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Professional Products vs. Drugstore Brands
Everyone wants to know what the difference is between professional products and drugstore brands. Maybe we can’t see the difference….but it’s there!
I used products from Wal-Mart until after college and I knew I liked the expensive stuff, but it was more of a luxury.
Now that I only use professional brands I couldn’t imagine going back!
I cringe at the thought of using Suave or Pantene. Unless you over-do it with massive amounts of leave-in conditioner…you’re left with a rats nest to tame! The difference in my hair is unbelievable and I spend less time on it than I used to. Growing up, I had difficult hair…cowlicks/frizz/unwanted waves….I wasn’t doing anything to help the situation either!
From time to time I have clients say they don’t see the difference, they get shampoo with their groceries and call it a day.
I don’t argue with them, it’s a personal choice and it’s not my head of hair. All I can do is educate and it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your hair and your lifestyle.
There is one thing that pro drugstore brand clients probably don’t do, and that’s making a complete switch to professional brands.
If you are using box color, blow-drying/flat-ironing without products to protect the hair, etc., the professional shampoo will not work miracles for you!
That’s what most people don’t understand…
If you want to really test it out to see if there’s a difference you need to pick a line and use the shampoo, conditioner, and styling product together.
Cost…Is It Really THAT Much More?
I’m always hearing people talk about how expensive salon products are compared to drugstore brands.
The difference is how often you have to buy the products and the quality you get for your money.
If you are paying less you are probably buying more often.
I buy shampoo every few months (keep in mind I have a lot of hair!). I may be paying more, but it is lasting much longer than a bottle of Pantene would last.
Here are a few tips for finding deals on pro products:
- Check sites like Amazon.com. I have lots of clients that buy some of their products online because it’s cheaper and they get free shipping. Sometimes it turns out to be less expensive than drugstore brands!
- Buy around the holidays. Most salons have tons of great deals around Christmas or Valentine’s Day for example. You can find packaged sets and lots of extra sales like 20% off your product purchase!
- Take advantage of stores like ULTA Beauty. They have a great store rewards program and carry everything from pro products, makeup, fragrances, and even drugstore brands. You’ll receive frequent coupons in the mail and get rewards like $10 off for every so many dollars you spend!
- Shop at outlet malls. I buy all of my Bare Minerals makeup from the outlet store. It’s the same thing except the prices are around 50% off! The only drawback is that they don’t always carry every color option, but they have so many products that you won’t care. The other outlet store that I go to is the Cosmetics Company. I get really cheap sets, mascara, lotion, shampoo, etc. They carry all of the major brands and have great deals on those gift bags you get at the makeup counter(not really a gift because you have to spend $50+ to get it…the bags are around $10 at the outlet store).
Unless you have allergy issues you probably don’t check out the ingredients very often. Over the last year or so everyone has been going crazy about sulfates. All I hear is oh does it have sulfates, and “I can’t use shampoo with sulfates!”.
I’m willing to bet that at least 95% of these ingredient crazies
don’t even know what sulfates are.
It’s a good idea to know what’s in your products and why you need it or don’t. If you’re nuts about organics then that’s another subject, but for most of my clients all natural is the last thing on their minds.
When reading product ingredients on ANY label….the first ingredient is the strongest and the last ingredient is the weakest in the product!
Ingredients to pay attention to:
Is H20 the first ingredient listed on your shampoo bottle? If so, that only means that it is more diluted than others. You may be paying less than salon brands, but you are also getting less product.
Pureology is a salon product that is highly concentrated. It has much less water than other brands, giving you much higher quality for what you pay.
It is to be used in small amounts because when combined with water(in your hair) it is activated and will lather beyond belief.
When a product is made cheaply with high amounts of water you probably have to use more to get the same effect.
We all know what alcohol does! Talk about a one way ticket to dry and more dry hair strands! Alcohol is found in a lot of products and is necessary for the make-up of some of them.
BUT, when found in high amounts it’s not doing anything good for your hair. I find that a lot of styling products sold in grocery and drugstores are high in alcohol content.
The product may be making your hair feel smooth, but it’s not getting the moisture and protein it needs to stay strong and healthy.
Sulfates are a salt of sulfuric acid. There are several different types of sulfates so don’t get it confused with those used to make batteries or producing plaster!
Sulfates play a huge part in making products get sudsy and later well…but they do have a tendency to dry out hair and strip out color.
If you are using products without sulfates you may think your hair doesn’t feel as clean or it may take a little more work to get that lathering effect.
In my opinion, if you use sulfate free shampoo, use a good clarifying shampoo about once a month to really get your hair clean. I have several clients that do a clarifying treatment before a color, it gives a more clean strand to help your new color last!
Why ruin a beautiful color that you paid good money for with cheap products?
Are you a box color user or do you get your hair professionally colored?
If you use a box…go ahead, buy the Pantene. The way I look at it…if the color is crap…who cares if the shampoo is?
Your hair isn’t going to feel great anyways with those Wal-Mart boxed chemicals, so why pay more for shampoo when you’re okay with cheap color?
If you go to the salon for color…definitely get the good shampoo! If what your stylist recommends is too expensive just ask if there’s a cheaper alternative.
A few things to remember if you color your hair:
- Color treated hair is more sensitive to heat from styling tools because it is not as naturally healthy as hair that isn’t colored.
- Your color will not last as long as you want it to if you’re not using color protecting products. It can be easily stripped if you use a shampoo that’s too strong.
- Damage can come in many forms, chemical processing is only one of them. So if you take the necessary precautions you can have healthy colored hair!
I’d like to remind everyone that what works best for one person may not be perfect for the other.
I used non-professional products through college and when I went to cosmetology school that completely changed! Just like generic mac & cheese you will get used to what you use on a regular basis and like it.
I am not “dissing” anything that my clients may use, but giving you the pros and cons to help you find what works.
I’ve had quite a bit of conflicting feedback on product posts…especially on 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Box Color. As a stylist, I am trained to educate you on what’s best for your hair. There are some stylists that will push products or color services only because they want to make money off of you.
My readers live in all states and even some other countries, and hopefully it’s obvious that my goal is not to get you in the salon to make money. There are few professional cosmetologists that are writing about the secrets to our profession, so enjoy…and remember that we aren’t all just trying to make a dollar.
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