What’s the difference between professional line products and the ones you get at the drugstore? I admit it! The product stasher in my heart often obsesses over this question. Do I spend the $30 for that bottle of conditioner, or do I spend $5 and blow the rest on cheap makeup! We all think these things and cyber communication makes choosing our hair products much easier, and yet a bazillion times harder! Now, we aren’t just listening to a few people putting their two cents in, but countless opinions and reviews.

Mahisha Dellinger, the Creator and Founder of CURLS, offers both a professional line and a drugstore line of products to give curlies the benefits of both options. She says, “You can find quality products in both salons and drugstores. Salon products are priced based on the high quality, exclusive ingredients, premiere packaging, and stylist training to help the consumer maintain their look at home. Retail product lines may cut cost through packaging, and utilize domestic ingredients to meet the interest and need of another type of consumer. There is no winner or loser. If you are an educated consumer and know what you are looking for, you can find high quality, high performance products through both options. “

Want to be an educated consumer? Read on for ways to sort the valuable information you’ll uncover on your journey.

What is the current state and goals of your hair?

Some women will always have healthy, shiny, and fast-growing hair. No matter how frequent or rough they handle it, it just blooms. Others may struggle with breakage, shedding, and dullness while aspiring for goals like waist length hair. If you make choices that require extra care such as hair coloring and heat styling, this will also be determining factors.

Do you need professional or personal instruction?

What level of hair care do you need? Are you the type to sort through videos until you find something that appeals to you, or do you prefer a trusted comrade to train you on your unique hair type and a tried-and-true product line? When purchasing professional products you gain a personal consultant and trainer on specific product lines that the stylist uses consistently on varied consumers. On the other hand, you have online consumer reviews at your fingertips, which could serve as your consultants if they are knowledgeable enough for your unique needs.  

Are you considering the concentration of the product when analyzing the price?

Drugstore products have been accused of containing more water in their products as they are mass produced compared to professional lines that are highly concentrated. To the average consumer it could appear that drugstore products give more for less, but it could also be roughly the same amount or more. Jennifer Summers of Goarticles.com conducted a study comparing the concentration of drugstore versus professional products and found that to get the “salon standard of clean” required 10 ml of an unnamed professional product compared to the needed 50 ml of an unnamed drugstore product to achieve that same standard.  

What is the quality and quantity of the ingredients?

Take a look at the back of the labels to see if they are using enriching ingredients. Are all of the nutrients at the tail end of the list rather than towards the beginning? Hair product labels are not required to tell you how much of anything is in the product so use your best judgment based on the ingredients list and the performance of the product. Traditionally, professional companies invest in nutrient rich properties for high quality products. In our modern day market, you can still expect professionals to deliver high quality, but you can now expect drugstores to offer highly competitive options.


Therefore consider these four things and determine which will better serve your cleansing, conditioning, styling, and growth needs. Could it be that there may be a use for both choices, and you just need to find the one that is best for you? I will continue my very enjoyable journey of indulging myself with the wonderful options available. I love professional products as I love some drugstore products. I visit local health food stores for essential oils, and remain open to the “somewhere-in-between” product lines. However, most importantly, I choose what’s best for my hair and my lifestyle. After careful research, consider what is best for you.

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