There is a huge difference between your off the shelf products and professional products. However, there are so many new ones, I really cannot say if they are as good as the salon ones are. There are years of technology, research and innovations behind professional brands and they have the technology to make particles small enough to penetrate into the hair follicles. This process is an expensive one and that is why so many off the shelf brands only work on the surface of the hair, they do not work from the inside out. They are able to give the hair a cosmetic feeling but never really feed the hair what it needs.
You have curly hair which is naturally dry as your hair’s cuticles do not lie flat. You also mention you have fine and highlighted hair as well. When you highlight your hair, it takes out the hair’s natural oils and can leave the hair feeling even more dry than your naturally curly hair. I always say if you are paying the money to have a professional service done, you may as well pay to look after it.
Salon products have years of research behind them. They are extremely concentrated and if used correctly, can last a long time. The molecules are much smaller and penetrate into the hair shaft. The ingredients used are of the highest quality and go through many processes in order to care for the hair.
You should be using an amount of professional shampoo the size of a 50c piece and the same with conditioner. Generally you buy your shampoo and conditioner 1x monthly with your groceries. Professional shampoo will last 3-6 months depending on how long your hair is, so the cost works out the same if you look at it like that.
There are two factors that determine the price of products.
The biggest difference is your pH levels. Your pH scale runs from pH0 – pH14 with pH7 serving as neutral indicating a balance. A measure below pH7 indicates Acid. A measure above pH7 – pH14 indicates Alkaline.
Normal healthy hair is between pH4.5 – pH5.5. It is considered Acidic. When hair has the correct pH the cuticle is compact and closed, protecting the internal structure and giving the appearance of shiny smooth overall healthy hair. Hair that is a healthy pH level has natural bounce, shine, detangles easily and has radiant condition.
Now shop products are generally a high pH, or a lot of them will say ‘pH balanced’. That sounds like it could be good for the hair but we now know that “balanced” is a pH7, when we need a pH4.5-pH5.5 for our hair to be healthy. Unfortunately, a lot of the so-called ‘colour safe’ shampoos are way above 5.5.
All professional products have an acidic pH. A shampoo which is supposed to open our cuticle scales should be between pH5-pH6. A conditioner should be between pH3.5-pH4.5 as it’s meant to close and seal our cuticles which leaves our hair shiny and smooth.
The second difference is the subject of sulfates.
Sulfates are derived from salt. They are basically detergent surfactants. They penetrate and break down dirt and create foam. In the case of sodium lauryl sulfate (main ingredient in shampoo) it has a small molecular weight that will allow it to penetrate through the skin even into the blood stream and therefore will be carried and enter into every organ in the body, heart, brain, liver, eyes etc. sodium lauryl sufate has aggressive properties due to many unstable (unpaired) electrons.
Shop products have a high amount of sulfates and that is why they foam so much and give the feeling of squeaky clean hair. Sulfates are also responsible for stripping colour out of the hair as well as make the hair dry and dull. They can also make the scalp very dry and flaky, which many people then mistake for dandruff. You also land up filling your whole hand with shampoo for one appilcation.
Your professional products are very low in sulfates, so your first shampoo will never foam. The more foam a product has, the more sulfates there are. A lot of professional products now have sulfate free shampoos. The foaming agents have now been created by using natural ingredients like corn, coconut and sugar.
You really can feel the difference!
Here are a list of professional brands to choose from:
REDKEN Real Control SHAMPOO R210
REDKEN Real Control CONDITIONER R242
MATRIX Delicate Care SHAMPOO R130
MATRIX Deliacte Care CONDITIONER R145
L’OREAL Absolute Repair SHAMPOO R180
L’OREAL Absolute Repair CONDITIONER R206
Hope this helps, but try for yourself and you will really feel the difference!
MIRRORS hair lab