Are Professional Products Superior?
Updated: Sep 25, 2019
First of all. let me start by saying that if you have a product you absolutely love, no matter where it comes from. keep using it. However, I'm going to explain what makes professional products worth the investment, and why you might consider trying them out. This information is in regards to Redken and Pureology, being as that's what most of my experience is in.
I went on a cruise once and brought an entire suitcase dedicated to hair products, makeup, and styling tools. I was 24 at the time and obviously my hair was my priority. (Not much has changed, obviously. Although now I would be able to choose a few key items and omit the extra suitcase, but I digress.) In my haste, I didn't have time to pick up a can of my favorite professional hairspray, so I purchased a grocery store one just to tied me over and.... gross. it did nothing for me. It basically just wet my hair, made the curl fall out, and made the texture of my hair tangle. And that is when I experienced the real difference between professional products and over the counter ones.
Over the years and through many product knowledge classes, I've been taught the benefits of professional products. First of all, they're more concentrated, so you have to use less and they last longer. Over the counter products are cheaper because they are more diluted and contain more water. Secondly. most professional products are formulated with high quality ingredients to extend the life of color on the hair. They perform other benefits, such as strengthening or moisturizing, but most use ingredients that are color safe. Grocery store products ingredients aren't as high quality (to keep cost down) so color fading is more aggressive. And lastly, salon professionals receive education about professional products. We know the ingredients and the benefits of each product and who should use it. We don't know about grocery store products. so we can't recommend how to use it; nor can we guarantee your results.
But what about professional products you can find at grocery stores? I've been told those products aren't guaranteed by the manufacturer. A lot of times those products are expired or diluted or both. Sometimes the contents aren't even the professional line - its just the packaging on the outside but some off brand on the inside. The bottom line is you just don't know what you're getting.
Consider also, that when you purchase products from your stylist, often you're helping them finance more access to education. Because you buy from them, they're able to put more money towards industry education, which keeps them up to date on new trends and techniques! And you're getting exactly what you need for your specific hair (kind of like a prescription from a doctor).
So now you know some of the benefits of professional products and how they differ from over the counter products. Like I said, if you love something, stick with it. But why not try at least one thing your stylist recommends and see if you can tell the difference?