Hair products – where to spend and where to save

Spend on


I’m a hair snob. Give me prescriptive, salon-quality products over off-the-shelf haircare any day. But this weekend I was staying with a friend and rather than lug bottles of shampoo and conditioner (I needed all the space in my overnight bag for wine bottles), I had to use hers. On Sunday morning I cleansed and conditioned using L’Oreal Elvive’s Damage Care, then followed up with a slick of my usual Moroccanoil, £29.95 (well, a leopard can’t completely change her spots) and finished with a super-fast rough dry (no nozzle on the dryer – eek).


What struck me straightaway was how much quicker my hair took to dry. Once dried it looked all shiny, bouncy and perfectly styled (I simply used a wide tooth comb and my fingers) – I didn’t reach for the straightners like usual. I headed straight to the nearest Superdrug and bought the shampoo and conditioner – they were even on a two for £3 offer.

So clearly sometimes less is more, which got me thinking – where should you spend and where can you save on hair care?


Spend on

Shampoo and conditioner

Many cheaper brands are packed with silicones that make your hair behave, yet don’t really fix your underlying problems. But, post-weekend-revelation, I’d recommend alternating with mid or lower priced ranges to make your pricier products go that bit further.


You’ll only use this once or twice per month, so it’s worth getting a good-quality version. My go-to brands? Kerastase and Ojon.

Treatment products

I swear by Redken’s Extreme Anti-Snap Treatment, £15.35. I used to spend evenings pouring over split ends, but now they’re tricky to find. Heat protectors come under this heading too, FYI.  Not using these products is false economy, split ends are the surest way to ruin your hairstyle. Also, you may be able to go that little bit longer between trims.

Save on

Finishing Products 

When it comes to hairspray, L’Oreal and Elnett are the only two words you need to know. Schwarzkopf’s Supersoft Shine Spray is another well-priced product that really adds shine to lacklustre hair, £2.29.


You should never brush wet or damp hair as it will cause breakage. Pick up a cheap wide-tooth comb from Boots or Superdrug and use it instead. My tip: start combing through the ends, working your way up to the roots gradually – if you comb from root to tip straight off you’ll end up with a knotted mess.


Here, go for mid-range prices – not super-cheap, but not gasp-inducing expensive. I love Revlon’s Cord Magic, £25 (from Boots and Argos) it has a great nozzle (so you can direct the heat downwards for a neat blow dry), it’s powerful (2000 watts) for fast blowdrying (less time under heat = healthier hair) and it has a retractable cord and folding handle for easy storage.

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