Q: Nearly every time I go to a salon, when the stylist asks me what products I use at
home and I tell her, I get the lecture about how bad these products are for my hair
and am told that I really should be using the same products the salon uses. I've been
to different salons, all of whom use products by different makers, and they all
guarantee that theirs are better than the others. Does it really make a difference?
A: Yes and no. Yes, the products you use do make a difference in the results you can
expect. You won't get exactly the same results using a styling gel that you do with a
mousse. These products are designed on the whole for different effects.
However, if we're talking about different brands of the same product, a lot of times
there isn't an appreciable difference. All products of a certain type have the same basic
ingredients. There are some variations with additional ingredients for different purposes
(for example herbal ingredients or moisturizing ingredients) but whether or not you NEED
these ingredients should be a more important factor than the stylist's blanket statement
that they are 'better'. A lot of salons encourage "up-selling" of retail products, and it
sounds to me like you've encountered a lot of this. These products are often reasonably
expensive, and quite frankly, retail 'up-selling' can easily double (or more) your salon bill.
Personally, I only recommend a product if I've used it on the client and the client
asks about it because she likes the results. But, I don't operate in a salon. I do
consultant styling. I go to my client after talking to them and meeting them to see
what their needs are. The products I take and use with that client are ones that I've
selected and specifically chosen to meet their needs. If the client really likes the results,
I usually give them the product to keep, or at least share it with them and tell them where to get it for themselves.
Many hair salons require their stylists to do 'up-selling', often basing bonuses and wage
increases on the amount of retail product sales they generate. Never let yourself be
pushed into something you don't really want. You should base your decision to buy a
product at a salon on the basis of how much you enjoyed the product.
If you really like the way the shampoo and conditioner the salon uses makes your
hair feel, then by all means buy some to use at home. But with styling products, make
sure the stylist demonstrates for you the way they use the product, it just may be that
the result you are so happy with is more a matter of technique than of the brand of product used.
And when your stylist is touting a product you really aren't that interested in, always
remember that "No means no." A gentle, but firm, 'Thank you, but no." generally
suffices. The stylist doesn't want to risk offending you with sales pressure, because her
goal is to make you want to come back again. The only thing a stylist fears more than
not having customers is having a customer who will never come back.