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Comparison of Salon Hair Care Products and Store Brands

There are different opinions as it relates to the quality and effectiveness of professional hair products and store bought brands. Many experts will agree that these two products are not the same. It is a given that they are different, but how different is the question? How well does one work compared to the other? How do they work on different hair types?

Ph Balance and Acidic Characteristics

Different hair types need different attention as most hairstylists know. The food you consume has a lot to do with the health of your hair. If your body is more inclined to be acidic and less alkaline, then it will show in your hair. The same way that your body has a ph balance, it is the same way that hair products are made with pH balance in mind and some with acidic characteristics. Hair products that tout high pH balance are usually store bought products. The opposite is true of professional hair salon products, which are more acidic in nature.

Experience and Training

Hair salon products are used by hairstylists with years of training and experience in cosmetology. These hairstylists will typically do a thorough hair assessment before recommending or using a hair care product. First, the client’s hair type is the most important aspect of a hair consultation to decide on which product is best.

The Distinct Difference

Store bought hair care products have on major disadvantage and that is they are not personalized to each individual hair type. The ingredients are different than salon hair products. Of course, they both have some similar ingredients, but hair salon products might also have special oils, herbs and vitamins in higher concentrations as compared to the store bought products. That is why one is cheaper than the other.

The Ingredients

Surfactant is one of the most essential ingredients to take a closer look at. This ingredient is what initiates the lather in a hair shampoo product. It is specifically important to clean your hair thoroughly. However, not all surfactant are similar. The brands sold in the professional hair salon, for example, typically has sodium laureth sulfate, which is not as harsh and so is gentler on your hair, even though, it doesn’t have as much lather. The cheaper hair products in stores might have ammonium laurel sulfate as the dominant ingredient, making it more abrasive.

Educate and Inform Clients

Hairstylists should educate and inform their clients about the differences between the store-bought hair products and the hair salon professional brands. Make sure that your clients know:

There are shampoos that are free of sulfate, which might prove to be helpful to clients with sensitivity toward sulfates

  • Salon products are sometimes displayed in department stores, but until you consult with a hairstylist, it is best not to buy these on your own

  • Salon products usually have a quality guarantee unlike the store brands

  • Due to the many manufactured hair products sold in stores, enough attention may not be spent on the product during the manufacturing phase. The opposite is true for salon products


The ideal thing to do is to have your hairstylist use a specific hair salon product after determining your hair type. It is always best to get expert recommendation. Your hair is not something to play with.

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