Salon Products Versus The Grocer 

My name is Kimberly Creekmore, Owner of HairLoveDesignLLC, Cultivate 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 question 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 vs the Grocer 

With so many options where to buy 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, andkeywordss 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, for example, sulfate free, organic, alcohol free etc; but what does it all mean and how does it affect you?

Why getting your beauty care products from your hairdresser, takes away the stress of searching through countless products, disappointing results, and brand bombardment.

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, and what challenges you are having with your hair

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

 For example, 

If you have fine, frizzy hair and desire volume. A volumizing shampoo may create more frizz. But using a light smoothing shampoo with a volumizing spray, will 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 recommend that you purchase the items used to create your style.

I like to think about beauty products like ingredients, you’ll 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 likely be successful.

Why inexpensive shampoo may not be the best purchase

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 Processed similarly. Like with shampoo, a higher end salon product will use quality ingredients. It will have less fillers, be gentle on the hair, and won’t create buildup.

  • Professional brands tend to be highly concentrated, you need less, and waste less.

You have no idea what you are really buying

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

  • Remember marketing key words sell. 
  • Lesser know 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 constancy, 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.

Your purchase in the salon helps small business

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, or just help keep the salon afloat. Even when the convenience of shopping big name stores can out weigh that trip to the salon.

Let’s break down some key words when buying new product

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. (All alcohols are not created equal – Good and bad alcohol in skincare,

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 are butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben.

 What is a sulfate and why is it bad?

Sulfates are cleaning agents (detergents) a 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 lathering truth about sulfates in your shampoo,

*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. 

When purchasing your home hair care products, it’s hard to say that the products from the big name stores are bad. Any soap will do the job of cleansing the hair. So keep in mind that if you want to make sure you have quality products that don’t create buildup, have products that are custom picked for you based on your hair needs, you will need to consult your hairdresser.

Please support your hairdresser and in turn, your hair will be healthy, soft and shine! 


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, contact Kim Creekmore at, or visit Instagram @HairLoveDesign

5 Star business on Yelp!