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  • Writer's pictureMegan Oliveri

Drugstore Hair Care Brands That Don't Suck

So I shared a post a few weeks back about drugstore hair care brands that are basically a HARD NO in my book. What I didn't realize is how many women needed help finding a new haircare brand that they could support and wouldn't ruin their hair! So here I am, to share the knowledge I do know about taking care of your hair and how you can do it for less!

Why I don't typically recommend drugstore hair care

Drugstore shampoos can be really appealing to most women. It's because they tend to be super affordable and easy to obtain! Typically I avoid drugstore shampoo and conditioner because oftentimes, you get what you pay for. These products are cheaper because they are using lesser quality ingredients and mass producing them. Ingredients like sodium chloride which you know as salt, but is used in hair care products as a thickener. This can oftentimes be the cause of dry, itchy scalp because you are stripping the hair of its natural oils. & when products are mass-produced, quality control can go out the window. This makes it difficult to regulate what goes into your product!

What to look for and what to avoid

While researching for this blog post, I came across this awesome blog post by The Every Girl. She breaks down the ingredients you should be looking for and what you should be avoiding. I wanted to break this down a little bit further and explain why some of these ingredients are great and why some are bad!


  1. Sodium Chloride, as I said earlier in this post, is used as a thickener in hair care. It is not necessary and can cause serious excessive drying on the scalp. If you are one of those people that think that you have dandruff, you may want to double-check the ingredients in your hair care products to make sure that it's not the product causing this!

  2. Sulfates & Parabens. Sulfates are cleaning agents that are typically used in household cleaners and... shampoos? Which I don't know about you but that just sounds off to me!! Sulfates are used to help the shampoo suds up and get that "true clean feeling." But oftentimes this just means that you've stripped your hair. Parabens are used to help the product have a longer shelflife. Parabens can affect the long term health of your hair by mimicking hormones and thwarting natural hair growth.

  3. Plastics. Again, hard to believe but yes! These companies put plastics and silicones in our hair care products to make us feel like we are getting better hair when in reality, it is hurting our hair over time. These ingredients make you believe that you are getting smooth, shiny hair but in the long run, they are waterproof which means they are very hard to wash out of your hair. This causes a serious build-up of the product!

Look for-

  1. Vitamins, minerals & oils. Natural elements like Vitamin A, B, and C are the best options to help nourish the hair efficiently. Vitamin A is essential for creating sebum which helps moisturize the scalp and hair. Vitamin B is Biotin! Which is known to be a natural way to help hair growth. & of course, Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals!!

  2. Vegetable Glycerin. This is a great natural humectant! Your probably like ok Megan, what is a humectant?! Humectants are amazing because they allow the hair to absorb moisture from the environment this can help improve hair dryness. This is a great sub for silicones!

  3. Natural ingredients like jojoba oil and shea butter. Let's talk about moisture!! Like I said before, natural ingredients help nourish the hair and body efficiently! Jojoba is rich in vitamins and minerals that nourish hair, including vitamins C & B. Because it strengthens hair, it is also thought that jojoba oil can prevent hair loss and promote hair thickness.

Shampoo & conditioners that look promising

Shea Moisture is basically the holy grail product for people of color with curly hair!! They pride themselves on never having any Parabens, Phthalates, Mineral Oils, Petroleum or Formaldehyde. As a plus, they are also cruelty free. They use natural ingredients like jojoba oil, avocado oil and vitamins A, B & C. This brand checks all of the boxes for me when it comes to good hair care.

L'Oréal Paris EverCreme Cleansing Balm seems to be a good contender! It is sulfate, paraben, and silicone-free. It claims to not cause stripping, drying or product build-up.

This product is a cleansing cream which means that it has all of the properties of shampoo and conditioner in one. This is great for people constantly on the go!

Nexxus Color Assure is a great option for people who have chemically treated, colored hair! This nutrient rich product is paraben, silicone and sulfate free. If you color treat your hair, you should know that oftentimes regular ol shampoo can strip the color right out. It is important to use a shampoo and conditioner that is prolonging the life of your color!

OGX Thick & Full + Biotin & Collagen Shampoo & Conditioner takes the cake for me for fine or thin hair. It is going to be amazing at volumizing the hair due to the biotin and collagen. I was so surprised to see Biotin so high on the ingredient list! It is paraben, silicone and cruelty-free!

I hope this helps!

I know these days walking into a store can feel like a zoo. You get so many recommendations that may be conflicting! Just know that at the end of the day, it's just shampoo and conditioner and you won't die if you use Head & Shoulders. Do what you can to help your hair be happy and healthy and remember that you are enough!!

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