Supermarket shampoos or salon?

I bet you are wondering how big the difference between salon Shampoos and supermarket shampoos?

Do you buy your shampoo from a hair salon or just grab the cheapest one in the supermarket aisle?  Does it really make any difference to your hair? Does shampoo really matter?

Yes, according to hair product experts, but whether you care about it depends on your hair type, and how you like it to feel.


Brands make all sorts of claims about what their products can do for your head, and needless to say, hair care is big business.  The research and development that goes into the product is absolutely enormous.

However, the amount that goes into their packaging and imagery is massive too.

In 2018, the global hair care market is estimated to be worth about 87.9 billion U.S. dollars!!

This is massive, don’t you agree?

What actually is shampoo and why do we use it?

The main function of shampoo is that of a detergent designed to remove oil from your scalp and hair.

The oil in your hair is called sebum, produced by the sebaceous glands all over your body.  It is mostly noticed on the hair, it oozes out over the hair fibres to help the hair be smoother, stronger and makes it sit better on the body.

Sebum is a fatty oil, so stuff in the air sticks to it quite well — this is why your hair takes on smells, compared to the rest of your body.

What is in shampoo? Is there a difference between salon Shampoos?

Most shampoos clean away the oil with chemicals known as surfactants, such as sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), also known as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).  It is the same way that soap or washing-up liquid works, simply stripping the hair of unwanted oils and dirt.

Other ingredients are there to add colour, provide fragrance, keep the ingredients stable to increase shelf life and help the ingredients stay uniformly mixed to maintain a suitable pH.

Theoretically you could use your washing up liquid, but removing all the oil leaves hair feeling pretty dry, squeaky and static.  The more expensive shampoos tend to also include extra ingredients, mainly conditioners, to leave the hair in better condition.

It’s these conditioning agents and added extras that tend to make the difference between cheap shampoo and a more expensive ones.

Shampoos can often be medicated as well, with fungicides or anti-yeast agents to help tackle problems such as itching and flaky skin.

How to avoid the scampoos!! The difference between salon Shampoos…

Remember that your hair strands are dead, like finger nails, it’s essentially dead cells.  So all those advertisements about bringing your hair back to life —  it’s not coming back to life.

No products can “heal” damaged hair — all they can do is coat the hair strand to change the appearance or how manageable it is.

Many brands do this with silicone, which makes the hair feel smooth and shiny, but some people find this builds up over time and makes their hair heavy.  Some prefer to avoid it for environmental concerns.  If you do get a build up, this is where you can follow the vinegar tip here.

Read the label

It is a good idea to read the back of the bottle of shampoo or conditioner to work out just what’s in it.  For example, ingredients ending is “cone” are types of silicone.

Salon vs supermarket shampoo

While everyone’s hair is made of exactly the same stuff, the way it behaves varies from person to person.  This is why there are so many options when it comes to what we stick on our hair.

One of the problems with trying to pick the right shampoo is that most of us don’t really know what type of hair we have.

We might pick a shampoo for oily hair, and then find our hair is stripped of too much oil, leaving it hard to manage and feeling a bit brittle. We’re then likely to blame the brand for making a bad shampoo.

If you’re buying it through the salon then you can rely on the hairdressers to recommend the right product for the customer.  The stuff they sell in the supermarkets tends to be more generic.

Solid shampoo bars are growing in popularity, with some customers looking to them as an option to reduce plastic packaging. Solid bars are often made of very similar ingredients to liquids, but some people find them more drying.  Again, read the ingredients to see if a solid shampoo will work for you, and don’t forget to use a conditioning agent after if your hair needs it.

To sum it up…

  • The cheapest shampoos are mostly just detergents that remove the oil from your hair.
  • More expensive brands typically add other ingredients that makes your hair feel nicer and easier to manage after it’s washed. Using a conditioner after shampooing for those with drier hair is a real help.
  • Finding the right shampoo for you depends on your hair type and what you want it to do — the most personalised products are sold through salons where a hairdresser can help you choose.
  • How much you spend, how often you wash and even if you wash your hair is all up to you and what you want.

Lots of love

That’s all for now.  If you want to know more about our packages at LA Beauty, have a look here.

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Any questions, just ask…

Much love.

Louisa Ashforth Signature