What's The Difference Between Luxury And Drugstore Shampoo?

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Who among us hasn't wondered whether we're actually getting more when we splurge for a luxury shampoo? Tell us we aren't alone in scratching our heads — pun intended — and secretly thinking that a drugstore brand could do the same job.

But what is the real difference between a pricey, salon shampoo bottle and one you can grab at your local CVS? For instance, let's compare Redken's All Soft Shampoo, priced at $24 on Amazon, and Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect formula, which is $7.

Upon closer inspection, the ingredients in the salon shampoo and the bargain brand look eerily similar, although, to be fair, Redken's formula does boast few oils and proteins that Pantene does not have. Still, most of the ingredients are nearly identical. So what gives? Are you really getting so much more in a luxury product that it's worth more than three times as much?

According to Oprah.com, a salon product may indeed contain higher-end ingredients — like the argan oil Redken incorporates. That said, you may not need to shell out the dough for a salon product to get one that does the job sufficiently.

It's all about concentration and quality

As Well + Good confirms, consumers who compare the ingredient lists of shampoos both from the salon and the drugstore are not going to notice a lot of differences. That said, the concentration of certain ingredients may be higher in a salon brand, with drug store shampoos likely containing fillers to some extent.

As Byrdie points out, you are also paying for a signature fragrance when you spend more for the luxury brand. And remember that argan oil in the Redken shampoo? When you pony up for a salon formula like this one, well, high-quality, natural ingredients cost more. So...

Back to the question of whether a salon product works better than its drugstore counterpart — and is therefore worth more money. The answer may ultimately lie in the concentration of the shared ingredients in each formulation.

We may have to agree to disagree

Celebrity stylist and salon owner Oscar Blandi told Insider that when you buy your shampoo at the drugstore, sure, you are paying less at the register, but you're also getting a less concentrated formula. "You may have to use more of the product to get the result you want," he noted. So, you do the math. If you spend more money on a product from the salon but have to use less of it to achieve your desired result, the net effect is that you may not really be spending more in the long run.

Blandi believes salon shampoos are going to be a better bet, since, as he notes, they are proven to work by salon professionals. We feel the need to consider the source, since he owns a salon after all. You'll find plenty of Redditors, a.k.a. everyday folks, who swear that drugstore shampoos are just as good as those luxe hair cleansers.

In the end, you may get what you pay for in terms of concentration of ingredients, as well as their quality. But the debate is ongoing as to whether a luxury brand of shampoo is worth the money or not, and if a simple trip down your hair care aisle at Walgreens is all you need to get your hair clean and nourished to the extent that makes you happy.