Do you notice any differences (on average) between more affordable and more expensive hair care?

I have low maintenance hair, so for me, I don’t see a massive difference; a lot of times, it’s in the development of the scent (or the lack of intensity/overpowering scents) and a bit in the texture or how well the product might rinse out or feel in the hair throughout the day.

— Christine


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Mariella Avatar

I only use higher end hair products (though I try to get my shampoo – I go through a LOT because I’ve got thick hair – at Winners/Marshalls). I’m fixated on having smooth, shiny hair (my hair is thick, coarse, wavy and prone to frizz) and I do find that in general, higher end products, especially for conditioning/styling (brands like Kenra, Moroccan Oil, Verb, AG and Kerastase) perform for me a lot better than drugstore brands (mind you, I’ve not tried a drugstore brand in decades).

Ulrika Avatar

Sadly (for my wallet lol): yes. Since switching from L’Oréal to Kevin Murphy and Shu Uemura, my hair now looks like I’ve just left the salon after washing! It air dries smoother, looks glossier and feels softer.

Stephanie Avatar

I have short fine here, and I have tried so many different mousse products for styling to give some volume. I finally tried Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse and it works amazingly well for me. . Of course it’s four times the price of the drugstore stuff but I can get it on sale at Sephora,

liz Avatar

I have 2B/C wavy, coarse hair that is not color treated. I optimize for maximum swirly texture in my haircare routine. Some things I can get away with at drugstore price points: clarifying shampoo and hard-hold gel especially. I vastly prefer higher end shampoos and conditioners (Living Proof’s PHD line in particular is my fave), and I ONLY buy Living Proof dry shampoo now. Batiste just doesn’t cut it anymore.. I’m spoiled!

Swoozy Avatar

Pantene was a gamer changer for me for drug store based haircare – and it’s still something I use for casual days, but when I go to work, I get better, more consistent results (shinier, less frizz, moveable control) with higher end products. The best conditioner I’ve ever used is Sisley (buy it on sale from British retailers) and the best styling creme for me is Alterna Caviar. Leaves my thick, wavy, and partially course hair much softer and smooth.

Michelle Avatar

I have fine thin hair, and living in FL requires me to use anti-frizz products. I use the Living Proof line as it has ingredients that smooth frizz without greasing up my hair.

Cara Avatar

What products from the line do you recommend? My holy grail anti-frizz product, Alterna’s Bamboo Kendi dry oil spray, was discontinued a yr ago and I haven’t found anything that comes close to keeping my baby fine hair frizz free during the brutal summer humidity here in NYC. I prefer a spray over a cream/liquid I need to apply with my hands because I can never distribute it evenly.

Nancy T Avatar

My natural hair texture is quite curly, finer textured making it frizz prone, and there’s a LOT of it! Oh, and color treated to cover gray. When it comes to shampoo and conditioner, I DO notice an enormous difference between low and higher end product performance. Last late summer, I chopped my hair off into an above the shoulder Bob and went with doing the whole “curly girl” routine again, including wearing a satin cap at bedtime to get a week of wear out of a shampoo and conditioning. As for the after treatments, like the curl activator and mouse, those are at the lower end of mid-price range. And to be honest, wearing it straightened was less upkeep, but it was literally FRYING my hair and scalp! Yet, I’m tempted to go back to that just because it was so low maintenance.

Anita Avatar

Buying my hair care at the salon or Sephora has made it SO much more manageable and I can actually leave it long now. With that said, the difference might be in the leave in products, when I was on holiday I didn’t have conditioner and bought a Herbal Essence one and there was no change in manageability.

Ana Maria Avatar

On average I am split in between.

I’ve tried expensive brands like Olaplex or Briogeo that did nothing for my hair or worked just like any mediocre under $10 drugstore product. But I have also tried expensive brands like Verb or Living Proof who are worth every dollar and make my hair look and feel way better than any drugstore product.

I am also using mostly unscented hair care products (unfortunately I can’t find any good hair styling products without fragrance) and while I love the Paula’s Choice shampoo and conditioner, the ones from Vanicream are just as good.

Genevieve Avatar

I also have a low maintenance hair cut – just a bob cut to my ears, zero talent for doing anything with my hair, but I have it coloured every single month. My hair can get oily on the roots and dry at the ends, so I use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner. But I do notice the difference between budget hair products and more expensive ones.
I tend to buy a variety of shampoos and conditioners from L’Oreal’s Professional series – the Hydrating and Vitamino products, as well as Redken, Joico, Acure etc as I find the better quality products take care of my hair much better.
Sukin (whose skincare products I think are hopeless) has a very good line in hair care, especially their scalp masques and hydrating hair masques, which I have recently used.

Cherie Avatar

I do. I find low budget shampoo formulations not to my liking and they tend to weigh down my hair and make it too oily. Other times the formulation is just too harsh. I’ve had to invest in Kevin Murphy products and Living Proof and have been happier.

Lauren Avatar

My hair is healthy, fine, slightly wavy, and I have a decent amount of it. I don’t need extra softening or smoothing and find any product that touts that is going to be a nemesis to my hair type and will weigh it down or make it look too sleek when I want volume. I have only found one shampoo that I like on a regular basis (for 2.5 years now) on my hair. It is a mid range brand, not super high end but also not a drug store one. My hair feels clean and not too sleek or dry, perfect balance. For conditioner I only like my cheap cheap cheap one because it isn’t too moisturizing for my fine hair and doesn’t make it super slick or weigh it down like many high end brands do. So, I guess yes I find differences… but it is more about the product and ingredients than if it is high end or low end because I have a product I like in both. For styling products I only have high end ones and find those out perform drug store.

Jane Avatar

I’ve experienced that most times it’s the silkiness and texture of the product and that the “smoothing” or “hydrating” effect is better for more expensive products. You can find a rare pearl though.

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