Do products sold in salons have better efficacy?

salon products

Not too long ago, I was given some branded hair products from a salon and specifically told that I should only use hair products from a professional salon because their quality are better than those from the regular stores.   Is this true?   In case you’re wondering, this didn’t come from my hair stylist.  He has never said such a thing to me before and would never do. 

Ingredients of products in regular stores not as good?
Although I was doubtful, I tried not to be rude and just kept mum.  Tell it to me when I was younger and I would have bought that completely.  In fact I did, some ten years ago.  You see, my ex-beautician had said the same thing to me, that those skin care products from the department stores were inferior to the products in beauty salons because their ingredients were “not as good”.  Perhaps there were some truth in that long time ago but in today’s context, I really doubt so. 

More of a marketing strategy and distribution channel?
Sure, some products on the shelves are developed for the mass market and are probably lacking in good ingredients but there are also good products with excellent active ingredients available in the regular stores.   To me, it’s merely a matter of a brand’s marketing strategy and their distribution channel.  I know for a fact that some brands that are available on pushcarts are also carried by beauty salons. And I don’t see much of a difference with hair products. Some brands are just sold via the salons because it’s easier to achieve better sales when you have the hairstylist recommending them.  Plus, it makes the brand more exclusive and hence, have “better” efficacy in the eyes of the consumers.

Apart from a few house brands, I don’t think it’s true that products sold in salon are better than those sold in the regular stores.  I could be missing something though.  What do you think?


  1. pf1123 says:

    I agree. Salon stuff are not necessarily better.

    I buy some of my skincare from my beauty salon. Actually the prices are not that different from dept counters. I keep using them because I like them, the product quality is good and suits me. Not because I think they work better than non-salon products. If I get a product from the salon which doesn’t work, I will not hesitate to get something else next time.

  2. Paris B says:

    I concur with you – not everything sold in house or in a salon is better. Some maybe more concentrated in active ingredients but mostly its marketing hype. I’ve learnt that even for hair or skin its all more or less the same and you can get products outside that are just as good.

  3. ayn says:

    i do believe that not everything that are sold in a salon are better than the ones sold on regular stores. there are products that work which can only be found on regular stores and vice versa. i agree with you that it’s just plain marketing strategy. But I hate it when people emphasize that their product “is better” than the other. Not all product works for everybody!

  4. Jyoan says:

    I think it’s not true too.

  5. AtelierGal says:

    My stylist don’t ask me to buy products from his salon, however other branches do, before I met him. To be honest, they are not that ‘good’ as they described it to be. Salon products are marked up too high and they don’t promised desired results most of the time.

  6. Amanda says:

    I totally agree with you. Salon products tend to be more expensive, and if something from the drugstore or supermarket works well for me, I don’t see the point in paying more for a supposedly ‘better’ product.

  7. BT says:

    I agreed with you that itÂ’s merely a matter of a brandÂ’s marketing strategy and their distribution channel. Seriously, every cosmetic company want to make profit.

  8. sesame says:

    Some of the salons I’ve come across actually mark up their prizes more…a bit more is okay but I can’t accept if they mark up too much.

  9. sesame says:

    Yup, I was a bit cynical about that too. I’ve bought products in the market that worked better than salon stuff!

  10. sesame says:

    I know what you mean…the salons tend to harp on that and it’s really marketing push. More annoying when they put down the stuff we’re using!

  11. sesame says:

    Mine actually uses his own products on me to try…and they’re not from his salon, but regular stores…haha. I wonder why his boss doesn’t mind.

  12. sesame says:

    It’s most likely a deliberate strategy. When the products look exclusive, it’s easier to mark up the prices.

  13. sesame says:

    You’re right. Some focus on volume so they use the mass market and others focus on profit so they use niche marketing. I don’t mind that or that they say they have good products but it’s a bit annoying to hear them putting down products in the regular stores.

  14. pf1123 says:

    My salon skincare products are from $79 to $129…something like that. I always buy during 20% disc. And they last me about 8 to 12 months.

    Counter stuff are also about the same price range I thought. There are so many items out there and I am unsure of the quality. I cannot try everything. But I know the quality of my salon skincare.

    Then again, I will go by what works. ?

  15. Blovet Beauty says:

    I’ve tried alot of salon brands and I’ve come to a simple conclusion. If it’s “branded” and expensive, it might not necessarily be better for your hair.
    alot of natural and cheaper products better care of my hair ?

  16. sesame says:

    It might depend on the price control from the source. But for some hair products, I know the salons mark up a bit more. I can get them cheaper at regular stores.

  17. sesame says:

    The only branded salon brand I was recommended by my hairstylist was Redken’s and yes, it was good for me. But that product was also available at some of the regular stores…maybe through parallel import…I’m not too sure. Anyway, I’m quite happy with Burt’s Bees shampoo I got from Sephora now. It’s cheaper too!

  18. Dee says:

    I rarely use any salon products since I don’t see a difference in my hair. Especially if its for about 40-60 dollars and I get a extremely small amount of product. The only time I would resort to purchasing a salon product is if I can’t find anything similar to it anywhere else.

  19. Chris says:

    mass market stuff with the right list of ingredients, can be truly effective problem solvers examples would be Olay, Eucerin, La Roche Posay, Neutrongena etc.

    The poor hairstylist and many others alike working in an independent salon, should really have worked his or her sales pitch in a way that doesn’t turn people off, what with the amazingly huge selection of choice that consumers have these days.

    Remember Strivectin? There is actual research to show that it is no different from a $20 Olay product. SKII? great stuff that works for many people but at the centre of it’s properties is a very ordinary Azelaic acid and for the same price, you can give your skin an even wider range of good stuff like retinol, vitamin c, antioxidants etc.

    It’s marketing, everyone is trying to sell us something just that the hairstylist is going to have to change his tactic a little. We are fall for great marketing, especially if we try and like the product!

  20. stella says:

    i don’t think it’s true for skin care but for hair care products, salon products – especially conditioners and serums – work better for me, maybe ‘coz i have really difficult to manage hair. but like you mentioned, i always get them online or at stores outside, it’s too marked up at the salons! but i use J&J baby shampoo, it’s great, hee!

    and if any service provider tries to sell me products after I reject them, say twice, i would usually not patronize them again! too stressful!

  21. sesame says:

    I rarely too for hair products. I don’t find they work extremely well for me compared to products I obtained outside. Performance is about the same and sometimes I get products from regular stores performing better.

  22. sesame says:

    Strivectin is no different from Olay? Hmm…interesting. I have read that Creme de la mer’s ingredients are almost similar to Nivea’s but in terms of performance, they’re not the same to me though. Anyway, I’m not surprised that some products may come from the same source but branded differently too.

  23. sesame says:

    There are definitely a lot of good skin care products in the market but personally, I’m using a salon brand, only because it’s a house brand.

    I’m not too sure of the hair products…those salon ones I’ve tried aren’t that fantastic for me. So probably like what you indicated, it depends on the hair and how easy or difficult it is to manage them.

  24. pf1123 says:

    Oh yes. Salon hair stuff are really ex! I bought my shampoo from regular stores like watsons.

    Speaking about hair, I understand, Sesame that you have oily scalp? You use hair products to control oil?

    I have a friend who have has got oily scalp. She tried oil control hair products but doesn’t work out. She tried moisturising hair products instead and they worked for her. ?

    Not sure if that method would work out for you.

  25. toh88 says:

    years back, I was recommended to a shisedo leave-on from a hair salon. till date, I am still using it and even recommended to my friends and colleagues.

    they simply love it too!

  26. sesame says:

    I was given a regulating shampoo to try but I found it so so…not sure if it’s moisturizing like what your friend is using.

    I use dry shampoo everyday to control the oil…it works but I hate to smell it every day!

  27. sesame says:

    That’s good to know! At least you got something that worked for you.

  28. toh88 says:

    but then I dun get from saloons anymore. more ex ? so I scout around for good (better) deals. oops!

  29. nora says:

    Chance upon your site while googling.The wonders of internet!!
    Thanks for sharing with products you have tried/tested.

    I happened to look for Egytian cream reviews and it changed my mind after reading yours.Someone is currently doing spree on it with exorbitant prices! Thank God!

    Back to this entry;-
    Its all about branding and marketing strategy.The more these companies do advertising and “added” the “great” reviews, indirectly they are misleading the consumers.Being human, it is natural and un-subconciously our brains are being “mislead” in believing such “popular” or “high-end” products are better range. Then again, it depends on how it reacts to different individual.For skincare, some are sufficient with average or domestic brands .As we age, we may need a better or “high-end” products.
    I bought my hair products which are much cheaper in local neighbourhood shops similar to that “sasa” , “beauty language” or even “watsons/guardian”.

    keep it up, i would continue to be your reader,

  30. sesame says:

    Thank you Nora! Come back often! ?

    Yes, you’re right that it all depends on individual. Eg. Many were raving about the Egyptian Magic Cream but it didn’t work for me.

  31. Rinka says:

    i think i may have to agree with this, particularly on hair care. i straighten my hair everyday (despite being 3/4 japanese, it seems my hair has inherited waviness and frizziness from the 1/4 european gene. story of my life!) and i found that no drugstore brands worked for me. ive tried everything: pantene, garnier, sunsilk… you name it. herbal essences was probably the best, but my hairdresser recommended kerastase.

    i took it seriously as his salon stocked redken, not kerastase so he was making a personal suggestion. kerastase has actually changed my hair. it has nourished and moisturised it to the point where my hair is so shiny and moist, that i dont even need to straighten it that much. it was definitely a worthwhile investment.

  32. sesame says:

    Some salon brands are pretty good and Kerastase is one of them. I guess many of the salon brands are pretty good but at the same time, there are also good ones outside the salons.

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