Enjoy free shipping today! Enter code SHIPHLV at checkout.

Your cart is empty.

BACK TO BLOG

5 min read

Drugstore vs salon quality hair products: Is there a difference?

Drugstore vs salon quality hair products: Is there a difference?

Here’s a typical scenario that we’ve all had: you’ve just used the last of your shampoo and asked yourself, “should I splurge on a high-end product, or just buy a basic shampoo at the drugstore?” This is an eternal question and begs a second question, won’t they both make my hair clean? 

To an extent, yes! The real question is, at what cost? (Pun intended). There are times when it’s great to bargain hunt and other times when you should consider investing in prestige products. This can be determined by your hair type, i.e., colored hair will require special formulas not to strip the color, and curly hair often needs extra nourishment to maintain its condition, etc.

Need the low down for your haircare arsenal? We’ve got you! We’ll unpack the difference and discuss whether it’s always necessary to buy salon-quality products or when to save a few bucks.

Drugstore vs. Salon quality hair products

We get it; the idea of literally squeaky-clean hair and smelling like a tropical rainforest for $3.99 might be too hard to resist for some. We’re all after those shimmering strands in shampoo commercials, but do they work? The answer is, they will clean your hair but will do little else to improve the actual health and shine of your hair.

What about the instant shine and silkiness of a drugstore mask or treatment? Unfortunately, instead of a 3-minute miracle, they often rely on fillers, chemicals, and sulfates. The intense shine you may notice is cosmetic and due to heavy silicones. Those silicones will instantly make your hair seem softer to the touch but will not condition or nourish parched strands in need of real moisture.

For that, you’ll want high quality and a higher concentration of ingredients meant to deliver nutrients and strengthen your hair with every use, which is what you’ll find in salon-quality products.

Hair La Vie Shampoo and Conditioner

Shampoo and conditioner

What should you look for and avoid in a shampoo and conditioner? First, avoid heavy surfactants like sodium sulfates, which are detergents that create excessive suds and strip hair of moisture and color. Often, drugstore shampoos are more diluted with water and therefore rely on these strong detergents.

They’ll usually contain unnecessary fillers versus more hair-nourishing ingredients like naturally derived, botanical lipids and nutrients.

Key ingredients to look for are vitamin B5, saw palmetto extract, biotin, rice protein, bamboo extract, and silk amino acids that all work to strengthen the cuticles and support the hair follicles. We love Hair La Vie’s Shampoo and Conditioner, with a fresh minty scent that gently cleanses and is formulated for all hair types. As a result, your hair will be more lustrous and stronger over time.

Hair treatments

Any product with active ingredients meant to condition your hair is best procured from salon-quality products — otherwise, you might be wasting your money altogether. Drugstore treatments often make huge promises to support the scalp, promote thicker hair, and maintain color, yet, the results are unattainable because the ingredients are not in high enough concentrations to make a difference.

That’s why you’ll want to invest in higher-quality formulas that will target specific hair concerns. Look for hair strengthening ingredients like hydrolyzed silk and keratin, both found in Hair La Vie’s  Nº 77 Leave-In.

Hair La Vie Dry Shampoo and No. 77 Leave-In

Styling Products

Now, not all styling products are the same! There’s a huge range for varied purposes, and there are some inexpensive yet fabulous products out there. That being said, let’s start with the basics.

If you simply want to smooth flyaways or add a little texture, you’re fine to look for a basic drugstore gel, cream, or texture spray. However, if you want to protect your hair, especially from heat, don’t leave your mane in the hands of anyone but professionals. What about achieving Brigette Bardot’s volume? You guessed it; it’s salon-quality again for the win!

Especially for a volumizing product such as dry shampoo, you’ll want to avoid lower quality drugstore varieties that are chock full of aerosols, perfumes, and talc. Talc should be avoided in all your powder beauty products as it has been found sometimes to contain traces of asbestos-eek!

For a clean beauty alternative, we love Hair La Vie’s Dry Shampoo with a delicate blend of clay, cornstarch, and naturally derived bamboo silica.

Conclusion

Now you know the difference between the short-term effects of drugstore products versus the long-term benefits of high-end haircare! 

Simply put—you get what you pay for. Prestige products perform better and can support the overall condition of your hair. Think of them as being similar to cooking ingredients. You may be able to use any cooking oil, but an artisanal one has more potent, pure, and refined ingredients such as a cold-pressed, organic extra-virgin olive oil.

Give your hair the love it deserves and invest in some high-end products, which end up worth it, cost per use. Not only that, but your hair will be healthier-looking, more manageable, and you’ll feel like you just stepped out of the salon every day.

At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

  • Check out our Facebook Group!

    JOIN THE GROUP

    At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

    Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

    Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

    JOIN THE GROUP