The shelves of your drugstore, grocery store, or big-box superstore all offer dizzying arrays of affordable health and beauty products for your skin and hair. However, you’ll often pay for those savings with dry and cracked hair, dry skin, or a hair color that wasn’t exactly what the box promised. As you shop, be aware that there are some drugstore beauty products to avoid, great values notwithstanding, and that for these products you may want to stick to what your local hair salon offers.
Shampoos With Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
It’s bad enough that drugstore shampoos are mostly water by volume. Many popular brands rely on a surfactant called sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, in order to generate a heavy lather that convinces users that their shampoo is working. Unfortunately, it works all too well, going beyond cleaning and often into drying out hair and stripping color. Once you make the switch to a non-SLS shampoo, you may be suspicious of the lack of lather, feeling that you’re not truly washing your hair without those signature suds. But don’t worry—that excess lather was doing much more harm than good.
Boxed Hair Dyes
Boxed dyes are fine if you’re in a reliable routine and buy the same dye regularly. On the other hand, if you want to change up your hair color, don’t do it by eyeballing the shelves. Trying a new color of retail hair dye can end with disastrous results, leaving you not only dissatisfied but quite frustrated—that dynamic shade of red you picked out, for instance, turns out to be a dull reddish-brown instead. A visit to your stylist for a corrective color treatment can undo your errors, but when embarking upon departures from your usual, trust your stylist and don’t dye by your own hand.
Gently exfoliating the skin to keep our faces looking their smoothest is a good idea, and the ban on polyethylene microbeads has lessened the grim environmental ramifications of smoothing our faces at the expense of our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Nonetheless, some manufacturers have replaced microbeads with other problematic abrasives, making these facial scrubs and washes among the top drugstore beauty products to avoid. Pulverized seeds, shells, and pits have supplanted microbeads as the active abrasive of choice, but estheticians recommend against these products—not to mention their reliance on alcohols as fillers, which can dry out the skin.