Make us your home page
Beauty Stop

From bargains to splurges, the best shampoos and conditioners for any hair

Some say that all shampoos and conditioners, regardless of price, are created equally, whether they cost a buck or $80. The logic behind this argument is that, at the core, most shampoos are just detergent gussied up with a bunch of other ingredients that make them more desirable to consumers.

Which makes that pleather knockoff you picked up just as good as the real thing. And the $69.95 Jimmy Choo for H&M gladiator sandal must be the same quality as the $600 Neiman Marcus version.

The truth is that inexpensive hair care products often call upon cheap ingredients, including cocamide MEA, a chemical lathering agent, as well as preservatives, fragrances and parabens — meaning you get what you pay for.

So this week, I've rounded up the best and worst hair-care products; shampoos and conditioners plucked from both the shelves of your local pharmacy and the pricey product boutique at your favorite salon.

Love it! Ookisa Fortifying Shampoo and Replenishing Conditioner

Ookisa's paraben-free, sulfate-free shampoo and color protecting conditioner left my hair soft, smooth and healthy-looking. At $39.95 each, this duo is far from cheap, and while I wish I could say it wasn't worth the dough, it's practically a beauty bargain given the shiny locks left behind.

Leave it: Garnier Fructis Fortifying Cream Conditioner and Shampoo

At less than $4 a bottle, this product is well within most budgets. But despite promising to moisturize hair, it left my locks dry and unruly. Plus, I'm not thrilled with the bargain-basement ingredients listed on the bottles, including parabens and sulfates.

Love it! Rusk Sensories' Shampoo and Conditioner

Rusk's Compressed Formula Technology (CFT) promises to deliver all of the results while requiring 30 to 50 percent less product to get the job done. Freshly colored locks will heartily approve of the Brilliance Grapefruit and Honey Color Protecting Leave-in Cream Conditioner ($13), a vitamin C-packed product that seals in hair color. Another winner is the Full Green Tea and Alfalfa Bodifying Conditioner ($13). The Rusk Sensories collection is available at local salons as well as

Leave it: Burt's Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar

I love Burt, truly I do, but this shampoo bar ($6 at fell short. This bar just isn't right for long locks, ladies. Unless you're sporting a G.I. Jane 'do, the Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar will leave you a tangled mess.

Love it! Neil George Intense Illuminating Shampoo ($22) and Conditioner ($24)

You know how your hair always looks best after a mind-blowing in-salon shampoo and style? Well, the makers of Neil George have bottled that feeling. The collection is the brainchild of Amanda George and Neil Weisberg, founders of the Neil George salon in Beverly Hills. The Intense Illuminating Shampoo is ideal for dry and colored hair while the paraben-free conditioner left my hair shiny, tangle-free and oh-so-pretty. Shop the collection at

From bargains to splurges, the best shampoos and conditioners for any hair 10/15/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours