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Salon Shampoo, Supermarket Shampoo and the “Label Bias” that Afflicts Us All

Hack your way to salon-quality hair.

You sit in your stylist’s chair, a few hundred dollars poorer—but a fresh dye job richer—and just before he or she sends you on your way, an upsell: that you can keep your fabulous new color from fading if you use their salon shampoo. But just how much truth is in this scenario? Are salon shampoo brands really leaps and bounds higher in quality than their drugstore counterparts?

Best Salon Shampoo Results, At Drugstore Prices

salon shampoo for shiny hair
Professional results don’t always have to cost an arm and a leg.

A lot has been said about luxury versus drugstore shampoos, one of them being that salon shampoo and conditioner systems have a higher concentration of nourishing ingredients. Their infusions are touted as more potent, their packaging more chic and premium—and to have professional stylists backing up their claims? The best seal of approval there is. Right?

Well, not quite. There are drugstore products out there that deliver nearly identical benefits to the best salon shampoo and conditioner for that hair type; unfortunately, as studies show, we’ve just been too distracted by shiny things to notice. To wit: A lot of us are somehow conditioned to believe that cheaper products can’t possibly work better than salon shampoos, which is a phenomenon called “label bias.” Yup, it is real (and in fact, apparently affects seven out of 10 women), and we have all been guilty at some point. Who can blame us? Years of growing up hearing that “you get what you pay for,” or (our personal favorite), “pay peanuts and get monkeys!”, and it’s no wonder we’re skeptical when things seem too good to be true.

According to new research, 70 percent of women are actually convinced that expensive brands work better than inexpensive ones. For example, with at-home hair care products such as shampoo, salon brands promise to prolong the integrity of your expensive new color by offering lower-sulfate formulations and even color-boosting pigments. This may all be true, but this doesn’t mean one cannot experience the same benefits at a fraction of the price.

1. Packaging vs. Years of R&D

What drugstore brands lack in shiny, viral packaging, they make up for in intensive product research and development. Extensive scientific expertise goes into these household supermarket products, ensuring they have findings to back up every single claim made on each label.

2. WAWA, or Works As Well As

It’s been months since Suave’s “evaus” social experiment, where the brand went undercover as a chic new niche product catering to beauty-obsessed millennials (complete with millennial pink packaging). The results, as we all know, were a shining testament to Suave’s “Works As Well As” claims, or promises that their lines are just as effective as the top salon shampoo and conditioner duos in the market.

3. Salon Quality, Supermarket Cost

The best of both worlds, with trendy ingredient infusions—these are the core draws of Suave Professionals Avocado + Olive Oil Collection and the Honey Infusion Collection, two of the latest salon-competitive lines from the treasured hair care brand. We’ve put them to the test in several occasions, against various hair types (curly, straight, dry and damaged) and are happy to report that it is possible to enjoy salon-quality results without the price tag. In millennialspeak, they’ve hacked around it and proven that women everywhere can have their cake and eat it too. It’s about time!

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