Hair Products

Pro or Generic?

How do you compare professional products and generic products?

It depends on what type of products we’re talking about, and today it’s all about hair care.

Should you just trust your stylist and get the good stuff, or are you sold on drugstore brands…no matter the “costs”?

Don’t take my word for it as I am biased because of the industry, but instead you should think about these 3 ways to compare generic and professional products!

1. Cost


How to save money on your hair…

Everyone knows that professional or salon products are more expensive than generic or drugstore brands.

One of the reasons why it’s worth the extra cost, is because you simply get more for your money.

I’m talking about more than how much is in the bottle….pro products last longer because you don’t have to use as much (and many other reasons that i’ll get to later).

If you are paying less you are probably buying more often.

I buy shampoo every 4-6 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 generic shampoo would last.

Here are a few tips for finding deals on pro products:

  • Outlet Malls– I love finding pro products at the outlets! My favorites are Bare Minerals and the Cosmetics Company. They often carry the “overflow” from stores that had too much inventory to sell, gift bags (from makeup counters), discontinued products, etc.
  • Store Memberships– Try shopping somewhere like ULTA. They have a store card and you get money back for every so many dollars you spend. They will also send you coupons, so if you save them and buy at the right time you will definitely get some good deals!
  •– I order almost everything from Amazon nowadays. Just check out the seller before you order to make sure they have plenty of positive feedback. I’ve heard criticisms about ordering online, but that doesn’t mean that everything on the site will be fake. The feedback will tell all!
  • Hot Sale Months– Buy around the holidays(right after for even better deals) because that’s when you find awesome sales on sets and buy-one, get-ones. Most of the time a shampoo & conditioner set will include a styling product that costs only a few dollars compared to buying it seperately.


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About The Author


Professional Hairstylist | American Board Certified Haircolorist | Makeup Artist | Beauty Blogger

6 Responses to Hair Products: Pro or Generic?

  1. Jodi says:

    I have been looking for a similar product for Paul Mitchel Slick Works. Can you recommend something? Thanks!

  2. Erika Brown says:

    Also, please share your favorite pro or generic products in the comment section! Best Generic Products list coming soon!

    • Ashia says:

      What makes a hair line “professional”? Are there certain requirements? I notice lines like L’oreal and Shea moisture have drugstore and professional product lines.

      • Erika says:

        L’Oreal is a line that disappoints me because they “sold out” to mass producers in order to make more money. As a result, their once exclusive/professional product line suffered greatly while their drugstore line grew. So, they maximized off of it for the profit. They still have a professional color line (which i once used in an upscale salon…and loved it!), but just last year I noticed their color line being phased out of the professional supply stores. So, if L’Oreal is still considered a professional brand….I don’t know where or why.

        Basically….those brands have two different branches and one is of better quality than the other. I do feel like those brands professional products do not compare to other professional products.

        Now….Paul Mitchell is a great example of a professional product company that will NEVER sell out. You may see some “Paul Mitchell” products in the drugstore, but those products are not authorized by Paul Mitchell to be sold in such stores. They may have been produced by another company (so they slightly change the package to get away with it), or they are expired products that a salon would not sell. This shameful misrepresentation and sale of professional products is called “diversion”. Paul Mitchell actively fights against diversion and contributes to organizations that fight against diversion.

        There’s no “list of requirements” for professional products as they all have their own characteristics. Professional products are not diluted or made with high levels of alcohol. They’re also made without heavy waxes (lots of drugstore brands contain wax because it coats the hair and makes if feel conditioned…which is needed after the high alcohol content dries the hair out). The best way to tell is to go to a nice salon….they will only carry professional products. Some low-end salons will carry products from Sally’s Beauty Supply…which are knock-offs of professional products. Don’t go to those salons because the quality and services will be cheap in more than one way!

        • Erika says:

          Here’s a short list of my favorite pro product brands:

          Bumble & Bumble
          It’s a 10
          KMS California
          Paul Mitchell

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