Let’s Get Real About Hair Products
Shampoo aisle

Let’s Get Real About Hair Products

Disclaimer: A version of this article appeared in The Burg in October 2020

Shampoo aisle

What Shampoo to Buy?

What a crazy year 2020 was! I’m going to switch gears, leave Covid-19 at the door for a bit, and talk to you about hair! More specifically, I’m going to talk about shampoo!

The shampoo aisle can be so overwhelming, can’t it? Which one to buy? Is this one is bad? Does that one have plastic in it? Ahh! It’s too much to keep straight! Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s really not that complicated once you learn a few things. And I’m here to teach you!

Salon vs. Drugstore Shampoos

Ok, so many of us have been told that “salon” hair products are better for your hair and, in general, superior to regular stuff you buy at the drugstore. We’ve all been told that. And haven’t many of us told our friends that, too? Well, it’s all wrong and I’ll tell you why. I spent years researching this and I’m glad I did because it ended up saving me a lot of money over the years.

There is no actual difference between ingredients in salon hair products and drugstore ones. Many stylists will tell you that there is (and it’s not their fault- their sales representatives from their supply houses tell them that). Your stylist has probably said something like, “Salon-product ingredients are better quality than what you get at Wal-Mart. There’s actually plastic in Pantene.” Neither of those statements are true. Every brand out there has the same access to ingredients as everyone else. It’s true that some ingredients are more expensive than others. But, here’s the thing: the drugstore brands are usually owned by massive multibillion-dollar corporations and can afford the “expensive” ingredients more so than smaller salon brands who aren’t owned by larger companies.

Many people believe that drugstore brands (Pantene, Suave, Tresemme, Aussie) leave buildup on their hair or cause their hair to break off and once they started using what their stylist suggested (a salon brand) their hair felt better and the buildup didn’t come back. While this may be true, the real reason is because most people purchase the incorrect type of shampoo and conditioner for themselves and that’s why there’s buildup or breakage. You can have terrible buildup from salon brands when you use the incorrect type and likewise with breakage.

A stylist is very knowledgeable on what type of hair you have and what shampoo and conditioner will work best. However, what you should be listening to is what kind of shampoo and conditioner they’re saying to use. Did they say you need moisture? Do you need something “light”? Those are clues to what you should be looking for at the store.

4 Main Types of Shampoos

The hair aisle at the store can be daunting, can’t it?! Well, here a few tips to filter through all those choices. There are really only four types of shampoos:

1.) Kid’s- tear-free

2.) Medicated- anti-dandruff

3.) Moisturizing- These will be labeled as “for curly hair”, “dry-damaged hair”, “color care”, or “color-treated hair”

4.) Non-moisturizing- These will say things like “extra volume”, “volumizing”, “daily balancing”, “cleansing”, “for fine thin hair”

Now that you know that, it doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Keep this list with you next time you’re shopping for shampoo and conditioner and I promise it will make the whole process easier!

Extra Tip

Ever feel like somedays you need more moisture than others? Buy a moisturizing shampoo and a non-moisturizing one and make a custom blend, whenever you need! That’s what I do in the salon. Some clients have severely dry hair, others are greasier, and then there’s several in-between. For those “in-betweeners”, I mix a little of the moisturizing with the non-moisturizing! Voila!

I hope this article helps you save time and money! As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions, hair-related or not! I would love to hear from you! For further reading, check out TheBeautyBrains.com. They are cosmetic scientists and are a great resource! Pass this article along to help your friends become the Smartest Patient (or shampoo-buyer!)


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