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  • Elleven Salon

Salon vs. Drugstore Hair Products

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

We're all looking to get that hair we see in commercials, but the journey to luxurious locks may look a little bit different than you thought. Certain beauty products are worth the splurge, and now it's time to find out why your hair care products need to go on that list! Who wouldn't want to use far less product that's great quality while achieving wildly better results?

Why it Matters

The purpose of shampoo is to cleanse our hair, while conditioner is meant to be used once those oils have been removed to nourish the hair. Some people take that dry feel after shampooing as a bad sign, but that dry feeling is a good thing! It means your hair is truly clean and ready to soak up all the conditioner's nutrients. You'll see this more often in professional products than the store-bought brands. For this reason, the 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner isn't recommended. It can't do two jobs at once. There's so much your hair is missing out on. Experts also recommend choosing a line of products that target your needs and stick to it. We love Redken's Frizz Dismiss and Extreme lines. You won't be disappointed! Even though it won't transform your hair overnight, within months you'll barely recognize your hair!

The Cons of Drugstore Products

Although drugstore hair products can make your hair look shiny, it's not because your hair is healthy like you'd imagine. They create a layer of waxy, silicone buildup that sacrifices hair health for little payoff. The picture shows just a part of this buildup being removed from the hair.

It's coated with a thin, waterproof, plastic layer. This locks out any nourishing ingredients trying to penetrate the hair. The layer gets thicker and difficult to remove. As a result, the hair becomes dull, brittle, and dry.

Heat damage is also worse with these drugstore products. The silicone layer of buildup greatly increases chance of breakage. These store-bought products eventually strip the hair of its natural, healthy oils. The waxy buildup may appear to be soft or shiny for a while, but the hair is extremely dehydrated within and prone to break.

The worst part for anybody that colors their hair is that drugstore products strip the hair of its vibrant color. Terrifying, right?! With the investment you make to get your hair done, why would you choose products that dull that amazing color you left the salon with?

The Pros of Professional Products

There are tons of pros to salon shampoos and conditioners. They are chemically calibrated formulas for everything your hair needs. That alone says paying a higher price tag has its benefits! These products use certain vitamins and minerals to target different needs for your hair. Another great benefit is the possibility to actually SAVE money! Seriously, you can actually save money using salon products. It only takes a dime-sized amount to get the job done. Drugstore shampoos and conditioners contain so much water and filler that much more is needed to get that rich lather. That quickly adds up! What used to be frequent trips to get more shampoo turns into a bottle of shampoo that lasts for several months and conditioner that lasts even longer! That's a win in our book! The best part of all, salon products always create softer, stronger, and faster growing hair. You literally can't go wrong there.

Ingredients Matter

We're all looking for hair care to cleanse, repair, volumize, and smooth. This is a bit harder to achieve when using drugstore haircare. Drugstore brands make this a real uphill battle. The salon products infuse only what heals hair and targets your haircare needs, with formulations to treat all hair types and anything from frizz to breakage to hair growth. Others don't.

Naturally safe ingredients are abundant in salon shampoos and conditioners, which tend to cost more. But the old saying is true, you get what you pay for. Professional products infuse healthy oils, minerals, and vitamins. Drugstore shampoos and conditioners at times include minimum amounts of some quality ingredients, but they surely include preservatives, parabens, silicone, and sodium chloride. Yikes! We'll explain why that matters a little later.

You'll notice the ingredient list in salon shampoos and conditioners is significantly smaller. This is because it only includes things to nourish, heal, strengthen, and target the specific need of your hair. With store-bought haircare products, you're adding harmful, diluted ingredients to your hair care regimen. That seems like a no-brainer.

Beat the Drugstore Haircare Temptation

It can be hard to resist grabbing hair products that are affordable, accessible, and available in just about any scent you can imagine. The problem is that this convenience comes at a steep price.

These products are less expensive due to the price and quality of the ingredients, focusing on water, fillers (such as wax or animal fat,) and preservatives to lengthen shelf-life. Did we mention you have to wash your hair more often than with a professional shampoo or conditioner?

Earlier we mentioned drugstore products adding fillers, parabens, and sodium chloride. You may be wondering why that matters. As if it isn't bad enough that it contains things like wax and animal fat, the parabens are bad for your scalp, which affects hair growth. The worst of them all, sodium chloride, is actually the formal way of saying "table salt." You can imagine how bad this is for your hair when used with each shampoo. It has near disastrous long-term effects. For example, breakage, dehydration, a dry, itchy, flaky scalp, and possible hair loss top the list. These are all red flags that let you know that eventually, those lower prices will catch up to you.

Our Choice

Professional products include the healthy things your hair needs to meet your hair goals. The natural ingredients are a little more costly, but only upfront. They last much longer and balance out with drugstore products. These store-bought products will damage your hair over time, with ingredients that should make you think twice. It's time to add hair products to the list of beauty items to splurge on. Your hair will thank you!

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