Shampoo: Is It Splurge-Worthy?

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In the era of TikTok trends and debates about the best styling techniques for show-stopping strands, you might not know where to begin when it comes to your hair. But in the midst of your internal debate about whether or not to splurge on the Dyson Airwrap or stick with your Revlon hairdryer, make sure to set yourself up for success by focusing on the foundation of your hair-care routine: shampoo.

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When it comes to choosing the best shampoo for your hair type, lifestyle and personal preferences, it can be overwhelming to comb through the hundreds of choices you’re likely faced with.

The shelves of Target are stocked with a myriad of shampoo-conditioner combinations that promise to cater to your hair’s needs. When these expansive guarantees are paired with such reasonable prices, drugstore shampoo seems like the best bet for a college student with a tight budget. Though you might be satisfied with your current products, VALLEY is here to tell you why it might be worth it to take the plunge into high-end hair care by splurging on your next shampoo purchase.

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For one thing, the ingredients can vary greatly between luxury formulas as compared to drugstore products.

Breaking Down Surfactants

In both high-end and budget-friendly shampoos, surfactants are usually the main ingredient. Surfactants — often in the form of sulfates — allow for the signature lather associated with shampoo, which assists the product in breaking down dirt and oil on the scalp. The key difference that contributes to a higher price tag can be found in the quality and quantity of surfactants in a shampoo’s formula.

Drugstore shampoos often contain higher volumes of low-quality surfactants that strip the hair shaft of its natural oils, along with the unwanted dirt and oil that accumulate on the scalp.

Higher-end shampoos contain higher-quality cleaning agents that refresh the scalp while maintaining the natural softness and balance of the hair. When using luxury shampoos that contain gentler cleansing agents, you might notice less lather. While it can take time to adjust to this difference, less lather does not equate to a less-effective wash. Rather, the formula is crafted to protect your precious locks and extend the time in between washes by maintaining the hair’s natural oils and preventing excess oil production that can occur in response to harsh surfactants.

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The Importance of Active Ingredients

In addition to the cleansing agents found in shampoos, active ingredients — which help to add volume, definition and softness — are prevalent factors in shampoo formulation.

Most often, luxury formulas contain higher-quality active ingredients, as compared to drugstore shampoo. A high-end shampoo might deliver on its promise to boost shine by utilizing a naturally-derived moisturizing agent like jojoba or argan oil. While a drugstore shampoo might aim to achieve the same results by using silicones.

Silicones coat the hair shaft and create the appearance of shiny strands, but a higher-quality ingredient like argan oil will penetrate the hair shaft to deliver moisture and shine that will contribute to healthier, shinier hair in the long run. 

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Considering Additives and Fillers

The final consideration in the decision to forego drugstore shampoo in favor of a high-end product lies in examining the additives in a formula.

Drugstore shampoos often contain higher levels of water and artificial additives like silicones, parabens and alcohols that allow retailers to sell these products at lower prices. While luxury shampoos are often more expensive, the consumer is usually paying for a higher-quality formula that contains more of the good stuff and less of the bad.

As a result, high-end shampoos can last longer, because less product is needed to achieve the desired result. In the end, this tradeoff can mean that drugstore shampoos are not as economical as they may seem since you will have to restock these products more often than a high-end shampoo. 

Ultimately, everyone’s hair is different, so product preference will vary between individuals. However, VALLEY hopes that this guide helps you in crafting the perfect hair-care routine.

Tag us on Instagram @VALLEYmag to share your best hair days!



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