Why using professional products makes a difference in your hair

So many clients want to know “why should I buy Salon Products?” And, “what is the difference with the products I buy at my grocery or drugstore?” There are lots of ways to unpack this issue so this article will attempt to address some of the main issues and more important ones to consider. Hopefully this will make your decisions better when thinking about how to invest in your hair needs.

There are two main types of product development companies in the hair world. Professional Hair Companies – whoʼs sole and specific focus is on offering the very best products, technologies, and ingredients for stylists and colourist to offer their clients in the beauty industry, and Multinational Chemical or Pharmaceutical Companies – who develop hundreds of detergent based products, thousands of cosmetic based products, and dozens of hair chemical based products for the mass market on a global scale. Understanding their financial goals and models helps to understand what makes them different.

The Professional Hair Companies typically create brand(s) of products like colour, texture and styling products for the Salon and Hairstyling industry. They invest billions of dollars in developing lines of product that will drive the beauty industry and trends that keep our society looking and feeling contemporary and relevant. There brand is important to them and they are careful to select products that will produce the very best outcomes in the beauty industry. They seek to innovate and lead in the industry and create trends and overtime fads that will come and go. Their primary market are consumers who care about their appearance and want to look and feel their best and are comfortable to invest in their hair and its health. A bottle of professional product ingredients and technologies may cost around $3.00 to $5.00 or more to produce, depending on the product in question. This cost will make more sense as you compare it to the other types of companies that produce beauty products in the world further discussed in this article.

Giant Multinational Chemical, Pharmaceutical, and Cosmetic companies provide the mainstream market with low-cost products to the consumer where brand perception is perhaps secondary in consideration and price point and profitability is more in focus. This model is generally built on a global level of saturation of units (or bottles sold) in a given category or segment of the market. Segments can include: Shampooʼs, Conditioners, Treatments, Styling Products, Hair Dyes, Relaxers, Perms etc,. These companies focus on selling millions of bottles of each product in every category where they can produce the product in a facility for very low cost, often pennies on the dollar. You may pay $3.00, $5.00, $7.00 or much more depending on your perception of the value of the product. Yet in reality the company that manufactures it knows it can produce the product for as an example $0.30. The profit in these categories can be extremely lucrative for the company, because the cost of production is so low. Low production costs are generally a reflection of the quality of ingredients used to create the product.

As a general rule, the lower the cost the less likely that a ingredient will break down in the environment as safely or with less toxicity. These ingredients can also have stronger impacts on our immune systems and general health over a lifetime of use. It is much more common for the ingredients in a bottle of hair product to be petroleum derived, and not plant sourced. There is general agreement that these ingredients do not break down as easily in the environment and have more toxic impacts in the water, air, and soil systems that we live in. So the big picture is that – ingredients can influence the price to produce a bottle of product. The lower the cost the better the profit. The higher the cost the thinner the profit margins are for the company. Chemists and Scientists around the world are beginning to discuss these issues with more depth and clarity and we are beginning to learn of the effects of long term exposure to these ingredients. Opinions differ greatly on the impacts, and there is no real consensus as there is a lot on the line for these companies and industries. Billions of dollars globally and annually on the sale of these products to the consumer market. Ingredients for this type of company are less influenced by social perception and more focused on what is legally allowable to have as an ingredient in a given number of countries that they may want to sell their products in. The easier and cheaper it is to source, the more likely it will be used in the product.

Change is slow to clean up the ingredients list, so companies are reluctant to play with a tried and true system of profit that is highly predictable and stable. These products are developed as a response to a trend rather than to innovate new trends that the Professional Hair Companies have as a central focus in their business model. So familiarizing and educating yourself with ingredients and where they come from is important. It has direct impacts on the environment and our health. Your stylist and or salon should be tying to do its part to help with this when they choose which products are worthy of supporting, and how this can simplify the process for you as a client and consumer. So when you wonder what is the differences between professional and standard retail hair products this should help you get a better understanding of why things cost more and why it may be a better investment for you in your desire to have healthy and attractive hair.

Technologies that have improved the hair industry

  • A move to source and derive plant based materials and ingredients in a sustainable farming model.
  • Using ingredients that are free from pesticides and herbicides or genetically modified technologies.
  • An increase in the amount of organic ingredients in the hair products we use on our bodies.
  • The use of recycled packaging materials to contain and move the products.
  • Using renewable technologies and energy to produce and manufacture these products.
  • Investments in public education about the product and ingredients for the beauty industry.
  • Replacing Sulphates and other harsh ingredients in products
  • Using chemical technologies that repair and replace damaged bonds in the surfaces of the hair.
  • Advertising that uses less paper and petroleum based inks for print media.
  • Using plant based alcohols instead of petroleum based alcohols in styling products.
  • No ammonia or low ammonia content in colour and texture products.
  • Reducing scents in product to minimize allergic reactions and sensitivities.
  • Using naturally derived ingredients to produce scents in product lines.

Our job as Stylistsʼ and Colouristsʼ is to always keep current with these trends and technologies so that we can offer the best and most informed options to our clients. We need to consistently invest in education and training to remain current. We need to seek out an understanding of the new looks and colours and understand how they might help our clients to continually reinvent their appearance and feel contemporary and relevant. Ingredients and technological advancements in hair chemistry are at the heart of the many companies that are selling hair product lines today. Over time the quality and refinement of these ingredients helps produce lines to be more gentle on the hair, produce less structural damage when chemically processing the hair, protect the hair from environmental, chemical and thermal damages that happen to hair over time. Good product lines, also understand and address that a persons hair needs change over time as we age – and that younger hair, will respond differently to colour and products, than hair which has aged over the years.

The products of our parentsʼ and grand-parentsʼ and even great-grand-parentsʼ generation were developed at a time where we did not have to consider long-term damaging effects on the hair, the harshness of a product on the surfaces of hair, the effects of these ingredients and chemicals on our water systems, air systems, land systems and even our own immune systems. The newest generation of product lines must consider all of these issues and many more as our world has changed, the level of education about this has changed and socially clients are more aware of the impact that products can have on the earth and themselves if they donʼt choose wisely. So today, we have a general landscape in the industry where – “ingredients matter”. Colour and chemical services have ingredients that are typically plant derived and sourced, have been tested to ensure low or no toxicity to our environment, ingredients that breakdown in non harmful ways, present less stress on the immune systems of the clients and stylist who are buying and working with these products.

The Hair industry is not perfect and there is not always a perfect solution to correct all of the issues all of the time. So good companies try very hard to reduce their environmental impact and be as responsible as is financially reasonable in our world. There is also a very serious commitment to continue investing in research and development of chemical compounds and ingredients that will do better and better at producing desired results without compromising the health of the consumers who use them. It is our job as stylists to help educate all of our clients on these issues and technologies so that they can make better and informed decisions that are not solely based on price. It is these principles and drivers that separate professional hair companies and their products and the the regular product lines that are created for distribution and sale in the department stores, grocery stores, drugstores and even online for wholesalers.

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