Differences Between Salon and High Street Products

Jul 12, 2022

It’s an age-old issue. You finish cutting and styling a customer’s hair — and it looks stunning, of course. You turn to them and ask, “What products do you use on your hair?” 

They smile, nonchalant, and reply, “Oh, you know. Any old supermarket brand.” Ouch. 

Differences Between Salon and High Street Products

Unfortunately, customers are often unaware of the benefits of using a salon product, as opposed to a high street product. There are significant differences between using salon and high street products, which render salon products better for your hair. 


Arguably one of the most apparent differences between salon and high street products is the ingredients that are used. 

Salon products contain highly concentrated amounts of high-grade ingredients. These are often things such as essential oils, vitamins, and botanical extracts, all of which nourish your hair and keep it looking and feeling healthy.

By contrast, the cheaper shampoos and conditions that are often found in supermarkets or high street drugstores use smaller amounts of the ‘good stuff’ and have higher amounts of ‘filler’ ingredients. These tend to be chemicals, things such as sulphates, silicones and parabens, all of which provide very little benefit for the actual health of your hair.


Silicones, for example, are added to control frizz; however, they are hydrophobic and repel water. Long term use of products that contain silicones can lead to a build-up of silicone in hair, forming a sort of ‘film’ around the hair, which effectively keeps moisture out of the hair. This is particularly troublesome for those with low porosity hair (you can read our blog on that here), or who are already prone to dryness. 


Sulphates such as sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate are equally of little help in efforts to maintain healthy hair. Sulphates are used to create a lather, and to get rid of dirt and oil from your hair. In the process, however, sulphates tend to strip your hair of its natural oils, which only serves to dry it out and leave it prone to breakage. 

Whilst sulphates and silicones help to make your hair feel nice immediately after it’s been washed, repeated use of products that contain sulphates and silicones can eventually leave your hair brittle and dry. 

Many salon products are moving away from the use of silicones and sulphates, and often use much smaller amounts than is present in high street products. Using salon products will likely be much more beneficial for the health of your hair in the long run. 

What About the Price?

Often, the reluctance of a customer to purchase a salon product instead of a high street product stems from the matter of price. 

Salon products are sold at a higher price than high street brands, but this is not without reason. As mentioned previously, the quality of products used in salon products are of a higher quality than their high street counterparts. The use of such ingredients plays into the higher cost of salon products relative to high street products. The use of fillers in high street products reduces costs. 

Customers should not let the price of salon products put them off. In fact, using salon products can end up being more cost effective in the long run. The high concentration of ingredients in salon products means that a far smaller amount of product can be used in hair care routines. 

Whilst you might use a dollop of supermarket-bought shampoo, a 50p-sized blob of a salon-bought equivalent would suffice — meaning that salon products actually last far longer than those from the high street, and so will be bought much less frequently. 

In the long-run, having to constantly rebuy high street products means you’ll likely end up spending the same amount that you would have on salon products. Why not invest that money in a product that will better look after the health of your hair?


The longevity of salon products has the wonderful added bonus of rendering them more sustainable. Since you’re not rebuying products as often, you equally won’t be throwing out empty plastic bottles as frequently — which the environment will undoubtedly thank you for. 

Less waste goes to landfills, and you don’t have to buy products as often. Everyone’s a winner.  

Salon Quality Hair at Home

Your hair seldom feels better than in the hours after a trip to the salon. But give it a few days and a wash with your usual high street-bought shampoo, and your hair loses that silky, salon-quality feeling. 

By using salon products instead of high street-bought shampoos and conditioners, you’re able to prolong that just-been-to-the-salon feeling. 

Coloured Hair 

Whilst maintaining that salon-quality feels nice, it is also particularly important following a significant hair treatment, such as having your hair coloured. 

Having your hair coloured at the salon is a costly process — and one that might go to waste if non-specialist high street products are used on your hair afterwards, instead of products that will preserve and nourish your hair. If you’ve already invested in having your hair styled, it makes sense to ensure that it remains looking as good as the day you left the salon 

Expert Advice

Buying products from a salon provides you with an experience that you can’t get when buying a high street product — and that’s getting advice from the experts.

Stylists will know exactly what products are best for the customer’s hair, taking into account their hair type and the treatment that it has just undergone. Stylists will be able to offer customers advice and guide them in the right direction. 

This reduces the risk of a customer buying a high street product that won’t suit their hair type, which in turn reduces the risk of the customer damaging their hair. 

Buying from a salon will allow the customer to discover products that they may never have thought to use before, and enable them to learn which products do and don’t work for their hair. 

Overall, salon products are of far more benefit to your hair than their high street counterparts. They will leave your hair looking and feeling wonderful, whilst safeguarding its wellbeing, keeping it well-nourished and hydrated, and preventing brittleness and breakages.