Are expensive hair products really worth it?

Are expensive hair products really worth it?

When your hair looks good, you feel good. But does that have to mean filling your bathroom with expensive shampoo? The answer isn’t a straight forward one. For the most part, it’s not too hard to find a drugstore shampoo that can rival the results of a professional one. It’s all really just soap for hair. However, the conditioner you use can serve up the most benefit – assuming you need it.

To explain, the conditioner is essentially just “hair moisturizer”.

Some people need a little hydration, while others with dry, coarse or curly hair types will need a lot. Moisturizing ingredients run the gamut from natural oils to silicones and finding them in any drugstore conditioner at a wallet-friendly price is pretty easy, so there’s no need to buy an expensive salon-quality conditioner. But if you want one and can afford one, why not? Still, there’s a big caveat to all this. If your hair is damaged – it’s a different story.


As an example, 90% of the time, I happily make my way through the world using cheap and cheerful Dove Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture shampoo and conditioner. Currently, it’s all my fine, blonde, color-treated hair needs to look bouncy and clean. Still, the hair gods haven’t always shone on me. Many moons ago, my crazy ex-hairdresser forgot he’d put me in a bleach bath. Once he’d finally emerged from the back room where he’d had a ripper of a fight with someone over the phone, he got to have another one with me – a new and unwilling platinum blonde who certainly wasn’t having more fun. In fact, all I could do was cry.

Fast-forward a teary ten days and I’d soon learned there was a big difference between drugstore and salon-quality conditioner.

And yes, it was definitely worth paying for the good stuff when you need it.

You see, as it turns out, not all conditioners are created equally. In the past, all my hair needed was a lick of the aforementioned Dove conditioner and I’d be good to go. However, during my brief stint as a tattered, washed out of version of Frozen’s Elsa, it just didn’t cut it. I needed something seriously reparative that contained lots of protein, be it from wheat or keratin (the substance found naturally in your hair and nails). While applying these proteins to damaged hair can’t truly fix it, it can bond to the tatters of what natural protein remains and act like a band-aid while you grow out the damage.

So, you’d think something like Suave Keratin Infusion conditioner could do the trick, right? Nope. Not really. While all reparative conditioners should contain proteins the major difference between the wallet-friendly types and the professional kind, is the amount (Suave’s product only contains a smidge) as well as the size of the molecule. To best penetrate your hair, they have to be teeny tiny.

Having initially tried the protein-heavy drugstore products, they didn’t give me any joy.

My hair still felt like fuzz and combing it out was a nightmare. Now, enter this story’s hero – Kerastase Masquintense! Just a few dollops was all I needed to turn my fuzzy, frazzled mane back into soft, touchable silk! Phew! (The color I was stuck with – but at least my hair wasn’t getting stuck in my brush!)

So, what’s the takeaway here? In short, if you can get away with using drugstore products then good on you. But if your hair is damaged, you’ll find that professional products formulated to mitigate that will be the most effective. To date, I’m still using Dove every day. But the day – God forbid – I need a bit more help, I won’t hesitate to reach for the more expensive stuff. Here’s hoping that day isn’t any time soon!

Bathroom Empire is a first of its kind online magazine that merges the bathroom industry with storytelling – from humorous parenting stories to heartfelt wellness articles, not to mention books/films/pop culture and so much more.

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