By Kristin Limoges

Published on August 9, 2018

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Illustration by Phuong Nguyen

The best things in life are free, but damn, hair care can cost a pretty penny. But save those hard-earned dollar bills for a vaca, girlfriend! Because we now live in the golden age of drugstore beauty, where some hair products not only match the effectiveness of expensive products, but even excel far beyond their $$$ counterparts.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of our 16 favorite drugstore products that are beyond extraordinary.

Courtesy of Dove

Dove Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo, $4.88

Well, 689 positive reviews can’t be wrong, right? This dry shampoo can dry shamp with the best of them. Ridding your hair of grease? Yep. Pumping up the volume and fullness? Oh yeah. Just spritz on hair, let it absorb for about 30 seconds, and then comb through to make sure it really is blended. Or, if you’re going for that messy look and combing would ruin the aesthetic, massage with fingers until blended.


Courtesy of Not Your Mother’s

Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Spray, $4.74

This is literally under $5, smells like a heavenly beach, and gives gorgeous texture and curls—again, for less than $5 (we can’t get over it). Oh, and it’s alcohol-free (your hair really appreciates that) and cruelty-free. Just spritz through damp hair and let it air dry. You can even use this as a texturizer if you don’t want beachy curls, but still want a little piecey-ness to hair—it gives a little grit to clean hair, making it look instantly cooler.


Courtesy of Eva NYC

Eva NYC Surf’s Up! Texture Spray, $5.99

This weightless texture spray creates those dreamy, beachy waves you’ve always dreamed of, with the added bonus of volume and shine. This spray has it all, thanks to zeolite (for texture) and fatty acids and vitamin C (for shine, nourishment, and repair). Hair is left perfectly undone, textured, and voluminous. And it’s great on freshly washed or second day hair to add texture: Just simply spray on dry hair from mid-length to ends, and under the roots.

Courtesy of Neutrogena

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Gentle Clarifying Shampoo, $4.83

This iconic clear shampoo is a master of the deep cleanse. No shampoo can clean scalps and hair cuticles quite like this clarifying one. Grab this bottle for when hair is feeling a bit dull or product buildup is making strands a bit limp: It is capable of removing 90 percent of residue from the scalp.

The trick to this powerful shampoo is using it sparingly, only about once a week or every other week. Because it’s so powerful, it can boost the effectiveness of your other products (a cleaner scalp means products work better), and it gives major volume boost, too (thanks to the lack of product buildup). Because it’s a bit more gentle than other clarifying shampoos, it’s even okay for color-treated hair to use.

Courtesy of Carol’s Daughter

Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner, $8.79

For those of you with curls (lucky!), this leave-in conditioner might become your best friend. Dry, dull, brittle hair can be salvaged into soft, shiny curls instantly, thanks to this weightless spray with wheat protein and B5, which fortifies and strengthens hair. It’s also made with natural ingredients to moisturize (instead of those yucky synthetic silicones), and will weightlessly smooth and detangle even the tightest of curls (but can work on all hair types). Spray on hair, focusing mostly on mid-length and ends, and go about your day. You can even use it on second-day hair to revive curls, add definition, and hold.

Courtesy of Love Beauty And Planet

Love Beauty And Planet Murumuru Butter & Rose Blooming Color Shampoo, $6.99

I mean, throw a gorgeous rose on the packaging and scent it with Bulgarian rose petals, and we’re there! But beyond the amazing packaging and incredible scent, this brand is doing really, really big things for the planet: Each bottle is made from 100 percent recycled materials; the shampoo is vegan and never tested on animals; and it has zero parabens, dyes, and silicones. Oh, and the brand aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 20 percent by the year 2020. Also, for each carbon ton it produces, the company will donate $40 to a carbon tax fund, which supports programs that reduce carbon emissions and landfill waste. Your hair (and the planet) is going to thank you.

Courtesy of Scunci

Scunci Bobby Pins, $3.13

Sometimes, brands and companies sell incredible products that are worthy of your hard-earned cash. Yes, sometimes, that $35 hair barrette is worth your time and money, and indeed, if the mood strikes you, you should purchase that $20 headband. But there’s no need to spend more than the price of a latte on a pack of bobby pins. This Scunci 50-pack gets the job done flawlessly, and I love that they now offer their bobby pins in color options, whether it’s brunette, blonde, or darker hair colors.

Courtesy of L’Oreal

L’Oreal Paris Root Cover Up, $11.79

Got three seconds to spare? Oh good, because you can cover up gray or uncolored roots in that much time, thanks to this quick root spray. You just spray roots (hold the bottle about four to six inches from the scalp so that you don’t get too much product in one concentrated area). Then, lightly spray, allow it to dry for a minute, and brush through. Wham, bam. L’Oreal is a master at coloring too, so among the eight shades, you’ll find your perfect match on the go.

Courtesy of Kristin Ess

Kristin Ess Rose Gold Temporary Tint, $12

Guys, people are losing their minds with this Kristin Ess line. The celeb hairstylist launched her Target line last year, and she just keeps adding new launches. (Doesn’t that packaging make it look like a million bucks?!) The whole line is super affordable, super effective, and super gorgeous.

This rose gold temporary tint is really fun, too. It’s actually the first ever in-shower “watercolor” tint, which creates a temporary tone when sprayed on wet hair, and just rinses out when you’re over it.


Courtesy of Captain Blankenship

Sailor by Captain Blankenship Sea Salt Refresh Spray, $14.99

Your favorite upstate NY-based buds, Captain Blankenship, have just created an exclusive-to-Target skincare and hair line called Sailor. But specifically, this Sea Salt Refresh Spray is really neat—it’s both a dry shampoo and a texturizer. This means it both cleans and dirties hair up—but in the good, just-woke-up-like-this, cool-girl hair way.

Courtesy ApotheCARE Essentials

ApotheCARE Essentials The Booster Shampoo, $12.99

Launched by Unilever at the end of 2017, ApotheCARE Essentials is especially affordable—everything retails from $10.99 to $12.99—and the whole line is free of silicones, parabens, and dyes. Not to mention, New York’s coolest hair stylist Teddi Cranford is their lead stylist. This shampoo is the talk of the town (or at least the CVS comments section for this product), specifically for its volume-boosting skills. Rosehip oil, geranium, and aloe vera give fine and flat hair a much appreciated, last all day type of lift.


Courtesy of Revlon

Revlon 360° Dual Fast Dry Hair Dryer, $49.99

Okay, this blow dryer is kind of a game-changer. The nozzle literally twists to “360 Vertical Mode” to create a tunnel of powerful air jets that drys hair faster, more smoothly, and with less damage. It’s pretty incredible.


Courtesy of Cantu

Cantu Cleanse Root Rinse, $4.99

This deep cleansing treatment is perfect for a clarifying rinse, thanks to apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and shea butter (which adds a dose of moisturizing conditioning). Hair is healthier and your scalp is detoxed, plus there’s no gunk from sulfates, parabens, silicones, or phthalates. This rinse is almost identical to apple cider vinegar treatments that are five times more expensive, so consider this a big bang for small bucks.


Courtesy of Batiste

Batiste Original Clean Dry Shampoo, $5.99

Shoppers love this dry shampoo (the highest rated dry shampoo on Target thus far!), as do editors and stylists. This is all thanks to its ability to fully absorb into the hair and give the bounciest, most natural look to locks (you won’t feel it at all). It’s especially great for darker hair colors because it seriously is undetectable—just be careful not to overdo it.


Courtesy of Marc Anthony

Marc Anthony Hydrating Deep Nourishing Conditioning Treatment, $2.79

Give those locks some TLC. This travel-friendly treatment contains tropical coconut oil, shea butter, and biotin to restore and protect weak, dry, damaged-looking hair. Hair is softer, detangled, stronger, shinier, and frizz-free after just one deep treatment.




Courtesy of L’Oreal Paris

L’Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray Extra Strong Hold, $15.99

The be-all and end-all for both stylists and beauty editors, this hairspray is iconic for its ultra fine mist that disappears into hair, but also holds hair in place all day. That seems like an oxymoron… until you try it and see how legendary it is.

Read more about drugstore beauty:

The Absolute Best Drugstore Beauty Products
The Target Hair Mask You Need to Try This Weekend

CVS Will Stop Altering Photos, and Here’s Why It’s a Big Deal

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