Why Purchasing Salon Products Is Better Store Brands and Knockoffs

My name is Kimberly Creekmore, Owner of Cultivate, La Mesa premiere hair salon and founder of Salon Professionals of San Diego. I have been in the beauty industry for 10 years. If you ask my family and my friends, they would tell you that I have been doing hair for as long as someone would let me get close to them with scissors, hair color or a pair of clippers.

I am passionate about my industry and even more passionate about taking care of my clients and friends. I wanted to start addressing some common questions and problems that people have when visiting their hairdresser. I asked my clients, friends, and Facebook followers to help guide this and the next 4 articles that I will be sharing with you. The second most requested topic; salon products versus store bought brands and knockoffs.  

With so many options on where you can purchase your home hair care products, it is no wonder so many people are overwhelmed when choosing their shampoo or styling products. Marketers are experts at choosing colors, branding layouts, and keywords to grab your attention. Big name stores will carry approximately 600 different kinds of shampoo, conditioner and styling products, and this doesn’t include the different skin care options available. Some claim to be a variety of things such as sulfate free, organic, alcohol free etc; but what does it all mean and how does it affect you?

Your Stylist Knows Your Hair

When consulting with your hairstylist, he or she will be looking at your hair type and asking questions on how you are styling day to day, and what challenges you are having with your hair

This gives them a strong understanding on what products to recommend.

If you have fine, frizzy hair and desire volume, volumizing shampoo may create more frizz. Store bought brands make claims that could have the opposite effect on certain hair types. Hair stylists understand the complex chemistry involved and can recommend the right combination fro you — such as using a light smoothing shampoo with a volumizing spray to create volume in the desired areas. Your stylist should be able to come up with the best possible solution. 

The number one complaint I hear from new clients is that they can never get their hair to look the same when they get home. They often feel intimated when trying to recreate the look with the products already on their vanity.

Salons Know the Product Line They are Selling

  • Most salons provide brand product knowledge training for their stylists 
  • Training makes the stylist an expert in that brand
  • Allows stylists to make accurate recommendations based on hair type and manufactures direction

Home hair care is like baking a cake!

In order to get the best at home styling experience, it is recommended that you purchase the items used to create your style while in the salon.

I like to think about beauty products like ingredients, you need to start with a quality shampoo/conditioner, something for smoothing or volume, and you may need a finishing product like a shine or hairspray.

If you opt to use something from a big name store that leaves a buildup and use that finishing shine from your hairdresser, the combination may leave your hair greasy and unmanageable. However, if you purchased the recommended shampoo and conditioner with the finishing shine, your result at home would be successful.

Why Inexpensive Shampoo is not the Best Option

You can compare shampoos like you can compare a cheap bottle of wine to a more expensive bottle. Both are made from similar ingredients and processes. Higher end salon products are typically more costly, but they are also used with a higher quality list of ingredients and sold only to professional salons. Inexpensive brands require more product, wasting money, and have fillers and preservatives that are harsh on your hair.

Can you trust what the bottle is telling you?

Is that sulfate free, color safe, $4 bottle of shampoo really making your color last longer? 

  • Remember marketing sells products en masse
  • Lesser known ingredients may be stripping color and creating buildup
  • Any professional brand bought at a big name store or on Amazon may not have the same consistency, concentration, or color you would get when you are purchasing directly from the salon 
  • Products may be old and often are more expensive at a big name store or on Amazon
  • Your hairdresser works everyday with the salon product and gets real life results and feedback on how it works

When shopping for products at home stores or online, read the labels and keep in mind some of these key items to make the best choice. 

Alcohol in your product isn’t always a bad thing

While some of the alcohol in your product can cause dryness in your hair and on your skin, alcohol may also trap desired moisture and create healthy barriers on the hair that will provide the look you want.

Here is a list of the good and bad alcohols you can use as guide

Below is the “bad alcohol” list

  • Alcohol, ethanol, ethyl alcohol
  • Isopropanol, isopropyl alcohol, IPA
  • Methanol, methyl alcohol
  • Benzyl alcohol (usually used as a preservative, ok if you see it towards the end of the ingredient list)

Below is the “good alcohol” list

  • Myristyl alcohol: emollient
  • Cetyl alcohol: emollient – Stearyl alcohol: emollient, emulsifier
  • Cetearyl Alcohol: mixture of cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol: emollient, emulsifier
  • Behenyl alcohol: emollient, emulsifier
  • Lanolin alcohol: emollient, emulsifier  May cause allergic reaction in some people.

What is a Paraben?

Parabens are widely used in hair care products as a preservative. Recently they have been associated with being “estrogen disruptive” and have been found present in some malignant breast tissue. However, the U.S Food and Drug Administration and the world health administration deems them safe at low levels.

That being said, when you are typically using over 15 different hair and skin care products during the day; how can we know that we are staying at safe levels? The most common parabens are butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben.

What is a sulfate and why is it bad?

Sulfates are cleaning agents (detergents) and you will find them in most industrial and home cleaning products, also know as Sodium laurel sulfate (SLS).

Commonly seen in

  • Engine Degreasers
  • Floor Cleaners
  • Bath Products
  • Anything that creates suds

In the same way that SLS dissolves the grease on your car engine, it also dissolves the oils on your skin, and can cause some of the following conditions:

  • Dries hair and scalp
  • Can cause or can worsen eczema, dandruff, and other scalp conditions
  • Can Clogs your pores 

*The FDA grants the Cosmetics Industry the right of self regulation, They can use almost any product for their shampoo as long as it is not in itself known to be carcinogenic. 

Your Salon Purchases Helps Small Businesses

Since most salons are operated by local small business owners, your purchases help keep that small business thriving. Product sales make up 5-15% in business revenue. This income can go towards bringing in more eduction, services, and benefits for you.

Please Support your Local Salon Hair Stylists!

When purchasing your home hair care products, it’s hard to say that the products from the big name stores are terrible. Any soap, really, will do the job of cleansing the hair. However, if you are looking for styling results, soft, healthy hair that shines, consult your hair stylist. They have the education and expertise to steer you towards the best product for your budget.

Pro Tip:

Keep a jar on your vanity, and use the saved change for more expensive products.

If you are looking for someone to listen to your hair needs and challenges, and create a look to fall in love with, book your free consultation today!

Cultivate La Mesa is a 5 Star business on Yelp!


*Sources used in this article found:

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