Expensive Hair Products That Aren't Worth The Money

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In the market for new hair products but don't want to break the bank? Many hair care products can be inexpensive and work just as well as big name brands with hefty price tags. It is not always necessary to buy the most expensive high-end products to combat problems like dryness, body, and dullness. Of course, you'll want to do your research to make sure you're getting a product that can address the unique needs of your hair — whether that is color correction, adding volume, or preventing future damage.

According to Goop, what you use every day in your hair care routine matters the most. Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner, as well as oils, masks, and heat protectants is important to keep a healthy routine for your hair type and texture. No matter how many times you wash or style your hair a week, these products are vital to maintaining your hair's health now and in the future. But as important as choosing the right products is avoiding the wrong ones.

Detox Dry Shampoo for Brunettes

This $26 bottle of dry shampoo is a product you might want to think twice about before you swipe your card at Sephora. The Detox Dry Shampoo for Brunettes by Drybar has been dubbed one of the worst dry shampoos by multiple people who have tried it. Drybar claims this product is "a super-absorbent formula that eliminates oils and impurities, leaving hair looking and feeling clean and refreshed with extra volume and a matte finish." It's also designed for all hair types and textures, but many reviews on the Sephora website don't agree with the brand's claims.

As of this writing, Detox Dry Shampoo has an average of 2.3 stars on Sephora's website with nearly 600 reviews. Most reviewers claim they tried the product because Drybar products are usually worth the hype and coin, but this one, in particular, was disappointing.

One review awarded the product only one star, writing, "This is the WORST dry shampoo I've ever tried in my life! First of all, it is so messy! It transfers to [your] fingers if you touch your hair and gets in your face if you ever try to get close to your root line in front. Second, it makes my hair feel awful!"

Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo for Beautiful Color

Oribe is another cult favorite hair care brand with many amazing products that tend to fall on the pricier side. However, the reviews for this particular shampoo show a lot of customers regret spending the money. The Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo for Beautiful Color is described by the brand as "a daily, brightening shampoo for blonde and silver hair that corrects brassiness and yellow tones, optimizing shade, tonality, and luminosity." It is also marketed for all hair types and textures. Unfortunately, though, it only received 3.5 out of 5 stars on Sephora's website. 

The shampoo retails for $46, which according to many buyers, is not worth the hefty price tag for a shampoo — especially when you can find alternative options that work just as well, or better, for a fraction of the price. One 3-star review claimed "I have tried so many purple shampoos in my lifetime when I came across this brand. It is pricey, but based on the reviews I decided to give it a try. I had high expectations, but unfortunately it doesn't live up to the hype." Although the reviewer praised the scent, they claimed it didn't moisturize as advertised and just wasn't worth the cost.

If you're in search of a new blonde shampoo, skip Oribe and try the more budget-friendly Moroccanoil Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo recommended by Byrdie.

Aveda Clove Shampoo

Aveda's Clove Shampoo, which retails for $30, has earned some mixed reviews, ranking in at 5.3 out of 10 on Total Beauty's website. According to its product description, the shampoo is a "gentle cleanser for hair and scalp made with organically grown clove to enhance warm tones plus organically grown coffee to boost brown hues provides astringent benefits to scalp perfect hair with brown and honey shades." The smell is anything but gentle, however.

One review noted that it smells like "synthetic motor oil." Nevertheless, some enjoy the strong scent. "I love it and it always wakes me up with the clove fragrance!" another reviewer claimed. The strong smell seems to be a dealbreaker for many buyers — so make sure to consider this before purchasing.

In addition to disliking the smell, some reviewers cited the thin consistency of the shampoo. "Oddly, there was a liquid that settled on the top when I used it the first time so I shook the bottle to try and mix what I thought was water that had separated," a reviewer wrote in a 1-star review.

Serge Normant Meta Morphosis Hair Repair Treatment

This hair treatment mask from Serge Normant claims to reverse damage, restore hair's elasticity, and protect color — what more could you want in a hair treatment? Unfortunately with its $60 price tag, the Meta Morphosis Hair Repair Treatment is not a fan favorite.

On Amazon, the product received an average of 2.2 stars out of 5, with more than half of the reviews ranking in at 1 star. Many users claim they were excited to try the hair mask because they love the shampoo and conditioner in the line but they were extremely disappointed once they tried the mask. Some found the product left their hair greasy — not even close to looking healthy or shiny, which the product claims to do.

One buyer left a review that reads, "I would give this a zero if I could. Worst conditioner I have ever used. It was chalky and runny like soup. It did absolutely nothing for my hair except leave it dry and unmanageable. What a waste of $60."

RAINCRY Shine Conditioner

Not all the reviews on the RAINCRY Shine Conditioner are bad, but even some of the positive reviews mention the waxy feel this product can leave in your hair. The product is supposed to "[neutralize] hard water and [close] the cuticle creating a mirror-like surface for a high-gloss finish." Most reviews say it does give a shiny look to the hair, but the waxy feel is too much for some buyers. Some described this feeling as oily, and one reviewer claimed it leaves a "slick residue ... in the shower." Past buyers recommend rinsing your hair thoroughly to prevent the waxy feeling. 

Another negative is the price – $39 for 8 fluid ounces. For the price and 3.6-star rating on Amazon, you may want to consider skipping this RAINCRY product. Alo Yoga Shine Conditioner gets better reviews and is much more affordable — $2.40 per ounce as opposed to $4.90. 

Wick & Strom Hair Revitalizing vitamins

In the market for vitamins to boost your hair care routine and promote healthy growth? For men and women, finding the right hair loss vitamin can make a world of difference. However, not all of these products are created equal. Wick & Strom's vitamins have earned negative reviews on Amazon. 

While some claimed the product works, others said it does nothing for hair loss. One reviewer wrote, "I don't see improvement in number of productive hair follicles or in the quality of root growth. ... I don't think I'm impressed enough to buy again." Another wrote, "I am using this product little over 2 months almost 3 months now and I did not see any [difference], still [the] same amount of hair falling off when I taking show no new hair [growth]."

If you're interested in adding vitamins to your routine, you don't need to spend $35 for a bottle promising hair revitalization. You can simply purchase biotin, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, keratin, or zinc at your local pharmacy. According to Forbes Health, these are all good options to ensure your vitamin deficiencies are not causing unnecessary hair loss or breakage.

Living Proof Curl Conditioner

Many who've tried Living Proof Curl Conditioner found the product to be lacking. This conditioner comes in three sizes — jumbo (24 fluid ounces) for $62, full (12 fluid ounces) for $32, and travel size (3.4 fluid ounces) for $15. This product is far from budget-friendly.

The conditioner promises to moisturize and detangle curls but has left many people unhappy. The scent was also criticized. "It is so disappointing this curl line is supposed to help with curls but ultimately lacks in performance. In addition, the scent is sickly-sweet vs the original [Living Proof] scent," wrote one reviewer. Another said, "I think I lost more hair trying to detangle my hair after using the conditioner. It left my hair lifeless and without bounce."

For a mere fraction of the price and far greater user satisfaction, you can purchase Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Conditioner.

CurlSmith Shine Oil

CurlSmith Shine Oil has earned 3.9 stars on Ulta's site. While that is not the worst rating, it's hard to accept for a product that costs $30 for only 2 fluid ounces. It is marketed as a "weightless oil blend that locks in moisture and smooths hair, making it look shinier than ever." It includes a mix of oils — watermelon seed, babassu, sea buckthorn — as well as murumuru butter. This combination is supposed to soften curls, prevent frizz, and ultimately add shine, as the name suggests.

However, some people who tried it said they didn't notice a difference in shine — and one user even said it made their hair look crunchy. Another user dubbed it a knockoff of Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil – the packaging does look nearly identical.

While Gisou's hair oil gets better reviews (4.3 stars on Sephora), it is even more expensive at $46 for 1.7 fluid ounces. Coming in at a better price point with better reviews — $24 for 1.7 ounces and 4.4 stars on Sephora's website — is JVN's Complete Nourishing Hair Oil Shine Drops.

GHD Rise Volumizing Hot Brush

For $189, GHD's Rise Volumizing Hot Brush is on the more expensive side and unfortunately only has 3.4 stars on Ulta's website. Reviews are generally mixed, but the quality of this tool has been criticized. One reviewer said it fell apart after only using it for four months. 

Even after watching the tutorial video on Ulta's site, one user said the brush just didn't work for them. "I don't get very much lift from this brush at all. ... You can basically use a curling iron to do the same thing." The review continued, advising, "Save your money on this brush." 

If you're in the market for a hot brush, try a cheaper alternative like the REVLON One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer and Hot Air Brush that can be purchased on Amazon for only $33. This hot brush has amazing reviews and won't break the bank. 

Tame: Infared Flat Iron

The Tame: Infrared Flat Iron from the Sephora Collection is marketed for all hair types, from straight to curly to tightly coiled. At $85, this flat iron is on the pricier side. And as of this writing, the product sits at 3.1 stars on Sephora's site.

Many reviewers complained about the quality, with some writing that the product initially works as intended but completely shuts off over time. One buyer doled out a 1-star review, writing, "Same as other [reviews], bought the straightener in September of 2018 and it started shutting off in April 2020. Any well made straightener should last longer than that." Another reviewer said she loved the flat iron so much but was extremely disappointed when it stopped working. The buyer addressed Sephora directly in her review, writing, "Shocking that so many of your customers that purchase this iron are telling you that it works great and then just stops working and you still have it on the market???"

If you're looking for a new flat iron and have the room to splurge, try a higher-rated flat iron like GHD's Original Styler 1" Flat Iron, which has an average of almost 5 stars on Sephora. If you'd prefer a flat iron that is more budget-friendly, you can't go wrong with HSI Professional Glider Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron

Experiment with your own routine

If you're looking to make a change in your hair care routine, it is ultimately up to you to decide what you're looking for and what you're willing to try. Reach out to your hair stylist or salon and see what products they recommend for someone with your hair type and texture. It's wise to stick with universally loved products that work across many hair types and textures. While there's no guarantee you'll love the products too, they're much safer bets.

Some cult favorites that have been named bestsellers on Sephora's website include No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo from Olaplex, PEPTIDE PREP pH Maintenance Shampoo from K18 Biomimetic Hairscience, and the Soulfood Nourishing Hair Mask from Amika, which all rank in close to 5 out of 5 stars. It is not always easy making changes to your hair care routine, but you'll find it's worth the effort.