Professional vs. Drugstore Shampoo: What's the Difference?

Do you buy your shampoo from a hair salon, a chemist, or just grab the cheapest one in the supermarket aisle? Does it really make any difference to your hair?

The battle between professional and store-bought shampoo has always been a close one. What's really the difference? Is salon shampoo really worth the price? 


A very brief history of shampoo

While humans have been using various substances to clean ourselves and make us smell nice for thousands of years,

it wasn't until the 1900s that what we now think of as shampoo was first brought to market.

It was a German man called Hans Schwarzkopf who first began to sell shampoo in a liquid form in 1927. His earlier attempts with a powdered cleaner hadn't been as successful.

The word shampoo evolved from the Indian word "champu" — a type of head and body massage using a fragrant oil.



Pick a Good Shampoo for the Hair - The Zagora Beauty
Shampoo Function

The main function of shampoo is that of a detergent designed to remove oil from your scalp and hair.

The oil in your hair is called sebum, produced by the sebaceous glands all over your body, but it's mostly noticed on the hair. It oozes out over the hair fibres to help the hair be smoother, stronger and makes it sit better on the body.

Sebum is a fatty oil, so stuff in the air sticks to it quite well — this is why your hair takes on the smell of a campfire more than the rest of your body — and this is why unwashed hair can smell a bit funky.

"Always try to choose a product based on the hair type,condition and texture, not only the price or what's on the hair," 

The Dirty Truth About Washing Your Hair – Health Essentials from ...

First, let’s start with why market / store shampoos make you hair feel so soft. Frankly, it’s all in the ingredients and not only the quality of ingredients used, but the quantity as well. Some brands boast using the same products as salon quality shampoos. That is probably true. What these drug store brands fail to mention is that they are not using the equivalent amounts of those ingredients.

The typical pH of hair ranges from 4.5-5.5 and averages at about 5.0. Salon grade shampoos are tested and have a pH that range from 5 to 7, which is considered neutral. Market / store grade shampoos range greatly from 4-9 on the pH scale. At this point you might as well be washing your hair with baking soda which has a pH of 8.4.

Do you know the pH of your shampoo? This is why you should ...

Therapeutic shampoos are used to treat specific diseases and conditions of the scalp and hair such as dandruff or inflammation associated with psoriasis, and some of these will require a prescription.

Supermarket bought brands differ from the professional lines that are offered in hairdressing salons mostly in price, though some use natural or organic ingredients and usually will not contain sulphates.

In almost all regards, salon quality shampoo works better. The ingredients tend to be more gentle with less fillers, sulfates, and build-up creating wax. 

While you’ll often find the same ingredients in salon shampoos and store shampoos you won’t find that the concentrations of these ingredients are the same. Of course, you can’t tell that from the bottle. Store bought shampoos have more water, sulfates, and fillers with less vitamins, oils, and minerals that are designed to keep your hair healthy.

The first thought of the consumer when a professional shampoo is recommended is “Will it really have this effect?” Yes, it will really have this effect. The professional shampoo is a product that we certainly deserve, us as well as our hair, in the same way that we deserve bio cosmetics. Professional shampoos preserve the natural microbacterial flora of the scalp and respect the hypolipid film of the hair. At the same time, they are much more gentle and concentrated, which will result in a lower cost due to the small quantity of product used.

Most Common Shampoo Ingredients and Their Effect on Hair and Scalp

Common shampoos contain a lot of water, parabens (preservatives derived from oil), silicones, colorants and considerably less treating agents, vitamins, oils and other minerals that the hair needs in order to be healthy.

Curlying, dyeing and straightening the hair will lead to drying it with a temperature too high, the polluted environmental factors, climate, sun (even if it’s summer), stress – all those damages the hair, but a sustained care with professional products can lead us to a healthy hair.

Before choosing the right product, it is important to ask the advice of your stylist which, after a complete diagnostic of your scalp, will be able to recommend you the most suitable products for your type of hair.

Shampoos at Hairadise

Consumers are increasingly conscious of the downsides of SLS and SLES. Concerning the disadvantages and risks involved, these concerns are certainly valid. The cosmetics industry keeps using the stuff because of its powerful cleansing and foaming ability. And the most important reason is probably the low cost.

Fortunately, more and more shampoos without SLS or SLES are available. If you really wish to improve the quality and quantity of your hair it is after all foolish to use a bad shampoo.

Hairadise only sells high-quality shampoos which are free of SLS or SLES, especially our Scalp Care Series with 7 FREE Formula:

► Dye free

► SLS Free

► SLES free

► Silicone Free

► Fragrance Free

► Mineral Oil Free

► Paraben Free


For Anti Hair Loss: Stages Professional Energizing Shampoo

For Anti Dandruff: Stages Professional Equilibrium Shampoo

For Sensitive Scalp: Stages Professional S.O.S Sensitive Scalp Shampoo

For Oily Scalp: Stages Professional Sebum Greasy & Volumizing Shampoo

For All Hair Type: Stages Professional Pure Maintain Shampoo


Speak to our hair specialist today for your choice of hair care: