Supermarket Vs Salon Hair Care: Where To Save And Where To Splurge

One for the money.

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In a battle as old as time, comparing supermarket and salon hair care is a constant (and time consuming) struggle. Try as we might, very few of us can afford to only use salon-standard products. Instead, we find ourselves wondering whether paying more means getting more or whether, in actuality, a $14 bottle of shampoo will do the trick. 

To state the obvious, not all hair care products are created equal. However, in some instances, the heftier price tag is worth it, whereas in other areas, you can afford to be more thrifty. Here, we speak to Lexi Bannister, Founder of Lexi Bannister Hair, and Jaimee Lupton, Co-Founder of Monday Haircare, to unravel the age old debate and determine where to spend and where to save. 

Salon vs supermarket

Salon vs supermarket

The Difference

There is a considerable difference between professional and supermarket hair care (and we’re not talking about the hit to your bank account). It boils down to ingredients.

“Professional ranges include extra ingredients to specifically tackle an explicit need. For example, shampoos can be more medicated to tackle problems such as flaky skin and added extras in our conditioner can improve the integrity of our hair,” says Bannister.

The concentration levels of said ingredients also differ. Some supermarket products only use trace amounts of high-quality ingredients where the professional products will use a higher concentration. The key here is to do your own research and determine which supermarket products are also quality products. Because (thankfully) they are out there.

“The more concentrated the product, the less you need to use,” says Bannister. “Professional hair care can be cost effective if your stylist explains how to use it correctly.”

Where To Spend…


Shampoo & Conditioner

They form the basis of any hair care routine, so, if you have the means, they’re definitely worth the money. According to Bannister, a number of supermarket shampoos and conditioners are, “topped up with fillers to create the illusion that your hair is healthy when really, it’s just coated in a waxy build up.” 

Gritty Pretty Loves: Oribe Gold Lust Repair And Restore Shampoo ($72) and Conditioner ($77).


Oils, foams and serums, oh my! A hair treatment (be it leave in or wash out) is a great way to keep your hair looking healthy and lustrous. These bad boys are worth the dosh purely for their concentrated ingredients – when it comes to products designed for hair health this is the best place to splurge.

Gritty Pretty Loves: Kérastase Elixir Ultime Beautifying Hair Oil ($59) and Aveda Colour Conserve Strengthening Treatment ($55)


Like a warm hug on a winter’s day, a hair mask is to your hair what wine is to us (read: necessary at least once a week). Since these products sit on your hair and penetrate the strands for long periods of time, it’s important that they are the highest quality possible. “The saying, ‘You get what you pay for’, rings true here,” says Bannister. Although, if you are after something on the more affordable side, coconut oil or aloe vera are great natural masks that moisturise the hair without any nasties.

Gritty Pretty Loves: Alterna Caviar Anti-Ageing Restructuring Bond Repair Masque ($50) and IGK Antisocial Overnight Bond Building Dry Hair Mask ($52)

Where To Save…


Shampoo & Conditioner

Yes, we’ve included it on both lists. If your bank account is supermarket-only, know that you can get a quality shampoo and conditioner. But you need to do your research.

Look our for SLS and parabens. For Lupton, excluding these two nasties from Monday Hair Care formulas was a no-brainer: “It was apparent to me that SLS and parabens are a thing of the past. No matter which side of the fence you sit on, beauty lovers are steering clear of these two ingredients.”

And with good reason – SLS is guilty of stripping your hair of colour or moisture. As for parabens? They are designed to extend a product’s shelf life but can be incredibly drying on the hair and scalp. If your bank account is telling you to stick to Coles or Woolworths, look for a product that doesn’t contain either. “[Using] superior coconut-based cleansing ingredients means we can be SLS-free and still have that satisfying lather and clean feeling,” says Lupton.

Gritty Pretty Loves: Monday Hair Care Repair Shampoo ($20) and Conditioner ($20)

Dry Shampoo

“I recommend the Batiste Dry Shampoo,” says Bannister, who advises that this is one of the areas where you can save and get a great product. Since the product will only be on your hair for a day or two at a time, mainly at the root, saving here is perfectly allowed. And boy are we glad. Anyone else go through a bottle every two weeks? We’d be working two jobs if dry shampoo needed to be splurged on.

Gritty Pretty Loves: Batiste Dry Shampoo ($10.49) and Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk XL ($19.99)

Heat Protectant

Similar to dry shampoo in that the product has a specific and limited job, heat protectants can also be picked up at your local supermarket. Since they are by no means made to nourish the hair or keep it healthy, the ingredients are pretty similar across the board. It’s an added step, after all, so just using one is doing good things. 

Gritty Pretty Loves: OGX Shine+ Argan Oil of Morocco Heat Protect Spray ($12.59) and TRESEMMÉ Hair Heat Tamer Protective Styling Spray ($7.99)

Styling Products

Be it a sea salt spray, curl defining cream or hairspray, styling products are a great place to save some coin when it comes to hair care. Similar to dry shampoo and heat protectants in that they are designed to make your hair look a certain way and not necessarily nourish it or promote hair health, these products can be picked up at your local supermarket and still deliver amazing results. Affordable secret weapon? Sign us up.

Gritty Pretty Loves: Kristin Ess Sea Salt Air Dry Spray ($18.99) and John Frieda Frizz Ease Cream Curls Curl Defining Crème ($16.99)

Whether you’re team salon or team supermarket, there is a product for your budget and hair type. Our rule of thumb? If you find a product that works for you, grasp it with both hands and never let it go. That’s the beauty of beauty – it’s entirely up to you.

Do you have a supermarket hair care product that you swear by? Or perhaps you splurged and can’t go back? Let us know in the comments below!

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