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 • Beauty Tips  • Professional Haircare Products: Are They Better Than Our Drugstore Holy Grails? 

Professional Haircare Products: Are They Better Than Our Drugstore Holy Grails? 

Last year I decided to truly invest in the health and appearance of my hair. I decided to stop using drugstore products and do some research on what the most popular and best-rated haircare products are. Believe me when I tell you that I invested a lot of my money, time, patience, and effort into my hair

I have to admit, it did get healthier. However, that’s not only due to the products that I was using. I changed a lot of my haircare habits as well. Stopped heat-styling it every day, never skipped on conditioner, put my hair up into protective hairstyles while sleeping. Also, I finally stopped box-dyeing it.

While I was home for the holidays at the end of 2022, I forgot to pack most of my fancy haircare products. I had no other option than to use my mom’s drugstore shampoo and conditioner. I combined them with the few leave-in products that I thankfully did remember to put in my vanity case. 

To my surprise — my hair looked just as good as it did after using my high-end shampoo and conditioner. Therefore I couldn’t help but wonder: Are professional haircare products better than their drugstore counterparts? 

Drugstore vs Salon Products 

There is a never-ending battle between drugstore and high-end or luxury products. Some people claim that you are only paying for the brand and the packaging. Other people swear on these more luxurious formulations. For me, it’s always been a mix of both. While I’m perfectly aware of the fact that there are solid products that can be bought at the drugstore, some more expensive products just work better.

It can be that the texture or formulation is more elegant. Or that the concentration of the active ingredient is simply higher. Either way, sometimes you are getting what you’re paying for. But is that also the case with haircare? Most salon owners will tell you that professional products are the only way to go. But you have to remember that most of them will also offer to sell you those products straight from their salon. So they just have to be a little biased. 

In reality, there are great drugstore products and awful salon products. And vice versa. It doesn’t only depend on the product itself, but it also depends on your hair type and what your major concerns are. Most of the products that are found in haircare products, such as surfactants, silicones, natural oils, or fatty alcohol, aren’t expensive. That means that they are accessible to both drugstore and salon brands. 

What is worth your money?

Certain products can’t be replaced by drugstore dupes. For example, Olaplex has a patented bond-building haircare ingredient. That means that you can’t find this specific ingredient in any other haircare products except the ones that are sold by this brand. So if you are looking to invest your money into something, then products such as bond builders are a great choice. 

On the other hand, products such as shampoos or basic conditioners can be bought at the drugstore. Don’t underestimate drugstore brands and their newest products. The quality of these products has increased significantly in the last couple of years. If you know what you are looking for you can find some great options even at a lower price point. The most important thing is how committed you are to taking care of your hair. 

I believe that I was much less likely to skip conditioner or destroy my hair with heat once I switched to professional products. The reason was simple — I wanted to get the most out of my money. However, now that I have implemented these habits into my everyday haircare routine, I’ll be just as fine after washing my hair with more affordable haircare alternatives.


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