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Why you can keep using drugstore shampoo (and other shampoo no-no’s – busted!)

I got my hair cut recently, and it was NOT a pleasant experience. Not only did I get conned into a more expensive stylist than I usually see, she was not worth the money I paid. Aside from her sub-par styling skills (I have always had luck with other girls at this salon!) she popped that awkward, dreaded question: “So, which shampoo are you using right now?”

Listen, I know the type they sell at my salon is probably super good for my hair, but I’m wary of stylists who try to push products too hard. After all, I’ve heard of commission. In this case, I didn’t even try to hide my drugstore shampoo habits from the stylist – just wanted to get out of there and fix my hair.

“Using any shampoo and conditioner you can buy at the drugstore is basically like washing your hair with dish soap,” the sassy little stylist said, looking down her nose at me. I felt like calling her a word that rhymes with ‘witch.’ But, I practiced restraint. She was, after all, wielding a pair of scissors near my head.

But anyway, really? It’s like using dish soap? I highly doubt that, and would guess that a lot of working ladies like myself use these “bad” drugstore brands, and I think we all look pretty good! Her snobby salon attitude inspired me to look into other shampoo myths – which ones have you been living by?

Myth #1. Drugstore brand shampoos are like using dish soap on your hair.

If you have normal, healthy hair and scalp, there is nothing wrong with using drugstore shampoo and conditioner. There are certain chemicals in shampoos that are particularly harsh, and many professional salon formulas make sure not to include these. However, you can avoid them for half the price at CVS or online,  simply by reading labels.

Bad ingredients to look out for include ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium xylete sulfonate. These detergents can strip natural oils from your hair, and they are harmful when they rub off on your skin, too. That said, professional shampoos are sometimes specially formulated for certain hair concerns, like thinning.

Myth #2. Certain shampoos stop working because your hair builds up a tolerance.

This is simply not true. Because your hair is not a living organ or system (like, say, your immune system), it cannot build up a tolerance or “get used to” a particular formula. If you love your current shampoo, there is no need to switch for effectiveness sake. However, if you dislike your shampoo, switching to a new type may offer a different effect.

Myth #3. You need a lather to make sure your shampoo is working.

Many shampoo formulas out there today do not foam up at all, but this does not mean they aren’t working. Foaming is a result of sulfates in the shampoo that mix with the air to create the bubbles. Many companies are going sulfate-free because they can cause dryness and color fade. That sudsy effect is mostly just for the psychological satisfaction that the product is working, but if the sulfates bother you, don’t worry about the lack of lather.

Myth #4. You should not shampoo every day.

This myth is well-intentioned, but each woman must do what is best for her hair. There is some truth to this myth – skipping shampoo allows the oils from your scalp to better nourish your strands. However, if you prefer to suds up every day, no harm no foul, as long as you use a gentle shampoo formula that won’t strip your hair of natural oils. Women with super-oily hair might prefer to wash it every day, and those with severe dandruff or other scalp conditions might need to apply certain shampoos and conditioners daily to control symptoms.

The bottom line is to do what works for you – don’t let a snooty stylist make you feel bad if you’re happy with your hair!

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing