Sally-Beauty-Free-ShippingI often see the question pop up…..”Why do hairstylists hate Sallys Beauty Supply?”.

First of all, hate is a strong word. It’s not that we “hate” Sally’s Beauty Supply, it’s that people who aren’t in our industry think it’s better than drugstore products.

Or, they think that buying beauty products at Sally’s is the same as buying them at CosmoProf or Salon Centric.

Sally’s Beauty Supply is open to the public, so anyone can shop there. CosmoProf and Salon Centric are closed to the public, and only licensed professionals can shop in those stores. This is just one way that beauty suppliers control the availability of professional products.

Professional hair color is regulated for many reasons, one being that you need an education in cosmetology to be able to use it. If the same quality of supplies were available to everyone, then that would lower the value of our profession.

I get a lot of comments and e-mails from people saying that they went to Sally’s Beauty Supply and the store associate helped them formulate their hair color. Please, don’t take advice from those store associates. They know nothing except what the store sells. Store associates are not licensed cosmetologists and they cannot give you advice….this is an accident waiting to happen!

It is possible for someone with a cosmetology license to be working as a store associate at Sally’s, but why? If someone is licensed and good at their trade, then they don’t need to work in a supply store for sub-par products. You don’t want that persons advice anyways.



Here’s what we DON’T like about Sally’s Beauty Supply:

  • The products suck….for starters.
  • They carry hair color that looks like professional hair color, but it’s not.
  • The store associates give advice as if they are professionals…causing disasters daily.
  • They sell “generic” versions of professional hair products, and people think that it’s quality…the prices are not much lower than the name brand.
  • They promote DIY hair services, and people don’t realize that it’s not so easy.
  • Cheap hairstylists buy their supplies there, and charge clients the same prices as reputable hair salons(yes, this happens…it’s disgraceful and it gives every a bad rep).

Here’s what we DO like about Sally’s Beauty Supply:

  • We can get lower priced supplies- processing caps, perm rods, appointment books, shampoo and color capes, water bottles, etc.
  • We get an additional 5% off- it’s already lower priced, the extra discount is definitely a plus.
  • It’s easy to find a Sally’s Beauty Supply- there are more of them than there are of the professional supply stores.
  • They carry expensive salon equipment at reasonable prices- floor mats, styling chairs, trolley carts, shampoo bowls, etc.
  • They carry fun nail supplies- decals, nail art pens, etc.


Sally’s Beauty Supply
Professional Beauty Supply

32 Responses to Why Do Hairstylists Hate Sallys Beauty Supply?

  1. Holly says:

    Sally’s has a few quality products that are worth it if they go on sale. If you’re careful and not doing anything drastic with hair chemicals, I think you’re safe. Thanks to technology, you can research the pants off any topic now and DIY many things. Everything will eventually be automated anyway, and everyone will be out of work.

  2. Jeri Carroll says:

    As a teacher, I have never been to a teacher supply store that gave teachers discounts otherwise almost everyone shopping there would get a discount. Just saying!

  3. Antonia Green says:

    Hello I find this review bias and lacking.O am a licensed Cosmetologist and I run a Sallys.I have 15 yrs experience and love helping those who can not go yo a professional supplier help themselves as stylist have failed them.I have a great professional staff and well versed with stylist and esthetician.Pleaae don’t speak on behalf of people.Also Cosmoprof is a sister store of Sally’s so Sally’s owns Cosmoprof.

    • Erika says:

      Like I said, there are hidden gems out there. You are an exception, but the majority of store associates at Sally’s Beauty are not going to provide the value and quality of service that you and your staff can.

  4. Jaz says:

    You said that most people don’t know what they are doing. I do not think that’s true. I think you may have had a bad experience with an employee telling you something totally wrong, as have I, but also at places like petsmart and grocery stores. There are always going to be those employees that don’t know what they are doing but they are everywhere, not just as sally beauty

  5. Carolyn R. Motley says:

    36 years ago I went from Jacksonville, Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri to purchase all my Beauty shop equipment. I was opening a Beauty shop. I got a huge discount for purchasing, literally, a 4-station setup. I retired a long time ago, but I still have one hydraulic chair at home. 36 years and I have NEVER had a problem. My chair is still in excellent condition after all this time. They have great equipment!

    • Erika says:

      Thanks for sharing! That’s awesome!!!

      I’m referring to their knock-off hair color and shampoo, conditioner, styling products, etc. I also bought my professional salon equipment(like sinks, cabinets, barber chairs, trolleys, etc.), and I use their perm rods(but not perm solution), black disposable gloves(they are an awesome price compared to CosmoProf…especially with the buy one get one sale), cutting/chemical styling capes, water bottles…and so on.

      There are many things I wouldn’t purchase from Sally’s from a professional point of view.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I noticed they carry Wella haircolor there now, and that’s what I’ve had in the salon in the past. ‍♀️ Some of my worst hair experiences have been at salons, so I’ve been thankful for Sally’s on many occasions. Also wondering if I’m the only who dreads the salon because EVERY PERSON I’ve had do my hair is so rough and I can hear my hear snapping and breaking as they brush it. WTH? I’m very gentle with my hair and never hear snapping because I take care when brushing/combing. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves.

    • Erika says:

      I can assure you that not all hairstylists provide bad experiences.

      Wella Color Charm has always been carried at Sally’s, it’s not the same as the Wella professional products that are sold to salons by distributors. It’s kinda like L’Oreal vs. L’Oreal Professional. I’ve experimented with Wella Color Charm and the difference is that it’s unpredictable.

      For example, formulating for grey coverage without producing hot roots is challenging, you really have to know and understand how it works to get it right. That doesn’t mean that the level you choose is going to give you the level that it promises as it does with professional haircolor. That doesn’t mean that it won’t work….it just means you may go through some trial and error with that product.

      Here’s an example: I wanted to cover grey to a level 6 natural. The gray was 100%, so I used 30 volume and went a level darker in my formulation(just as I would have done with Wella Professional, Goldwell, Paul Mitchell, etc.). The results were still too light. The problem with this is that when you go even darker you really get into an unpredictable situation. So, if you’re not covering grey then you have a better chance at the right result.

      Remember….you can always go darker if it doesn’t work the first time!

      • Marciab says:

        Goldwell and loreal professional are available online at amazon.

        • Erika says:

          Yes, they are! So are many other brands, and some of them are authentic…some of them aren’t. Just like eBay, the best way to know which online company to buy from is to make sure you check the reviews and company ratings every time.

  7. SM says:

    I was trying to grow out some hair color because, frankly, I was getting tired of shelling out so much money every 8 weeks or so. My main concern was one big chunk of blonde highlights near my face that had very obvious roots (please forgive my non-technical hair terminology). I figured I could blend this in myself; how hard could it be?
    I went to Sally’s and must have looked lost. The lady who worked there asked me what I wanted to do and then directed me to x, y, and z products. It sounded pretty Greek to me but I got what she suggested. Well, it blended in beautifully! No more roots. She knew what she was talking about.
    So the moral of the story is it just depends on who works at your Sally’s store on whether you get good advice and yes there are good products and not so good products. Just like everywhere else you go! Salons, beauty supply stores, doctors offices, clothing stores, hardware stores, restaurants…you name it.
    And lastly, sorry just have to add that most salon brands are not exclusive anymore. Ulta carries a huge selection of redken, pureology, alterna, bumble and bumble, etc. Sephora has a selection of salon brands and high end brands. And most brands allow you to order straight from their website (e.g. oribe, shu uemura). Of course us ‘regular folk’ can’t order salon sizes/quantities or get discounts but most dont need 3 gallons of shampoo. 🙂

  8. Rob says:

    I‘m a guy who used lightening shampoo on my hair and it continued going blond in the sun. I was told by a lady at a salon to go to Sally‘s to match my hair. The girl at Sally‘s said I should go with a certain shade that was lighter than my hair so I wouldn‘t end up with a super dark brown…my freaking hair is almost black. Ugh…I‘m just a guy not wanting to look like my hair was dyed blond, but now it looks dyed black. Dang.

  9. rebecca says:

    i disagree with you and think you are jealous…we can do at home what you say is your profession…for much less. it is outrageous the cost to get you hair colored or “done” now days….id rather save the money and use my own wits..and artistic skill…and with the likes of your nasty seem arrogant…which is a huge turn off. iv had plenty of disasters from so called “professionals” and much better home…as far as color…

  10. Isabella says:

    I completely understand where you’re coming from because I am a hairstylist and I did think the same as you. I have now realized that (at least the sally’s in my district) have a LEAST one hairstylist who works at the store. My manager went to beauty school, went into a salon & hated the salon aspect of it. I also work with a “retired” hairstylist, and a “retired” nail tech. Sally’s has completely revamped itself in the last few years and are trying to get most employees to be of knowledge so this reputation of “not knowing what they’re doing” doesn’t continue. We have ONE employee who has no beauty background who always is instructed to ask one of us for help when a costumer has a question about color. Now I know it might be different everywhere else but that is how our store and I believe our whole district is ran.

  11. Isabella says:

    Hi. I’m personally very offended by your rude “if someone is a hairstylist and good at it and works at sallys you don’t want their advice anyways” remark. I was a stylist in a big city. Matter of fact, the #6 salon in said big city. My boyfriend got notified they were transferring out of state and we have 2 weeks to pack up and move. We all know license transfers take longer than 2 weeks. Hell, I talked to someone who’s took a year. i now live in a very small town and while my license is being transferred I’m working at a sallys so I’m still in the “field”. And trust me, it took a lot out of myself to do it and it takes a lot out of me every day for hairstylists to come in and talk down upon me because they think I’m just another sallys employee. You have no idea the amount of people who do what I am doing and work at a sallys until a license is transferred. And actually, I’m very glad I chose to work at sallys because I have a stack of about 30 numbers/ business cards of people who want me to do THEIR hair and a handful of salon owners business cards to call once my license gets transferred. I knew NO ONE and NOTHING about this town/area when I moved here 3 months ago. So how about you not think the worst about Sally’s employees because some of us do have a lot of knowledge.

    • Erika says:

      I write about my personal experiences and it’s just a strangers opinion, as is your comment. You can probably find information on the net that completely contradicts this article, and that’s okay.

      There are always going to be exceptions in every scenario/situation, but you are probably a small percentage compared to those who work at Sally’s and don’t take pride in their job or have enough knowledge in Cosmetology to make safe and sure suggestions to shoppers.

      Even professionals “screw up” hair color and it takes years of learning from mistakes to become a truly great colorist(or stylist). So, the reason for this article(my intent), is to make sure clients/consumers can more easily avoid disasters.

      The same is true in regards to a popular post I wrote several years ago: 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Box Color. People are going to do it…I know that. Some are going to be successful and some won’t. The more you know…

  12. Tia says:

    I am absolutely disgusted by Sally Beauty Supply. I purchased one of their items, did some research, and found that the company that produces the products uses animal products obtained with great cruelty. They have been exposed by the media for this, but Sally Beauty does not mention this.
    I left a rather tame review referring to some of these issues and asking that people do some research, and also that I found other products to be of better quality. I also discussed my problems with using the product.
    A day later, I received an email from Sally Beauty Supply “staff” that my review was taken down from their site and “moderated” and not allowed.
    This tells me one thing- that Sally has no respect for their customers, and has things to hide. What else do they deal in, items produced by child labor or with illegal ingredients?
    They didn’t even bother to ask me about my concerns, but basically told me to shut up.
    This mega-corporation has so much money that they hire drudges to troll through reviews looking to censor cruelty and problems with their products? Maybe they should worry about their customer service issues instead.
    I have spent so much with Sally, and I regret every cent. This corporation obviously has some ethical problems.
    The CEO and other executives make millions of dollars, and that is clearly all they care about.

  13. Paula says:

    yes, NINA, you DO need proper knowledge! i am so offended…as a licensed aesthetician, i have seen women buy salon quality chemical peels and end up burning themselves!!! same with the scalp. as a medical professional i am saying “shame on you” bc the skin is, in fact, the largest organ of the body.
    have several seats, Nina.

  14. Tiffany says:

    Hey there.

    Let me start by saying that I do work at Sally’s but also that I have been to cosmetology school. Yes it is possible for someone who is educated to be working there. I decided not to pursue a career in being a stylist because I was leaning more toward the makeup side of things.

    Anyhow, I work there because I feel like the people who are going to ignore stylist advice or just want to be cheap, actually need The help that I give them. Because let’s be honest, people are going to do whatever they want no matter what you tell them. But at least if I can give them some sort of knowledge , then at least I can sleep at night.

    Where I work, people are always looking for the cheapest route. They tend not to care what the process is or what the products are sometimes. They just want what they want at the lowest price. Some of our stuff isn’t the greatest but I don’t think it’s all that bad either. I have used both pro stuff and Sally’s stuff and has great results with both. Maybe moreso a matter of personal opinion.

    • Erika says:

      Yes, you are right about that. Unfortunately, there aren’t always people like you working at every Sally’s Beauty Supply.

      One thing that I forget to mention is that just about everything I write about is inspired from a personal life experience. I used to be the girl that box colored her hair all the time and had to chop it all off because of damage. No matter what anyone said, I just had to figure it out the hard way. Most people are like that, which is why I give my perspective.

  15. m says:

    Sally’s Beauty is the sister company of Cosmoprof, so I think they really are double dipping. They have no concern for keeping the public safe from harm if that is the line they are standing behind. This industry is so insecure about their professionals and their abilities that many brands refuse to sell to the public and make it an exclusive product only to be used by the professionals and to make claases available to these experts for a cost, meanwhile they sell their cheaper qulaity product at Sally’s for consumption by the general public. I think in fact that there is nothing to fear, they will not lose their profession by allowing the public to by their products, in fact I would think only a small fraction of women would be willing to color their own hair. What is the fear here? I think the fear is the need to make money off their own industry and those they accredit with a license, brands being exclusive to only hairstylist and charging them for lessons on how to use their exclusive products. I by no means am diminishing the skill and time spent learning the skills they have aquired in cutting and styling hair and the amazing skill of coloring hair. But why exclude the general population from enjoying and having access to professional quality products, yet at the same time selling subpar products to the public? Really is is all about $

    • Erika says:

      It’s the same with many professions. Is it the beauty industry(professional side) that you don’t agree with, or is it how the business works(because it’s exactly the same as many other industries). Supply vs. Demand, controlling a market, etc. are a small part of what makes an industry flourish and grow. Let’s not forget that all of this plays a part in our economic health.

      Here are a few examples:
      Cosmetology Industry:Professional Hair Products
      Construction:Building Supplies (they are available but contractors get it cheaper)
      Dentists & Dental Hygienists:Tooth Whitening Products (professional strength is SO much better, but you can only get it from a dentist at a much higher price!
      Medical Industry:Prescription Drugs and Products

      It isn’t just our industry, it’s everywhere. People either don’t want to think about that, or never realize it.

      The important part that you’re forgetting is that training and education are just a few things that make a professional “special”(of course, the ability to acquire and hold a license is a huge accomplishment).Professionals know how best to use products/techniques. Yes, it does help the industry make money, but it also protects the consumer from harming themselves.

      *On women wanting to color their own hair-
      It’s not about fear. I’m not worried about a “box color hair trend” starting where everyone decides to do it themselves.

      “Remember, good professional haircolorists have already tried what you’re about to try at home HUNDREDS of times on HUNDREDS of different heads of hair. Literally every time is different, so we know what works and what doesn’t.”

      I explain about the difference between being pro box color and seperating the profession from the product in the article and comments for 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Box Color.

      • Nina says:

        re: “Medical industry: prescription drugs” This is a BS comparison.

        I am a licensed nurse and I cannot just buy whatever prescription drugs I want, because many prescription drugs can ACTUALLY kill you or do organ damage.

        • You're Soaking In It says:

          @Nina, I think Erika was pointing out that the medical INDUSTRY has access to prescription drugs and medical devices. A hospital patient isn’t allowed to just help herself to her medication, but the Licensed Professionals the hospital employs bring the patient the medications, on schedule, and record this in the chart. You, the Licensed Professional, are authorised to handle those prescription products, and we trust you to follow protocol that keeps the patient safe. It’s much the same with chemical processes for hair. A trained (licensed) pro is going to save you from yourself, usually with a good outcome. Of course your mileage may vary.

    • Erika says:

      The general public does have access to products, but they’re just a little more expensive. It’s the same with other industries: Teachers get discounts at their specialty stores and superstores; Contractors get discounted products at building supply stores; Veterinarians get discounted supplys/products and sell them at a higher price; Members get discounted items and wholesale clubs…etc.

      What’s not availble? Stuff that the general public(WHO do not have a professional license or training) should not be using without the proper knowledge….isn’t available. That’s not a bad thing.

      • Nina says:

        You do not need “proper knowledge” to use hair dye. The worst that could happen is that you ruin your hair, big deal, it grows back! It is not an actual public health or safety risk.

        • Jan says:

          Actually, you do need “proper knowledge” to use hair dye. You’re a licensed nurse, I’m sure you had to take a chemistry class for your degree. It can definitely be a safety hazard if improperly used.

          • TCooks says:

            You can die if you take the wrong prescription drugs. You won’t die from a bad bleach job or perm. If your head hurts bad enough, you will wash it off. If you don’t then as with all products there will be a disclaimer on the product – like coffee is hot or lawn mower is not to be used as a hedge clipper.

            • You're Soaking In It says:

              Just want to point out that while you MIGHT not die from “bad bleach job”, you could kill yourself “bleaching” your own hair. Our neighbor kid dedcided he wanted to bleach his own hair (he was already very fair, but i guess he thought he could turn his pale blond hair platinum. I think he was around age 13 at the time) HE. USED. CLOROX. BLEACH. I know this because my son told me he got a call in the middle of the process to “come over”, where kid explained to my son what he’d done, and wanted son to fix his burning scalp. I believe they decided to just rinse and rinse with clear water, eventually neutralizing the Clorox, but fortunately neither of them damaged their lungs, eyes, or brain cells (latter still tbd) and got out of it alive. So, yeah, it eould actually be possible to kill or at least seriously harm yourself or someone else if you tried hard enough. There’s a reason only professionals are allowed to buy certsin chemicals products.Because people are Idiots.

      • TCooks says:

        No, you already state that the public does not have access to the same products. Discounts to professionals are understandable and common, but saying that stylists can’t make it if the products are available to the public is an insurlt to stylists. People who can afford to pay for their expertise do pay for it. Some people cannot pay for the expertise, therefore, they should be able to do their own less than expert job of it at home.

        You cannot compare veterinarian care or medical care to hair care.

        • Erika says:

          Products are available to retailers and professionals in nearly every industry…at a discounted price.

          Other industries don’t get as much heat for it because most people don’t know the tricks of their trades. For example, contractors get a special discount on building materials. They get the discount because they’re professionals. Stores will present it as a “bulk” discount, which is available to everyone if you shop around. DIY lovers, handymen, etc. are okay with paying a little more because they’re not going to need 50 wall plates, for example.

          There are a lot of ways to chop this up, but this is the way it is in our society. There is always a chain of some sort.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2019 Confessions of a Cosmetologist