Store bought Vs Professional hair products


It’s a question I get asked a lot and decided to finally address it. 

I’ve been a professional hairdresser for 22 years and not only do I have a passion for my craft,  I’m just as passionate about the science of hair and how hair products help to achieve and maintain healthy hair.

I’ve heard people say that both professional and none professional products have the same ingredients or they are similar.  Yes they maybe similar to some professional products but not the same at all and some professional products are leaps and bounds away from store brought products i.e Supermarkets, Boots, Lush, Superdrug and even Sallys to name a few.  Even some professional products are not great, especially if a name has been put to endorse a product, you got to be very carful not to get sucked into advertising or miss leading wording or claims.   So let me explain.

Take makeup as an example.  You wouldn’t purchase a value brand and expect professional results.  They maybe similar but they are different in every other way.  Why is this?  Because of the amount of quality ingredients and research that has been invested into producing a premium product.

Shampoo works in the same way but we’ve been duped by advertising.  We have grown up being fed false information. 

Cheep products contain things like non-soluble silicon’s.  Which are very different to more expensive soluble silicones which break down with water. My preference is to use products with no silicones at all.  Store brought products will contain non-soluble silicon’s that will coat the hair giving the illusion of silky soft,  smooth,  shiny and strong hair which basically means it leaves a film of plastic on the hair.

The worst is that they also coat the scalp,  this is a worry as when it builds up on the scalp it can stop the natural hair cycle of letting old hair be released,  which can prevent  new hair from growing which In turn affects the hair bulb.  Leading to one of the issues of thinning hair.

“My hair is greasy”  

This is often due to shampoo being too harsh often due to sulphites or another hash cleansing agent.  These will rid your scalp of any sebum ( natural oil) and cause your sebaceous gland to try and compensate for what has been taken away,  thus giving you greasy hair.  This then becomes a vicious cycle of needing them again to rid your scalp of the excess sebum.

It will also dry your hair out and cause huge colour fade. You’ll then try to rectify the issue with conditioner which will coat your scalp and hair in a thick non-soluble silicone and make it lank, lifeless and you’ll soon need to wash it again!

The normal reaction to this, is to then go for a shampoo that has a specific purpose. Sometimes this is needed,  but that is more the exception rather than the rule.

 Greasy hair.  These shampoos will often be a lot harsher and you probably best off with a good well-balanced professional shampoo,  which can take between a week and three months to recover from what you last used on it.

 Sensitive scalp.  Again a well-balanced professional shampoo with a good PH level,  no hash ingredients and perfumes will normally be the solution. 

 Dandruff.  Often a dry scalp being white flakes are confused with dandruff.  Dandruff is fungal and is often yellow in colour,  looks like cradle cap.  This is due to years of false advertisements playing on our insecurities.  
If it is dry then a dandruff shampoo is the worst thing to use.  Your scalp needs moisture and not using hash cleansing agents.  

You’ll also have the illusion that your hair is protected while using these store products from heat damage and that you are strengthening your hair when you’re mostly coating it in a plastic film. 

This will massively limit your options when it comes to colour change. What you can do in regards to e.g lightening your hair will not stand the test of time even if it looked ok leaving the salon. The hair structure needs to be feed within to allow chemical process to be carried out, not just using products that give the illusion of healthy hair.

“My shampoo stopped working after a while and I need another brand”  

Shampoo doesn’t stop working.  Your hair needs may change but it can’t stop working.
Certain products will create a build up over time. Then you’ll notice it and not be happy but that means it was never working,  it was only ever heading for one outcome being disappointment. 

Professional products are designed with the idea that a professional will pick the exact products for your hair type and need.  In time you need to change because its done its job i.e made your hair stronger and now you can retain moisture so you use a hydration product instead, if that was required.

“Great hair doesn’t happen on its own! What you put in you get out!”

The choice is yours and we all value things differently.  If we look after our selves in every other way,  why do we cut corners with our hair and then complain that we have weak, damaged,  dry,  frizzy and unmanageable hair?
Only way for healthy hair is to eat well, have regular cuts every 6 weeks and use great products.

Store hair care products are a false economy! They tend to contain round 80% water and 20% product.  While the professional products I use only contain 40% water and 60% product.  With a small amount of product going a very long way! 

Especially when there are detox products that have a unique way to remove dirt and grease leaving the scalp and hair in great condition.  

How much do you use?  When we use the right products, e.g with active naturally based working ingredients in the right way,  the results are amazing!
I tend use less than 10 pence amount of shampoo and only 5 pence amount of conditioner. Great products go along way. 

Your hair will grow and you’ll have overall longer, fuller, stronger, younger healthy hair from root to the very end.  It will be manageable,  easy to style and by listening to your professional hairdresser can look fantastic every day!

“It’s the best accessory you will wear every day, why wouldn’t you invest in it” 

Who’s got time for bad hair! Believe in your hairdresser, it’s not only about the cut it’s about the condition and health of your hair we want you to have.

Alan Short

Alan Short