Hair Care Products in Salons

Hair stylist promoting hair salon products
Photo: Elnur/Shutterstock
Q: Nearly every time I go to a salon, when the stylist asks me what products I use at home and I tell her, I get the lecture about how bad these products are for my hair and am told that I really should be using the same products the salon uses.
I've been to different salons, all of whom use products by different makers, and they all guarantee that theirs are better than the others. Does it really make a difference?

A: Yes and no. Yes, the products you use do make a difference in the results you can expect. You won't get exactly the same results using a styling gel that you do with a mousse. These products are designed on the whole for different effects.
However, if we're talking about different brands of the same product, a lot of times there isn't an appreciable difference. All products of a certain type have the same basic ingredients. There are some variations with additional ingredients for different purposes (for example herbal ingredients or moisturizing ingredients) but whether or not you NEED these ingredients should be a more important factor than the stylist's blanket statement that they are 'better'.
A lot of salons encourage "up-selling" of retail products, and it sounds to me like you've encountered a lot of this. These products are often reasonably expensive, and quite frankly, retail 'up-selling' can easily double (or more) your salon bill.
hair products Personally, I only recommend a product if I've used it on the client and the client asks about it because she likes the results. But, I don't operate in a salon. I do consultant styling. I go to my client after talking to them and meeting them to see what their needs are.
The products I take and use with that client are ones that I've selected and specifically chosen to meet their needs. If the client really likes the results, I usually give them the product to keep, or at least share it with them and tell them where to get it for themselves.
Many hair salons require their stylists to do 'up-selling', often basing bonuses and wage increases on the amount of retail product sales they generate. Never let yourself be pushed into something you don't really want. You should base your decision to buy a product at a salon on the basis of how much you enjoyed the product.
If you really like the way the shampoo and conditioner the salon uses makes your hair feel, then by all means buy some to use at home. But with styling products, make sure the stylist demonstrates for you the way they use the product, it just may be that the result you are so happy with is more a matter of technique than of the brand of product used.
And when your stylist is touting a product you really aren't that interested in, always remember that "No means no." A gentle, but firm "Thank you, but no." generally suffices. The stylist doesn't want to risk offending you with sales pressure, because her goal is to make you want to come back again. The only thing a stylist fears more than not having customers is having a customer who will never come back.
See also:
Hair product ingredients and their function
Is it worth buying the more expensive hair products?
What makes a certain hair care product professional?
My hairstylist refuses to tell me what products he uses on my hair. Is this normal practice?
Does expensive shampoo make a difference?