I’m so over shelling out cash for high-priced hair products that perform basically the same as drugstore versions (Living Proof No Frizz Straight Making cream being the exception). Why not get your haircare at the drugstore, and pocket the extra cash?
Here’s the lowdown on the top cleansers and stylers for your tresses.
Best Overall Shampoo & Conditioner:
Garnier Fructis Shampoo & Conditioner (approx. $4 each)
The best shampoo. Period. I use Color Shield every day, and it makes my hair look full of life. The UV filters protect color from fading and brassiness, and the conditioner is super-moisturizing. And it smells lovely. Depending on your needs, they have a plethora of formulas: Fortifying, Color Shield, Sleek & Shine, Wonder Waves, Triple Nutrition, Hydra Curls, Body Boost, Length & Strength, Moisture Works, and Anti-Dandruff. Whew! They’ve got you covered!
Best Treatment-Specific Shampoo & Conditioner:
Nexxus Dualiste Color Protection + Intense Hydration Shampoo & Conditioner ($11 each)
A double-chambered pump spouts out color-protecting and hydrating shampoos for a blend that keeps hair in tip-top shape. What I love most about color-preserving shampoos is that they are ultra-moisturizing, so anyone can use them, even ladies with non-colored hair. The only change you’ll notice is softer hair, which is great for everyone. This particular combo is incredibly moisturizing, and will prevent your color from fading. Also available in Color Protection + Anti-Breakage and Color Protection + Volume formulas.
John Freida Luminous Color Clear Shine Glaze ($10)
This salon-like glaze seals the hair shaft and provides the shiniest, glossiest locks you’ve ever had. Use it once or twice a week to boost shine and improve hair’s texture and appearance. Suitable for all hair shades.
Queen Helene Cholesterol Hot Oil Treatment ($4)
This inexpensive treatment is just what parched, breakage-prone hair ordered. The oil is packed with cholesterol, which is bad for your heart, but great for your hair. Warm the tube in the shower, smooth on oil from roots to ends, and leave it on for at least 5 minutes (the longer it soaks, the more it repairs). Rinse and shampoo/condition as usual. You’ll have soft, supple hair with less noticeable split ends and more body. It’s like a healthy injection for the hair shaft. Each box comes with 3 resealale tubes (no waste for girls with shorter hair).
Garnier Fructis Fortifying Deep Conditioning 3-Minute Masque ($4)
This thick, rich cream penetrates deep into the hair shaft to perform maximum damage control in just 3 minutes. For ultimate damage defense, work this midway through hair to the ends, wrap in a warm towel, and let it soak for 15 minutes before rinsing. DO NOT apply this to roots; it can weigh hair down on top and make it flat. Use once a week for soft, shiny, stronger hair. Repeated use means more damage repair.
Best Leave-In Conditioner:
Aveeno Nourish + Condition Leave-In Treatment ($6.50)
This gentle spray nourishes hair without weighing it down. You get extra hydration and protection without any heaviness, so hair is free to move and bounce.
Best Anti-Frizz Serum:
CitreShine Highly Laminating Anti-Frizz Serum ($7)
This serum zaps all frizz and imparts glossy, glass-like shine to tresses. It’s packed with vitamins and UV protectants to fortify hair and prevent sun damage. CitreShine just repackaged their products, so what you see in the drugstore may look different from the photo above, but it’s the same product.
Best Styling Cream:
Garnier Fructis Smoothing Milk ($4)
This creamy, citrus-scented formula absorbs quickly into hair, and help to hold your style while delivering the benefits of a leave-in conditioner. At the beach (in the most humid weather), I smooth this on my damp hair post-shower before straightening or curling; it keeps my naturally wavy hair locked in any style I choose for hours.
Sally Hershberger Wreck and Roll Texturizing Cream ($12)
The celebrity hairstylist’s eponymous line is just as good as her own hands. With this wax-like cream, creating piecey, shaggy, spiky, or undone-on-purpose styles is a piece of cake. Look like you just rolled out of bed — in a good way — with the dip of a finger.
Herbal Essences Set Me Up Max Hold Hairspray ($4)
This stuff works. Hold it 10-12 inches from hair and mist to set soft styles like loose waves. Hold can about 8 inches from hair and spray liberally to lock updos and major styles in place for hours. Doesn’t flake, and doesn’t leave hair crunchy.
Best Curl Creator:
Samy Big Curls Curl Defining Cream ($6)
Soften your curls and zap frizz for a polished head full of expertly-crafted ringlets.
Aussie Aussome Volume Styling Mousse ($4)
Work this rich foam into damp hair for all-day volume that lasts. Great for girls with curly or wavy hair; it really pumps up ringlets. And for stick-straight ladies, this will give you voluminous body.
That concludes the Recession Beauty Drugstore Finds series! What are your favorite drugstore buys? Tell me in the comments!
In light of the economic downturn, Recession Beauty is a SugarSocial series that features low-cost, budget-friendly products as an alternative to luxury or designer brands.