With the television constantly buzzing with advertisements from hair brands all over the world, it can be tricky to choose products. Not to mention, deciding whether or not to blow the extra bucks on the salon goods or go the cheap route and get over-the-counter hair products is a bit of a mind-blower. Luckily for you, the stars have aligned and revealed to me the truth; Professional products are worth it and always will be. Sorry Suave, but you just don't cut it anymore.
When you look at a bottle of shampoo or conditioner, it would appear to the untrained eye that salon and store brands have essentially the same ingredients; water, some sort of foaming agent, oils. Because of this, when you go to your local store, it is easy to just grab the Pantene bottle that claims to have Lavender Extract (a goodie for hair growth!) Here's the deal, while, yes, it does have Lavender Extract what you need to question is how much does it have?
The truth is salon products have much more of the necessary vitamins and proteins your hair needs to maintain and restore it's health. Store-bought products realized this and began advertising "Hey! No need to pay for that bottle of Brocato! We have the good stuff in ours!" when really they should have said, "Hey we placed a microscopic pinch of that essential ingredient in our product and are now going to act like it will make a difference on your hair!"
In reality, this situation is comparable when you buy the fake leather boots that only last a week before they are scuffed up and ruined. If you would have just bought the real ones in the first place, you wouldn't have had to spend more money constantly replacing the old ones. You are PAYING money to destroy your hair when you purchase store brands of shampoo and conditioner.
Here is how they do it: most hair shampoos and conditioners contain a lathering agent. The safest agent to use in a shampoo is called sodium laureth sulfite but store products don't use that. They use either ammonium laurel sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, or sodium laurel sulfate. Sulfate based products are much tougher on your scalp because they literally rip hair of its natural oils. In the long run, the store brand products are going to weigh down and dry out the scalp causing dandruff, static, breakage and just BAD HAIR. Why do they do this? Lathering agents are what create that pretty foam when you wash your hair. Completely unnecessary. But, since we love the foam so much, store products use the crappy, cheap agents so that we are fooled into thinking they are better than professional products.
Not to mention, store brands like Pantene, Garnier Fructis and Dove have extremely high pH levels in their products. A good shampoo would have a pH level between 5 and 7 (neutral). Store bought products have unsteady pH levels ranging from 4 to 9 while salon products are always within the safe 6 pH range. For example, a study found that Professional products like Matrix Amplify had a pH of 6.76 and Redken All-Soft had a pH of 5.59. Can you say perfect?
Unless you are planning to test the pH of every store brand shampoo before you use it, I wouldn't take the risk! You might as well dump laundry detergent on your hair instead of paying money for these toxic shampoos and conditioners. Literally. Think about a cashmere sweater, as soon as you use regular detergent on it, the sweater is ruined, right? It becomes frizzy and torn. You have to nurture the sweater and pay a little extra to take it to the dry cleaners. In the long run though, you saved money because you don't have to first of all, pay for tissues to cry over your ruined 200 dollar sweater, and second of all pay another 200 dollars for a brand new one.
Note: The only way you want a different pH is if the condition of your hair requires it. Unlike store brands, professional products neutralize and balance higher levels of pH in products so that your hair issue can be resolved while other issues are protected from occurring.
Still don't believe me? Statistics show that 80% of us misdiagnose our own hair problems. That means that 80% of the time you run to the store to buy a product on your own, you are buying the wrong thing. Why do you think stylists encourage you to buy their product? BECAUSE THEY KNOW WHAT YOU NEED! Unless you are trained in hair, you are clueless to the true condition of your tresses. Most stylists can tell right when you sit in the chair what kind of crap you are sticking on your head based on the texture and condition. The irony is that women complain that they want the "just out of the salon look" all the time but still buy the same cheap product from the store that makes it even harder to restore hair! Ever noticed how your hair stays soft a few washes after you hit the salon? That is because the product they use (professional) is SO powerful it restores hair heath in just one wash.
If you haven't figured it out by now, I offer you one final piece of evidence. All you have to do is click here. This poor woman's hair looks AWFUL, an effect of the drugstore "fancy" four dollar conditioner, Tresemme Color Thrive Conditioner.
Drugstore brands have one goal; to make money. They get the upper hand over the professional lines, all because they are "cheaper and more convenient." But listen ladies, the urge to splurge isn't always evil! In fact, you might want to give in to this one so you can fight the hair demons from ruining your precious locks!