Are Drugstore Shampoos Bad For Your Hair?

Price has and will always be one of the foremost factors in determining what to buy or not. So, it is hardly surprising that drugstore hair products such as shampoos are getting lots of people’s attention. 

Drugstore shampoos are several times less expensive than salon shampoos and claim to give you the same desired result. A reliable source revealed that in 2019, the average cost of leading shampoo brands was between $1.83 and $6.16.

Despite this revelation, most professional hairstylists would have you opt for the more expensive salon shampoos. The question then is, are drugstore shampoos bad for your hair?

Drugstore Beauty Products On Display
Drugstore Beauty Products On Display

What are drugstore products and shampoos? 

Drugstore products include everything that a pharmacy or drugstore sells and at budget prices. It follows that most shampoos that are sold in drugstores are named so as well. They are easy to identify as they have the following features.

  • Feature high-grade ingredients
  • Relatively low prices (as low as $2)
  • High pH often above 8

Why People Consider Drugstore Shampoos As Bad

People’s fears about drugstore shampoos are not unfounded. Here are five reasons they are right to think so.

Ingredients Are Diluted

People fear that though drugstore shampoos claim to have the same ingredients as high-grade shampoos, they are only in sparse presence. Consequently, you may not get as much as you need from these essential ingredients to deal with your hair problems.

That is technically true. Most of these ingredients, such as essential oils, are not that cheap. You can only imagine just how much of it can be truly present in the commoner brands.

Shampoos Hub x
Shampoos Hub

Presence of Harsh Chemicals

Drugstore products may resort to using some harmful chemicals to give you your desired result. There is no guarantee that you are going all-natural even when the ingredients list states so.

For example, it may not be sulfate-free since most use Sodium Lauryl Sulphate as a surfactant and lathering agent. This chemical can excessively dry up the natural skin oil and cause sensitive scalps much discomfort.

Or, some utilize silicon to give your hair a shiny look. Silicon buildup is dangerous because it clogs your pores, dis-allowing them to breathe and absorb essential minerals.

These ingredients make the list of chemicals considered dangerous for your hair.

They Often Leave Residues

Low-cost shampoos make use of fillers to make up their volume. You can only expect that these unnecessary ingredients may not be absorbable, hence, the presence of residues after use.

These residues can make your hair look awful and require some work to get them off. Besides, these are potential pore-clogging agents, putting you at risk of several scalp problems.

Higher Comparative Cost

Drugstore shampoos lack concentration. It follows that you will eventually have to use several quantities of them to get the desired effect. 

Meanwhile, the costlier options are highly concentrated and require little quantity during usage. A single purchase would last longer.

That means you may end up spending more, in the long run, buying a drugstore shampoo instead of a salon shampoo.

No Warranty From Manufacturer

Drugstore shampoos hardly come with the option to return if it isn’t doing as it says. What do you expect from a $4 shampoo anyway?

Meanwhile, professional shampoo products often have warranties, which makes you confident that you are not gambling with your purchase.

Benefits Of Drugstore Shampoos

Despite all of these flaws, drugstore shampoo products do not lack patronage. Let’s examine some reasons why they remain the shampoo to beat sales-wise.

They are highly affordable

Not everyone can afford expensive shampoos, knowing that you have to use them frequently. On the other hand, you can get drugstore shampoo at low prices that you can afford.

Wide Variety

For effectiveness, many drugstore shampoo products are now more specific in action. That allows them to channel their ingredients to fulfill individual needs.

As a result, you can get excellent results from anyone you buy as long as the one you select corresponds with your needs.

Mild Concentration of Ingredients

While many would count the sparse presence of ingredients in the shampoo as a disadvantage, sensitive scalps would love them just the way they are.

A high concentration of ingredients could itself pose some problems to some sensitive skins. The meager presence of ingredients implies mild action on the hair and scalp.

You can use these ‘inferior shampoos’ regularly without as many adverse effects as you may get from the expensive and concentrated shampoos.

How To Identify The Best Drugstore Shampoos For You

Get The Best Drugstore Shampoo For You
Get The Best Drugstore Shampoo For You

Much of the arguments against drugstore shampoos come from people’s encounters with unfavorable ones. Here is how to select the best drugstore shampoos for your use.

Read the ingredients

Many depend on reviews from purchasers to make their decisions on which product to buy. While this can be helpful, it can also be misleading.

Individual experiences would differ while using these products for several reasons. Taking responsibility is crucial, and it begins with checking the ingredients of the product you want to buy.

What makes up the shampoo is the most important thing you should know before choosing it. As a guide, avoid shampoos with any of the following ingredients:

  • Sodium chloride: May cause eye irritation, dry and itchy scalp, increased brittleness of hair, and even hair loss.
  • Parabens: Although the FDA has nothing against it owing to insufficient information from researchers to indict it, yet, there are reports that they trigger allergies. 
  • Sulfates: Can aggravate the condition of those with sensitive skins and other skin blemishes. It increases hair and scalp dryness.
  • Polyethylene glycol: Can cause irritation of nostrils, eyes, and eventual harm to the nervous system.
  • Dimethicone: Builds up in the hair and causes clogging of pores
  • Phthalates: non-friendly to the environment and possible hormonal disruption.
  • Formaldehyde: Flagged as cancerous to the skin.
  • Alcohol: Causes excessive dryness of hair and eventually, breakage.
  • Toluene: Poses problems to developmental and reproductive health.

Another piece of advice on deciding the best drugstore shampoos is to choose shampoos with fewer ingredients. The more they are, the less you stand a chance of identifying them and their functions.

Go Natural As Much As Possible

Products with natural ingredients are generally milder but no less effective than the chemically-composed ones.

For example, soapy plant extracts such as soapwort and buffaloberry are plants with soap properties that can replace SLS and other chemical cleaners and detergents in some shampoos.

You should note that some products can contain a mix of natural ingredients and chemically formulated ones. These are still much better than those comprising synthetic ingredients only.

Know Your Skin And Hair Type

While some shampoos from the drugstore can be a revelation to some users, they may be a nightmare to others. The difference in result lies in their skin and hair type.

For example, we know that the usual recommendation is to buy a sulfate-free shampoo. But if you have a very oily scalp, dermatologists may recommend products containing sulfates, so long your scalp isn’t sensitive.

For dry hair, a drugstore shampoo rich in oils like avocado would come in handy. That would help increase the softness of your hair and moisturize it, thereby reducing its tendency to break.

Let your shampoo choice match your needs. That’s the crux of the matter.

Be Sensitive

Do you remember that adage that says the proof of the pudding is in the eating? Trying out some of the drugstore shampoos is still the only way to find out if it is perfect for you or not.

Using the selection process described above, you would likely find more than one ticking the boxes. You must choose one and try it.

After purchasing a drugstore shampoo, observe whatever effect it has on your hair when you begin to use it. If negative, you must discontinue at once.

Suggested Drugstore Shampoos For Your Use

Final Thoughts

You are right to think of drugstore shampoos as inferior, but we cannot tag them bad as some people choose to do.

Some hair types do not require more than drugstore shampoos can provide, while others demand much more quality. It’s all down to the kind of hair that you have.

When using a drugstore shampoo, thoroughly screen the ingredients, and of course, let your expectations from it be moderate. 

While we agree that being expensive does not always correlate with quality, it is also undeniable that quality products often cost more than others.

Therefore, we advise that you spare a dime to get the best products for your hair. Don’t hesitate to buy salon shampoos if they are the only ones that can give you that desired hair.

Edna Feber

I’m Edna. I'm here to guide you about hair products and maintenance tips. You'll fine here product reviews regarding hair tools, hair color, hair care and more along with tips to keep your hair healthy!

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