Salon Shampoo vs. Supermarket Shampoo: Is There Really a Difference?

Alterna Ten Shampoo, $60
I can't count the number of times stylists have asked what kind of shampoo and conditioner I use as they examined my hair for the first time.


"Pantene," I generally say. The look I get from them in response ranges from deep pity to thinly veiled disgust. 


I've yet to meet a stylist who doesn't believe that salon shampoo is infinitely superior to supermarket brands.


Me? I'm not so sure ...



There was a time when I exclusively used salon shampoo on my hair. I wouldn't have touched the supermarket brands for anything.

Then I got my first apartment and my first job.

Goodbye, salon shampoo. Hello Pantene.

Pantene Pro-V, $6.99

I consider Pantene to be the gold standard of supermarket shampoos and conditioners, based solely on the fact that my hair has responded really well to it. These days, I could afford salon shampoos (the $60 shampoo pictured above excluded), but I just don't have the time or energy to make a special trip to a salon or beauty supply store to pick up shampoo and conditioner. So Pantene it is for me.

Occasionally, I have strayed into salon shampoo territory with Bedhead, Aveda, and Paul Mitchell products. They certainly smell divine, but I haven't noticed any real difference in the volume or texture of my hair.

What does seem to make a difference is minimizing the use of hot rollers, straighteners, curling irons, and hair dryers. I rarely have more than a few minutes to spend on my hair these days, so it's most often left in its natural state and frankly, since I've become a mom, it's never been in better shape.

Now that I've pontificated on my shampoo/conditioner philosophy, I want to know what you think about this debate. Are salon shampoos really better? Or are they just a way to part a fool and her money?

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