Stylish Living

How to Find Salon Quality Hair Products At Drugstore Prices

Are you looking for great hair care products that gives you a great style?  Not wanting to spend a lot on salon brands? Back in the day when I was working I typically bought all of my shampoo, conditioner, and styling products at a salon.  When kids entered the picture this was one of the first things I cut back on to save money. I didn’t want to sacrifice quality though. After scouring tons of reviews and trying different brands over the years I have found the perfect formula for my fine hair and it doesn’t cost a fortune.  Keep reading to learn how you can find salon quality products at drugstore prices.

frugal hair care products, thrifty hair care, salon quality hair care

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Finding Salon Quality Products

I’ve been a mom for almost 8 years. I think the last of my Redken, Aveda, and Pureology stuff ran out about 7.5 years ago. While I don’t go through shampoo and conditioner like I do toilet paper, as in buying these items isn’t a regular thing, it didn’t feel right spending $20 per item.  I like to have nice looking hair though, and rely on products to help me achieve a stylish coif. Looking back I think hair care is the area that started my search into all things frugal.  I remember thinking, is it possible to find salon quality products for a fraction of the price?

How to Find Salon Quality Hair Products At Drugstore Prices For Fine Hair

Do Your Research

To answer that question I started reading a lot of reviews on different brands sold at drugstores.  Hey, if you’re going to be savvy with your pennies, you have to know if you’re going to buy something that gets good ratings or works, otherwise it’s a waste of money.

There have been a few hits and many misses with my purchases. I never came across anything horrible, but nothing that left me thinking I found a salon quality equivalent.  I always finished the bottle I bought but if it wasn’t great I wouldn’t buy it again. Other times I’d buy the product several time but continued to read other recommendations until I came across something that sounded like it worked.   Besides Pinterest you can find great reviews at Total Beauty.  I also really like the hair care advice and tutorials at the Small Things Blog.

Know Your Hair Type

Before you getting too deep into reading reviews or asking for recommendations, it’s good to understand what type of hair you have.  Is it fine, silky, thick, coarse, have natural curl? If you’re unsure ask your stylist or a friend to describe your texture. Hair care lines also works best when hair is healthy so it’s a good idea to get regular trims. I know when my hair is full of split ends nothing will help my snarly mane.

When reading reviews I focused my attention on people’s opinions who had similar hair as mine.  My strands are fine, but I have a lot of it. It also has a slight wave. I don’t have stick straight hair (although there are days I wish I did) so I didn’t spend time reading something from a person with that texture.  If you do have silky straight hair though, you may not get much from the products I recommend, although keep reading for tips on how to find products that might work for you!

Look At Ingredients

Over the years I have learned a lot about what to look for in products and the type of ingredients that work best for my hair texture.  For example for my fine hair, I’ve read that silicone can get heavy and weigh it down so stay away from that. Naturally curly hair can easily frizz so you want to look for ingredients, like coconut oil, to seal in moisture. Volumizing products can easily dry out hair so if you have dry strands, you want to add a moisturizing component to your routine. 

For my hair type I focused on looking for volumizing products that plump up fine my strands with ingredients like collagen, and coffee.  Seal in moisture and prevent breakage from using hot styling tools with glycerine, coconut oil and a heat protectant. And using products that are light, rather than heavy but also added texture to help bring out my waves more. This translated into some sort of volumizing and moisturizing cleanser, mousse, heat protector and dry shampoo.

Drugstore Prices

The one hair care line I had been avoiding was TRESemme.  I honestly don’t know why, I just did. Perhaps I had a bad experience with it as an immature teen.  I was at a crossroads with brands though because I was running out of mousse and styling cream that was less than stellar and was on the search for the next best thing.  


One day on Facebook a blogger I followed recommended a product that was way out of my price range.  I have seen the brand she recommended on a lot of other beauty blogs. These bloggers were all former hair stylists so I trusted they knew what they were talking about. I’m not about to ask my own stylist for a recommendation on drugstore brands so I asked this blogger what she thought would be a drugstore brand equivalent.  She said the best one out there was TREsemme.

When it was time to stock up on something new I read reviews on TRESemme.  I discovered they had several volumizing lines. Many options! And great prices!  To me it seemed like the best reviews were for the 24 Hour Body Mousse, TRESemme Pro Collection Thick + Full Thickening Balm, and the Tresemme Volumizing Dry Shampoo.

While reading reviews on TRESemme I also came across a recommendation on L’Oréal Paris BLOW DRY IT Quick Dry Primer Spray from the Small Things Blog.  Helps cut down on drying time? Sure I’ll try it out.

Salon Quality Hair Care at Drugstore Prices

I was also low on shampoo and conditioner.  I thought I’d try out a more natural line. I had been using Hask’s Coconut Oil Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner for my wavy hair.  It helped keep my hair soft, but it was also limp. I noticed Hask had a thickening line with ingredients I liked, collagen and coffee. It was also free from sulfates, parabens, and alcohol which weighs my hair down and dries it out.  The reviews were good so I picked up the Hask Biotin Boost Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner.

Have great hair at a fraction of the price


I found all of these products at great drugstore prices!

Testing Out The Products

As soon as I got a chance to wash and style my hair I felt as excited as a kid getting an ice cream treat because it was time to try out my new finds.

The Routine

I washed with the Hask’s Biotin Boost Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner.  Even in the shower I could tell my hair was cleaner and more manageable. I could easily run my fingers through my wet head.

After wrapping my hair up in a towel I applied the TRESemme 24 Hour Body Mousse and TRESemme Pro Collection Thick + Full Thickening Balm. Then I spritzed on the L’Oréal Paris BLOW DRY IT Quick Dry Primer Spray. (Side note with the L’Oreal spray, a little goes a long way and can make hair very silky if you put on too much.  I just put on 4 sprays around my hair.)

My blow drying routine is as follows:  Before drying I brush everything through with a paddle brush.  I set my dryer to medium heat and bend over to rough dry my hair with my fingers.  When it’s about 50% dry I flip my hair over and lift it up at the roots throughout the top of my head with my brush and give it a shot of heat.  On straight hair days I then brush my hair with the paddle brush with the blow dryer following along my hair from root to tip. On wavy hair days I just scrunch it.  When it’s about 90% dry I flip my head over to finish drying it.

The Results

After drying my hair I noticed a great improvement to my hair.  It was full of volume, but also weightless. My layers were smooth but also had a lot of movement.  It wasn’t frizzy or limp. I honestly felt like I just got a blow out at the salon! The best part was that I could have left my hair as is and still feel like I was having a good hair day.  To save time I normally don’t run a curling iron through my hair if I’m just staying close to home.

I did want to try adding some beach waves with my iron though so I added a few shots of the Tresemme Volumizing Dry Shampoo to my hair to add texture and help the curling iron grip my strands.  Running the curler through my hair was super fast because I got perfect curls that laid just the way I liked them.

I normally only wash my hair every other day thanks to dry shampoo.  My hair held it’s style the next day with a quick tousle and touch-up and it still felt light and full of body.  

The next time I needed to wash my head I went through the same routine except instead of brushing my hair straight I scrunched it into curls.  Normally I use a curl activator product, but I didn’t this time. When I was done drying I felt like my hair waved-up better with these products than my curl enhancer.


I’ve been using all of these products for over 2 months now and they are still holding up.  Perhaps my search for salon quality hair products at drugstore prices is over, as long as they are not discontinued.  I hope this post helps you have a great hair day every day, and saves you money too. Even if your hair type is different I highly recommend checking out these brands.  They offer a variety of products for a lot of different textures. I’d love to hear your reviews if you try something out.

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  • Diane

    This was so helpful!! I struggle with my hair so much and salons are so expensive and I never know what products to get at the drug store because there are so many and the ones Ive tried just weren’t that great! This was a great post!!! Thank you!!

    • admin

      Glad it helps, hope it takes out the guess work. I hear you, it’s overwhelming with all the stuff out there.

  • Melissa

    A lady after my own heart! I have also been searching for salon quality products from my drug store. I have not tried any of the products you have mentioned but have added them to my shopping list. Thanks!

  • Leslie

    I’ve concentrated a lot on my hair in the last two years. I use a few of these products too. I have super curly hair but I do like to straighten it when it’s not raining.

    • admin

      How did these work with curly hair? Mine has a slight wave that responds great to these. If anything my hair just seems healthy and a lot more maneageable straight or wavy.

  • admin

    Glad it helps, hope it takes out the guess work. I hear you, it’s overwhelming with all the stuff out there.

  • Blue

    Great tips! Especially the one about knowing your hair type! A lot of people don’t know that! It is so important in order to get products that work

  • Cassie

    Ooo i’ve been curious about the Biotin shampoo, glad you shared! I know i’ve spent so much money on hair products without knowing enough about them.