Just a thought…

Something I have been pondering since I had my hair done is the difference between high-end and drugstore shampoo/conditioners and if it is really worth forking out the extra cash for the salon brands over the cheap and cheerful.

At my salon appointment at Rush I decided to buy a Kerastase Biotic Bain Bio Recharge Shampoo (for Combination Hair) as it was recommended to help treat my sensitive scalp – a problem I whinge about all too often on this blog.

I am really disappointed to report though, that since using the shampoo for just under two weeks, it seems to have made my scalp worse than ever and really irritated it. So I have stopped using it – which is a real shame when I forked out around £14 for the bottle.

This is what led me to wonder – what is the problem with using drugstore shampoo/conditioners? According to my hair dresser all they do is strip hair and then coat it with silicone to make it soft and shiny, which doesn’t sound good. But then, on second thoughts – if I am left with hair that is clean, soft and shiny then what is the problem? The whole point is so it’s clean and looks good, then why does it matter if *technically* it’s not great for my hair?

In terms of hair I think I am more about the results rather than the method used to get there person. Anyone a high-end devotee? Or happy on the cheap end? Currently I am still using the Cheryl L’Oreal Shampoo and Conditioner alternated with Herbal Essences (shampoo for normal hair, with the lightweight conditioner). Share your thoughts below!



  1. refurbished laptops
    December 23, 2009 / 10:58 am

    Avon do a sensitive scal treatment that you massage in when your hair is damp – I highly recommend it 🙂

  2. December 23, 2009 / 11:17 am

    I’m fed up of hairdressers who ask what shampoo and conditioner you use and then find a reason to moan no matter what you say. Funny, when they make nice commission on the expensive salon products they sell, that there’s always something! I’ve tested this theory at different salons, and whether I say I’m using Sheer Blonde (“well, that can’t be helping!”) or something organic and natural-based from Lush there’s always an issue of some kind…except that one time I happened to already be using the Redken stuff they were flogging (cos I got it in a goodie bag).

    I’m completely with you on this one. Go by results! If it makes my hair look nice, I don’t care if it costs £3 or £30 a bottle. I actually like the pink Kerastase range for coloured hair, but I don’t think it gives much better results than Aussie colour mate – definitely not enough to justify the 3x price.

  3. LizSara
    December 23, 2009 / 11:18 am

    I use Head & Shoulders damage rescue shampoo and conditioner because i’ve found it works hte best on my hair. i don’t think it matters what you use if it cleans your hair and makes it do what you want it to do.

  4. December 23, 2009 / 11:47 am

    For me the best shampoos are the solid ones by LUSH. I’ve only tried high end products a few times and wasn’t thrilled. I didn’t see much of a difference to the drugstore stuff.
    What’s amazing about my favourites (Lush Hybrid, Reincarnate and New Shampoo) is that I need virtually no conditioner, i.e. no more than once a week, despite 2/3 of my hair being dyed. And my hair has a great texture without styling.

  5. fordgredial
    December 23, 2009 / 12:29 pm

    This is something I am currently mentally battling with. I have an over the counter scalp shampoo I use around once a week to keep my scalp in control, more regularly when it flares up – I avoid lactose which seems to help. Inbetween I (at the moment) alternate between a tea tree shampoo (currently the source’s product) and herbal essence’s hydration shampoo. My dabble with organic shampoo didn’t work out but I am sticking with organic conditioner.

    Once I’ve used up my current selection of shampoo’s I’m not sure what I want to try next. I did use Tommy Gun’s volumising shampoo and conditioner for a little while and the product was lovely. I think I like high-end drugstore rather than salon products…did used to like Paul Mitchell’s tea tree range as a teenager. x

  6. December 23, 2009 / 1:03 pm

    It’s all hype for no reason. My hairdresser fed me the same spiel about drugstore hair products coating hair with silicones-but if you read the ingredients of Kerastaste and other products, guess what they contain? Silicones!

  7. December 23, 2009 / 3:15 pm

    Oh no I totally agree, shampoo and conditioner is SO something you don’t need to splurge on! I mean you can’t really go wrong with Herbal Essences, can you? 🙂

    Thanks for the comment you left on my blog ^_^;

  8. December 23, 2009 / 5:40 pm

    As a hairdresser myself, I was taught to tell customers that shampoos like Pantene are not good for the hair because of the silicones. But is silicone really bad for the hair? The simple truth is no. It coats the hair to condition it, it avoids damaging the hair & makes your hair feel soft. The only problem with silicones is that it builds up so all you need is a deep cleansing shampoo and use that occasionaly.

  9. December 23, 2009 / 5:41 pm

    The only thing I love about high end shampoo and conditioner is your hair smells like you have just come out of the salon. However I love high-end hair treatments namely Redken Blonde glam treatment to knock out any brassy tones in blonde hair inbetween salon visits, I swear by it! Friends even ask if I have just had my hair done that sold me 😀 x

  10. Anonymous
    December 23, 2009 / 6:26 pm

    There are very few salon products that were worth the spurge for me, mostly drugstore is just as good. I bought a Superdrug Coconut intensive conditioner for under £2 and it excellent, much better then Kerastase. Holland & Barrett Dr Organic Manuka Honey shampoo & conditioner are also fab.

  11. webcake
    December 23, 2009 / 8:49 pm

    Ohhhh my gosh. I have always had this fear that the shampoo I was using was totally ruining my hair, but I also saw the same thing! It cleans it just fine, and it looks fine too, so whatever, right? But my problem is, I have naturally thin hair and I have since I was little…so using the cheaper brands of shampoo does double damage for me. 🙁

  12. Beauty Scribbler
    December 23, 2009 / 9:41 pm

    Hey there Beauty Junkie, great topic! I was about to write a comment here but knew it would end up too long (I can talk for far too long about shampoo and conditioner)!.

    So I have responded on a post in my blog: http://www.beautyscribbler.com/2009/12/shampoo-and-conditioner-difference.html

    But in a nutshell, I totally agree that you don’t need to splurge on “high-end” shampoo and conditioner. If it works and doesn’t leave any negative effects, then stick with it.

  13. Anonymous
    December 24, 2009 / 9:23 am

    I think hair salons just try to sell their own stuff. I bought the salon’s shampoo and cond. a few months ago, Aveda. Started using it, thought it was ok – nothing to write home about. Then time for my next hair cut, the stylist asked what shampoo am I using (She was the one who sold me the stuff!) She said that my hair looked a bit dry and I should use the Aveda stuff. So my point was made they don’t really know their products. I’m back to using Charles worthington.
    (New reader of you’re blog and loving it)

  14. December 25, 2009 / 12:08 am

    Love that my shampoo/conditioner ponderings have caused such a flood of comments! I’m not the only one then that thinks that high-end shampoos are a bit of a waste (from my experience so far anyway).

    Tony – Do you know the name of the Aveda scalp treatment? Would love to try it out.

  15. December 26, 2009 / 8:58 pm

    I switch sometimes between high end shampoos and conditioners as well as drugstore ones. Its only really with the styling products I notice the difference. I used to work for Aveda years ago and I seem to always go back to their products b/c I know a lot about them and how they work on my hair (it saves me the guess work and the money I might waste on something that doesn’t work.)

    I’m new to your blog and enjoy reading it!


    ps~ the Aveda product you asked about in the above post is called Scalp Relief…It is the only thing that really works on me when my scalp gets dry and sensitive. I swear by it!

  16. jenna.lloyd
    December 30, 2009 / 2:59 pm

    Hey Beauty Junkie,

    Great post! It’s a topic that makes me wonder too and I work in the hair industry. I spoke to a friend who is a hair stylist and she also made the point that it’s a good idea to alternate your shampoos so you’re hair doesn’t get used to the product and stops ‘working’ as you suggested whether you use salon professional or high street products.

    Also check out this post if you’re interested further.


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    February 26, 2010 / 6:37 am

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