'Affordable': More people are buying haircare products at the supermarket, haircare company founder says

The quality of supermarket haircare brands is catching up.
The quality of supermarket haircare brands is catching up. Photo credit: Getty.

Kiwis may prefer the affordability and convenience of buying their shampoo and conditioner at the supermarket rather than the salon, the founder of haircare brand Monday says.

Traditionally, hairdressers have pushed salon haircare brands, saying they're more concentrated, last longer and can prolong colour wear. So when hairdressers ask what we use on our hair, it's understandable to feel a little embarrassed admitting to using supermarket products.

But Jaimee Lupton says the industry is seeing a shift. After feeling frustrated over the cost of haircare products sold at salons, Lupton founded Monday just under a year ago.  As higher-quality, more affordable products hit the mass-market, people have the opportunity to weigh up quality and cost.

"When we launched our brand into supermarkets, we sold six months' worth of stock in six weeks," Lupton says.

"Being able to pick up affordable haircare while doing the grocery shopping is super-convenient - we really saw this during lock-down where the only place people could find shampoo was the supermarket."

Many customers were used to paying a premium for sulphate, paraben and cruelty-free shampoos and conditioners. Due to fewer brands offering quality at affordable prices, hairdressers felt more comfortable recommending salon brands, she says. But now the quality of lower-priced products is catching up.

"The reality is the percentage of salon clients who actually purchase salon haircare is very low: even if they have their cut and colour done at a salon, most people end up purchasing their haircare from elsewhere (largely the supermarket)," Lupton adds.

Founder of Monday haircare Jaimee Lupton says up until recently, supermarket haircare brands were significantly different to salon brands.  Now, they're catching up.
Founder of Monday haircare Jaimee Lupton says up until recently, supermarket haircare brands were significantly different to salon brands. Now, they're catching up. Photo credit: Supplied.

Ultimately, keeping hair healthy is a good investment. People may choose to visit the salon for regular trims and deep conditioning treatments and spend less on day-to-day care.

"Hair splits faster than it grows, so if you're wanting to keep your hair in top condition, trims are always worthwhile," Lupton adds.

"With rebonding treatments being an effective salon-only treatment, this is a great reason to visit your salon a little more often… then, you can save money without spending unnecessarily on shampoo and conditioner."

People choose haircare products for different reasons: some purely look for the best buy on the day, others prefer to know what's in the product. And some want the bottles to look good in their bathroom. 

"All of these reasons are valid and this means people can mix and match between brands," Lupton adds.

Hairdressers have mixed views about supermarket products

Joanne Plant, salon owner at Exile hair design in Epsom, said if people are on restricted budgets, she supports them buying supermarket products. But she suggests getting advice from a stylist, checking if products are sulphate, paraben and cruelty-free and steering clear of products that leave a residue on the hair.

"Our salon brands have been that way for a long time… a lot of clients want to make sure they're supporting local businesses and we have online products as well," Plant says.

"If you have to buy a product in the supermarket, ask your stylist which one would be best and mix it up."

Paul Serville says Servilles uses a natural range of products of a higher quality than those available in supermarkets.

"The products we use don't strip the goodness or colour out of the hair… hair should not be squeaky clean after washing - these products retain the natural oils of the hair whilst still cleansing it," Serville says.

"Our stylists can recommend hair products to suit your hair type, tailoring it to your needs, which you don't get at supermarkets."

Head of Foodstuffs corporate affairs Antoinette Laird confirmed sales of supermarket haircare products are on the rise. 

"In addition to Monday haircare, brands like Essano, OGX and L'Oreal are also experiencing category growth across Pak'nSAVE stores nationwide," Laird said.

To save more money, shoppers can look for specials. Bulk sizes (750 ml plus), offer extra value for money.

"Customers should look at the cost per millilitre comparison across pack sizes to find the best product for their budget and keep their eyes peeled for promotions," Laird added.