy products from the salon? Oh, let me count the ways! First and foremost, the ingredients. Salon products use highly concentrated, high-quality ingredients that nourish and hydrate your hair. When looking at the ingredients on the back of your shampoo, you’ll see that there’s not a huge difference between the salon and drugstore product. The best way to explain this is to equate shampoos to cooking oils. The salon products are the extra virgin olive oil, the unprocessed batch, the best of the best. The drugstore products are comparable to your vegetable or canola oil, the lower quality processed version. It’s still oil, it’s just lower quality.

Yes, salon products cost more, but you need to use less product. How many of you actually use the dime sized amount that is recommended by your shampoo bottle? Chances are you fill your palm with shampoo and lather up. However, with highly concentrated products you really only need that dime sized amount. In my own experience, a bottle of salon shampoo lasts months while my drugstore shampoo barely lasted one month.

shampoo/conditioner duo

Your stylist has likely researched and tested a variety of brands and products before making their recommendation. Show your support by taking his or her advice. Their main goal is to give you a look you love and teach you how to keep this look for months after your visit.


When it comes to the products you choose to put in your hair, it’s a lot like choosing what to put in your body. Put good in, get good out. For best results, our educators recommend choosing a line, for example, Redken anti-frizz and sticking with it. You probably won’t see results overnight, but you will see a change if you consistently use salon products. Until I started working for AOHD, I used whichever shampoo had the magic combination of cheap and good smelling. I have been using products recommended by our educators for the last six months and the difference is incredible. My hair is longer, softer, and healthier than it’s ever been (I’ve had my current shampoo/conditioner set for 3 months and it’s still not empty!)

redken antifrizz

The bottom line is, what you put on your hair is your choice, but if you want to invest in healthy, beautiful hair salon products are the best way to go.

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