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Hair Styling Products; Professional vs Store Brands

Store shelves with dozens of hair care product brands

Where you buy your hair styling products matters!

Over the years, many clients have come to me with the same question, “Can’t I just buy my hair products at the store where I get everything else?” My simple answer is always no, and here’s why:

The most important thing you should do when choosing any hair care product item is to read the ingredient list top to bottom. The order in which they are listed represents how much of that particular ingredient is inside, (the top being the most and the bottom being the least). If you are unsure of what an ingredient does, pull out that smart phone, search, and you will find the beneficial (or harmful) attributes of that specific ingredient.

While massive retailers sell brands that boast the same results as salon brands, this is simply not the case when you look at the ingredients. It’s an age old saying that you get what you pay for, and that is especially true with hair styling products. Take shampoos for example, while many contain similar ingredients, the amount of those ingredients may differ, which is why reading the label to it’s full extent is important.

Several mass market brands contain waxes and that can also be found in products like wood sealers. While it may give you smooth shiny hair, you’ve also just coated your strands with the same ingredients you use to shine your floor. Over time these simply build up, preventing hair color from working (making your color disappear like a child star) and hindering things like conditioner from doing it’s job. These issues combined lead to dry, unruly hair. These ingredients also can block the scalp from getting the necessary oxygen it needs to work properly, and blocked follicles can lead to hair loss.

At the head of most salon hair care brands is a hairdresser, who’ve had their hands in thousands of heads of hair, who work with scientists to create products that do as promised, and who use quality ingredients that will be benefit your hair. And those creations are in the hands of stylists around the world daily who have also had their hands in thousands of heads of hair and believe in those products.

Famous names such as Vidal Sassoon, Anthony Mascolo, and even T.V.’s Tabatha Coffey have all worked with professional haircare companies on their products.

Why do I see your salon brand on the shelves of Walgreens?

The other question I get quite often is, “Why do I find your salon’s brand inside big box retailers?” Well, the answer is both simple and not. It’s called diversion, and it’s a problem plaguing the hair industry. Large retailers pay dishonest salon suppliers and factories which specialize in counterfeit products to get the products that are in high demand. However, often the packaging is outdated, and the products do not smell the same.

These effects are due to products sitting in warehouses for long periods of time and expiring, or in some cases, the products are not made by the proper manufacture and are fake. These counterfeit facilities are not working under professional-grade guidelines, and they can fill a bottle of shampoo with anything. This recall in Canada is good example.

Now, while these instances are not always the case, many of the products that are labeled “sold only in professional salons” should be just that, and what you find in the next aisle from vitamins, is not a salon.

The truth is that while many mass market brands claim the same result and are sometimes shelved next to salon brands, there are massive differences. In the end, it’s up to you. The real question is; would you rather leave you hair in the hands of professionals or save few bucks?

Kalvin Pugh
Contributing author Kalvin Pugh has been a licensed hairdresser since 2007. After advanced training at Toni&Guy in Dallas TX, Kalvin became an educator and shared his love of hairdressing with thousands of salon professionals around the US. In 2012 became an ambassador for TIGI. In 2013 Kalvin fulfilled his dream since beauty school opening up his own hairdressing space Kalvin Pugh Hairdressing in Overland Park, Kansas.




1 Comment »

  1. The costs for products that aren’t salon quality tend to be cheaper at first glance but in the end they will cost you more. The article pointed out that products at the super market will build up wax on the hair and makes it look duller which is harder to manage. Many people will see their hair dresser to get their hair cut more frequently because their hair is being damaged by the products they are using and ends up costing them more because their hair is needed to be seen by a hairdresser. Also, the products from professionals are way more concentrated which means fewer product is needed to be used on the hair and will save you money in return.

    Comment by Candace D — February 21, 2014 @ 9:58 pm

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