2. Ingredients

There’s a lot of information to touch on when we’re talking about product ingredients. I’m giving you 3 main ingredients to pay attention to when you’re buying products.

This doesn’t include buying organic, vegan, etc.- just the basic guidelines. You can read more about product ingredients here.

  • Water– 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.
  • Alcohol– 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 drug stores are high in alcohol content. The product may be making your hair feel smooth….but it’s not giving you the moisture and protein your hair needs to stay strong and healthy.
  • Sulfates– Sulfates are 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.


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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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