The Truth About Buying Salon Products in Drug Stores

Anything we can do these days to make life more convenient seems to be a no-brainer. But too often we are at risk of sacrificing quality for a quick fix. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your favorite brand of shampoo sold at drug stores is the same that’s sold in salons!

Here’s the real deal.

Picture this, you’re running errands and end up walking through the hair aisle of the drugstore. You see your favorite professional product on the shelf  – you’ve got a coupon, everything about it looks like the legitimate real deal, and the price looks incredible.

So, you buy it. Right?

Beware: this is the deep, dark hole of the black market hair industry.  Drugstores and big box retailers are NOT authorized to sell professional salon products. They are called “salon professional products” because they are exactly that; in order to sell these products one needs a professional license.

When you go to the salon for your color and cut, you sit in the chair of a licensed professional. This person spent hours in school and months studying for their license exam. (On top of that, in the case of Davis Hairdressing, we spend MORE months and MORE hours studying up with modern education and the latest trends, learning about products and styling tools directly from the brands and creators themselves!) Our well educated hands leave you feeling like a super star. We know exactly what each product does, why it works, and how it can best work for you to get the look you want. We know your hair type, and we’ll teach you exactly how to use products to create the hair of your dreams at home.

If you’re purchasing your products at the supermarket or drugstore and wonder why your hair doesn’t look like it did after you left the salon, or why your color has faded so quickly, it’s because there is nothing true and benefiting in those bottles. They may look the same, but there is no regulations on what is actually in that can of hairspray.

So, how did they get there? And what’s ACTUALLY in there?

Unfortunately, some salons that are going out of business need to get rid of all their old expired products to help make the last dollar in order to break even. Because this has not been authorized by the brands, these products are all altered in some way in order to be sold. (What we mean by altered is, they’re knock off versions of the true product, have long since expired, or they are full of fillers.)

Trust your stylist – we, the professionals need these professional in-salon products to help create this look… don’t you think it makes sense to get them directly from us instead of trusting your beautiful hair to a knock off?


By Whitney

Davis Hairdressing & Seanie Strong

One of the best things about the salon community is the intimate relationships we build with our clients. We are caring, compassionate, driven people, and once you enter our lives, we want to do whatever we can to help make your day (week… month… year!) better.

One of our stylists at our South Boston location, Rosie, approached us with her client’s heart in her hands. Rosie had nannied part time for a family, who’s son, Sean, was battling neuroblastoma. She was very involved in their fundraising efforts with The Jimmy Fund, and wanted to see how the salon could support them further. We’ve been brainstorming different (fun) ways that we could contribute as a salon community.

Sweet, silly, bright Seanie passed away at the age of three. In Rosie’s words,

“The little boy I had known with the light light brown hair that was so pretty in the sun, was suffering just wanting to be cuddled in his moms lap. The only thing that brought some of us comfort was that he was now somewhere not in pain. But as you can imagine that gives very little comfort when you think of his giggle when he was running around in the back yard feeling great. Something that continues to bring everyone who knew him comfort is when September comes around and it’s time for the Jimmy fund walk in Boston. The last few years our Seanie strong team has grown and grown. Being with people who loved him or know someone who knew him walking for children’s cancer.”
Davis Hairdressing will join Rosie & Sean’s family this year at the Boston Marathon Walk for The Jimmy Fund. We are doing what we are best at – rallying together during hard times to try and make a difference.
We hope you will consider joining us for STYLED for Seanie Strong on September 8th, or consider making a donation to the Seanie Strong page here.

The $400 Blow Dryer

Dyson. Synonymous with smooth. It even rolls off your tongue in a smooth way.

Dyson products are the Louis Vuitton of household products.  When you think of Louis Vuitton you think of QUALITY: clean lines, sleek designs, superior material and – yes, a hefty price tag.  Dyson products are known for esthetically pleasing designs that turn ordinary household appliances into cool pieces of art.

Late last year, Dyson came out with the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer with a price tag of $399. WOW! Just WOW! As a professional hair stylist, I have played with, tested, and owned many blow dryers, some of which have cost me over $150.  I love keeping up with the newest and latest product trends, and often get  curious as to see what the hype is all about when something comes with a hefty price tag, but for $400 I better have not one complaint about this new gadget I’m adding to my tool belt!

Luckily, my coworker bought it and I got a chance to hold it and watch it do its magic without having to bite the bullet and fork over the funds. This blow dryer is gorgeous!!! I  got the same feeling I get when you buy a new cell phone – you want to play with it for hours and test out all of the cool new functions. But is it worth $400?

I was fully ready & prepared for the Dyson Supersonic to blow me away.

Unfortunately it did not and here is why…

My first thought about the Supersonic is – it’s so sexy.  It is white, light weight, sleek, compact, comes with 3 separate magnetic attachments and a really cute carrying case.  When it comes time to use it on my first blow dry, I enjoyed the loud, clean sound of the air blowing – I found it relaxing.  I did realize my hand was starting to cramp a bit – now, that could have been because I was just on vacation for 2 weeks. Regardless, it was very uncomfortable which quickly made me realize the handle was a bit too long and not designed to comfortably hold like most professional hair dryers.

The Dyson Supersonic is said to preserve the natural shine by constantly regulating the temperature. Well – that’s not all that goes into creating shine. You have to work for the shine by smoothing the hair -so once it’s nicely flat and smooth the light reflects off the hair giving it the shine.  The less smooth the hair the less shine. I found myself working extra hard looking for that smooth shine that I was so accustomed to getting with my own dryer. I attributed that to the Dyson not being hot enough; it  only goes up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most of the women that come into our salon have fine textured hair easily smoothed by any dryer, but while using the Supersonic I quickly realized that this tool would not be suitable for all hair types, especially the women with thicker course hair.  I love heat styling – I have picked up some great techniques to expose the shine in the hair in very little amount of time.  So while the Supersonic did dry the hair faster, my goal isn’t to just get it dry, it’s to create shape and movement that gives style that is not easily achieved at home. You don’t come to the salon to “dry off”, you come to look beautiful!

All in all, the Dyson Supersonic does not seem to be worth the $400 price tag, especially as a professional tool. But it has so much potential!  Dyson can easily redesign the Supersonic to make it more professionally-user friendly with its same sleek sexy look and great technology but with more thought and effort put in to answering the question, “what is the desired end result?” No one buys a hair dryer for $400 to just dry hair fast – we all want to look great in the end, too!

Karen M. Alvarez
Davis Hairdressing South Boston

Getting The Most Out Of Your Hairdresser

Everyone knows that second to your spouse/partner, your next most intimate relationship is with your hairdresser! They are your therapist, your secret-keeper, your escape from the day-to-day hustle, and the one that makes you feel like your most beautiful self.

But have you tapped into your hairdressers’ secret talents? These artists are not just slapping paint on your hair. In fact, they are calculating formulas and mixing colors that are customized for each individual client – the same formula would not bring the same results to different heads of hair! Knowing your hair history, the products you use, your hair goals and color preferences all are things your stylist considers when developing the exact right formula for your hair, or the right tools to use to cut it. Behind the scenes, hairdressers are continuously educating themselves to make sure they bring their clients the best techniques and methods.

To make sure you are getting the most out of your stylists’ talents, follow these three tips

  1. Have an open conversation about expectations.


Hair is not “one size fits all” – just because your friend went from brunette to platinum in one day doesn’t mean your hair can. Most often, it takes multiple appointments to make such a drastic change. Your stylist will tell you what is possible in one appointment to maintain the integrity of your hair.

  1. Let your hairdresser “blend the trend”.

A messy, textured lob can look great on anyone, as long as that “lob” is the right length, with the right shape. Your stylist can look at the shape of your face and the texture of your hair and find a way to make a trend work for you – sometimes wanting to look exactly like a photo can be self-sabotage! While bringing in photos is great, they should serve as inspiration for your stylist to work from.

  1. Be open to the journey.

With the right hairdresser and the right products (…and time, and money!) you can achieve the hair of your dreams. Be open to the journey along the way – whether you are making a big color transition, growing out bangs, going from long to short, or trying to achieve a new texture, your hair stylist is your guide to making the in-between looks work for you.


(Special thanks to Laura in #Newton for the inspiration behind this post. Laura is an Art Director at Davis Hairdressing with a flawless eye for color. She works with all of her clients to find that achievable perfect hair look.)

A Culture of Education

Mary & I shared a common vision when opening Davis Hairdressing 27 years ago – we wanted to be customer-focused. That may not seem like such a “radical” idea in the service industry, but at the time, the salon community was very salon-focused, in the way that the ego of owners (and stylists) was prioritized over the needs of the client.

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