Salon vs. Drug Store Shampoo & Conditioner

Growing up my Mom always told me that those fancy salon shampoos were a waste of money. She’s always been one to buy whatever is on sale, or better yet, what’s on sale AND she has a coupon for. I have for the most part stuck to this philosophy throughout my life, but was always curious. . .would those fancy shampoos and conditioners really give my hair more volume?

Up until recently my curiosity about those higher priced shampoos and conditioners was satisfied with the likes of Pantene and Thermasilk. You know the pricier shampoos and conditioners that would occasionally go on sale but could be found anywhere.

Well, in a moment of desperation and weakness, I gave into the temptation and bought salon shampoo and conditioner. There is a store by my house that holds an annual sale on liters, which means what is normally a $28 bottle of shampoo you can buy for $12. I spent about 20 minutes walking around the store anxiously analyzing at all of these fancy options wondering which promise was most tempting: more volume, anti-frizz, perfectly straight, the list could go on and on.

I finally settled on the more volume option and selected a matching set of Redken shampoo and conditioner with this promise. I was eager, anxious even to wash my hair and see how magnificent my hair would look once it had been washed and condition with these salon products I got for over half off its original price. (I would say drugstore prices, but yeah right, one bottle of this stuff still cost me more than an bottle of shampoo and a bottle of conditioner at the drug store.)

Now, I’m not here to say whether or not over all this is a good or bad shampoo and conditioner, but what I can say is my Mom was right! I was completely let down by the promises made to me by the bottles of this overpriced, and obviously on sale for some reason, shampoo and conditioner. After about 4 uses of this new product I finally figured out that I had to use twice as much conditioner as the “cheaper” versions I had previously used to keep my hair from being a tangled mess.
In the end I learned my lesson, at quite a price I might add, and will be using up this conditioner in record speed only to return to the drug store shampoos and conditioners that fulfill their promises and are at a reasonable price.

Hopefully I can save you the expense and disappointment of trying out those expensive hair care products that try and lure us to use them!


  1. I think you just didn’t get one that was right for you.

  2. i agree with beth. i also know for a fact that shampoo isn’t a quick fix…it’s like if you eat fast food for a week and then have one chicken and veggies (healthy) dinner. you don’t lose any weight… your hair will be reacting to the new goodies for a few days, then it will adjust… give it a grace period! try it for about 3 weeks and then decide. i’m not huge on salon stuff, but i will say that there are several products that i will swear by… at salon prices, they’re still worth their weight in gold!
    happy hair day,

  3. As far as shampoos go, I’m going to have to say I agree with Kate. As the daughter of a salon owner, I grew up only using the latest and greatest shampoos that my mom would bring home for me, but now I now use Herbal Essences ‘Drama Clean’ shampoo. Not because it’s cheaper, but because I like that it doesn’t weigh my hair down, and it smells good. I do still use a salon conditioner, mainly because I use so little (just on the ends of my hair) that I haven’t had a chance to really explore my options.

  4. a friend told me that pantene and fructis (two of my grocery-store go-to’s) are really bad for your hair…especially if use a straightner…cause they leave a residue on your hair which causes your hair to break. it’s so frustrating because there are other things i would rather spend my money on.

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