Is Your Shampoo Worth Its Price?

Is Your Shampoo Worth Its Price?
We all need to wash our hair, but buying fancy shampoos and conditioners can quickly tangle up your finances. Here we investigate whether all those moisturizing, smoothing, and revitalizing ingredients are they really worth paying extra.

First, higher prices don't mean better shampoos. What's most important are the active ingredients which can generally be found in equal measure in both salon and grocery store shampoos. Some of the key ingredients you should look for are: ammonium laurel sulfate, sodium laurel and sodium laureth sulfate. These are all the cleansing ingredients in shampoos, and sodium laureth sulfate is the most gentle on your hair, but keep in mind it's also the most expensive of the three.

Next, watch out for exaggerated advertisements. For instance, claims that cheaper brands are watered down, or have a higher pH levels compared to their pricier counterparts just aren't true.

Lastly, don't fall for fancy ingredients in your shampoo. Some companies will add foam boosters, fragrances and even caviar to make the shampoo more alluring. Do these extravagant ingredients actually make a difference? Not really.

Before you buy your next bottle of shampoo, remember these tips. By knowing what's in the bottle, you can cut your spending -- one wash at time.

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Dried herbs and spices have identical ingredient lists. The only difference is the method used for drying them, and if you're not able to easily determine that information, the generic version is as good as the name brand. The exception is from a store that does the drying for you –- but you'll usually be paying a stiff premium for that.
They're just trash bags, but you want to be choosy about what you throw your garbage in. With generic bags, you generally have to stop filling them about two-thirds of the way full or they'll easily rip, whereas with a higher quality bag, you can fill it to the rim without ripping. Thus, it's usually worth paying as much as a 50 percent premium per bag to get the name brand version. I personally use Glad ForceFlex bags, which, when bought in bulk, meet that 50 percent threshold.
The petroleum industry is so heavily regulated that the gas available at one station is, for all practical purposes, the same as the gas at another station. Let the price lead you when it comes to fueling up.
Generic paper products, such as toilet paper, paper towels, and paper plates, have a tendency to shred and fall apart at the least opportune times. To clean up a mess, you'll often have to use twice as much. And with paper plates, you often have to double-layer them if you don't want your food to slide off the plate. Why not just pay a little more to get durable products and create less waste? The cost-per-use is a lot lower.
This is a perfect example of how comparing ingredients and nutrition facts makes all the difference. Almost always, you'll find that they're identical among different brands of sugar and salt. There's no reason to go for a name brand here.
When you're in a situation where you need a baby wipe, you want to be able to grab something that works to clean up the mess. Generic baby wipes are often dry right out of the package and sometimes fall apart mid-use. My solution is to skip both the generics and name brands and use a squirt bottle of a gentle cleaning solution along with a bunch of soft washcloths. They always work, and they're reusable – just toss them in the laundry.
The difference between electronic cables of the same type is negligible. Much like gasoline, the specifications on these cables are so tight that there's little variation between cable brands. Just choose the cable that meets your needs in terms of length and adapter, and buy the one with the lowest price.
Off-brand electronics are more likely to have poor customer service support in the event of a failure, as many generic electronic companies are based overseas and have unresponsive departments. Before you buy electronics, make sure the customer service department for that company has good marks, or you may find yourself with a $1,000 black box you can't return or do anything with.
For most types of breakfast cereal, such as bran flakes, corn flakes and so forth, the generic cereals are indistinguishable from the brand name ones. If you often start your day off with a bowl of cereal and a healthy splash of milk, give the generic version of your favorite cereal a try. Such cereal is often sold in bags, so save your old box and put the new bag inside for easier storage.
The big difference between a good diaper and a bad one is the dreaded "blow out" – when a baby's outfit quickly goes from "cute" to "disaster." Most comparison studies find an enormous difference between generics and name brands; check out this disposable diaper comparison review for details. (Better yet, go cloth. We love them.)
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