The Difference Between A £2 And £20 Shampoo Revealed

How much should we really be spending on shampoo?

Differences Between £2 and £20 Shampoo

by Lucy Morris |
Updated on

Have you ever found yourself throwing a bargain-priced bottle of shampoo in your Sainsbury’s basket? While the cheap high of saving money may make your hair styling a sweeter experience in the short-term, are you actually getting a sore deal in the long-run?

One study calculated that women spend on average £58 on shampoo and conditioner every year. When you think of the total cost of your bathroom cabinet’s contents, this doesn’t seem an awful lot. However, there is an argument that suggests we should in fact be spending more on hair cleansing than we already do.

‘You usually get what you pay for’, confides hair loss expert, Sara G. Allison, 'cheaper shampoos are generally mass produced and likely to contain harsher detergents and chemicals which could be irritants for sensitive scalps. The most well known and common ingredient being Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS). Whereas a more expensive shampoo will usually contain higher quality ingredients, such as essential oils, plant or fruit extracts, and botanicals.’

This is a sentiment echoed by the owner & creative director of Hare & Bone salon, Sam Burnett who says, ‘cheaper shampoos and conditioners can contain ingredients like parabens, sulphates and silicones which make your hair ‘look’ healthy. They don’t, however, improve hair health.' For this you need a product with hair-friendly ingredients that target specific concerns and can improve the overall health of your hair over-time - instead of an instant, temporary fix.

Shop the best high-end shampoos...


The best expensive shampoos

Aveda Sapp Moss Weightless Hydration Shampoo, £21.001 of 5

Aveda Sapp Moss Weightless Hydration Shampoo, £21.00

A lightweight and silicone-free formula that hydrates your tresses without weighing them down. This gentle formula includes 94% natural ingredients to effectively cleanse, smooth flyaways and increase manageability.

Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo, £222 of 5

Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo, £22

If you suffer from itchy scalp or dandruff but don't want to overload your hair with chemicals, then this is the shampoo for you. It includes rosemary oil, menthol, salicylic acid and ginger extracts to soothe and nourish irritated scalps.

Olaplex No4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, £26.003 of 5

Olaplex No4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, £26.00

A daily cleansing and repairing shampoo that deeply hydrates, strengthens and repairs hair that is damaged and over processed. It also repairs shattered bonds in between salon and styling sessions and is sulphate, paraben and gluten-free as well as vegan-friendly.

Kerastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra Violet Shampoo, £16.754 of 5

Kerastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra Violet Shampoo, £16.75

This purple shampoo works to restore gloss and shine to blonde hair, whilst delivering lasting protection against yellow and brassy tones. It includes Hyaluronic Acid and Edelweiss Flower to replenish hydration for silky soft and vibrant tresses.

Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo, £505 of 5

Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo, £50

For glossy, healthier-looking hair try this luxurious shampoo formulated with shine-boosting argan oil and hydrating maracuja oil.

The difference between cheap and expensive shampoo...

'The type of shampoo that you choose should be dependent on the needs of your hair rather than the power in your pocket,' argues Nicola Smart, a trichologist at Smart Hair Clinic. 'All shampoo, irrespective of price and ingredients, will work to rid the hair and scalp of debris.'

'Shampoos contain surfactants which act as wetting agents, detergents and lather agents primarily. There are some well known surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate found in a wide range of shampoos.'

'There are certainly varying types of shampoo such as our ever faithful clarifying shampoo, thickening shampoos and now conditioning or cleansing shampoos. The only difference being the types of surfactants used and the quantity of each'.

The best shampoo for your hair type...

If you’re keen on smoothing out your kinks the founder of blow LTD, Fiona McIntosh wants you to know that, ‘finding the right formulation can make a big difference to the finished look of your hair. I know my fine, coloured hair can look limp and bedraggled with a shampoo and conditioner which is heavy with sulphates and silicones, so I choose a sulphate free formula designed for exactly my hair type to give it as much natural spring as possible…We also notice how silicones can affect a final blow dry - the style falls out faster.’

The best shampoo for your scalp...

When considering which shampoo to purchase, it’s so often that the health of our scalps gets overlooked. And, yet this is an area that’s as directly impacted by your choice as your hair itself. Trichologist Allison explains, ‘people often only think about how their hair looks and don’t realise that caring for their scalp and follicles are so important in maintaining healthy hair. Your hair shafts will grow through your follicles, therefore it’s important to keep them free of debris, bacteria and environmental pollutants which will also allow the natural flow of sebum, but of course it’s a fine balance and we don't want too much sebum either, so it’s important to also cleanse daily too.’

In the long run, you may actually be paying more by buying a lower priced product. Allison explains that with more expensive shampoos, ‘you may find you actually only need to use a smaller amount to be effective. Therefore actually the price difference is not that great as it may at first appear.’

READ MORE: Beauty Lingo Decoded: What Is A Sulphate-Free Shampoo And Should We Be Using Them?

READ MORE: Beauty Lingo Decoded: What Is A Paraben-Free Product And Should We Be Using Them?

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