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  • Writer's pictureBeau Sutton

The Secret Behind Shampoo & Conditioner

Uncovering the lies of big store brands plus how to pick the best shampoo & conditioner for your hair

Woman with shampoo bottle with suds in background

The lies we are told.

When we see commercials about shampoo or marketing on hair care products, we are promised the world. Garnier shows people with long hair that you can tie in a knot while Suave says they are “stylist recommended”. I’m here to tell you this is all LIES!

First off, I would like to say I have NEVER in my 10 years as a stylist heard a professional recommend Suave shampoo. It was originally used to strip hair of hair color in the salon back in the 70’s. It is a harsh product that will lead to an unhealthy scalp.

On top of this, most commercials depicting people frolicking in a field having a fantastic hair day have a small line of verbiage at the bottom of the screen that says “dramatization”... there’s a reason for that. The hair is often extensions and styled within an inch of its life.

What are the facts?

Shampoo and conditioners are chemical compounds, and they react with our biology, so we should look to science for these answers. While a cut and color is fantastic, one of the tools we as stylists rely on to get our results is the products we use on your hair. In the professional hair industry, there are many competing products that you must choose from. Since we use them day in and day out to gain best results these companies are constantly reformulating.

Humans have a pH of 4.5 to 5.0 which is acidic. Take Mane and Tail for example. This shampoo was created to be used on horses. Horses have a pH of 7.5 to 7.8 which is more neutral. Many drug store shampoos are between 8.0 and 9.0 which is alkaline. Hair reacts to alkaline pH by opening the cuticle which will leave your hair frizzy and brittle. Your scalp tries to balance out your pH by over-producing oil. This happens because they use cheap materials and spend very little on reformulations.

Some shampoos combat this by adding wax. This leaves a build up on your hair that keeps growing every time you use it. After repeated use your hair is dry and frizzy with a layer of WAX. So much for their pro vitamin complex. Bar shampoos typically have the wrong pH and a large amount of sulfates, which strip your hair of its natural oils causing the scalp to produce large amounts of oil. The products they use to keep the bar solid often create a build up as well.

An alkline pH is so bad for your hair that when left on can be used as a perm solution that can permanently curl, straighten, or melt your hair. Alkalinity in shampoo leaves your cuticle wide open so your expensive hair color falls out and also allows other icky things in the air to soak into your beautiful locks.

So, who can you trust?

Now that I have fed you all the drug store shampoo horror stories I'm sure you're curious how to find the right product for you. The answer is your hair stylist!! Since we are on the frontlines, the best products are working to get our approval. Your stylist cares about so many topics beyond the products ability to perform like; sustainability, animal testing, allergens, ect.

The best companies are constantly listening to stylists feedback to improve their products, then they pour a ton of money into their products' chemical makeup to create the best product possible. When we, as stylists, complain they make changes!

In addition, the trusted professional beauty companies spend a lot of time and effort educating stylists on these changes so that we are able to make an informed decision to use it as a tool on your hair. Because of this we are able to educate you on the best products for your specific hair type, style, and treatment.

Finding the right hair products:

Tip #1 - Don’t buy for convenience

As I mentioned— the major brands are lying to you! Just because it’s easy to find doesn’t make it good. You could end up damaging your hair by using over the counter products filled with harsh chemicals.

Tip #2 - Educate yourself on your hair

Learn about your specific hair type, style, and treatment. This will help you make more informed decisions on purchasing the right product for YOU! Which leads us to…

Tip #3 - Ask your stylist

Your stylist can help guide you to the right product for your specific needs. We’ve spent years educating ourselves on the science of hair and are happy to impart our wisdom. We’ll have suggestions based on what we already know about your hair. But ask us questions!

Be clear with your stylist about what you are looking for in your products and I assure you they have all the answers or will get them for you!

Tip #4 - Buy from the salon directly

When buying from your salon you can trust the products to do what’s right for your hair and not cause damage. All salon products are at the proper ph and don’t have hard additives that cause build-up. It is the BEST way to ensure that your hair continues to look great!

Beauty doesn’t have to be a guessing game. This is the very reason stylists and salons exist. We’ve put in the time to educate ourselves so that we can share our knowledge with you. We are here for you, so next time you're in the salon ask us our thoughts and we can point you in the right direction for your best hair days.

In the meantime checkout some of the superior products we carry!


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