The Drugstore Checklist: Hair

Anais Mali
Langley Fox Hemingway
Justyna Sroka

Still deep-diving into the Top Shelf drugstore chronicles, this time it's hair products. For when walking to the nearest Duane Reade in flip-flops at 11pm just feels like the right thing to do.

Susan Cernek: "Once a week I’ll do Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo, which is amazing. I am convinced that water quality plays a huge role in the way hair looks—that’s why all those Parisian girls have chic bed-head-y hair—it’s the water, not products."

Nick Axelrod: "I shampoo my hair twice a week and condition it every day. I use Head & Shoulders, not because I have a dandruff problem, but because I live in fear of having a dandruff problem."

Amy Oddell: "No matter how many shampoos and conditioners I try, I always go back to John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Shampoo and Conditioner. It’s just the best."

Jessica Stam: "Herbal Essences Hello Hydration is a great shampoo and conditioner combo, and I’ve used everything. I actually discovered it because my boyfriend uses it! I love it. I get compliments from hairdressers I’ve been working with for years, saying, ‘This is the best your hair has ever looked, what are you using?’ and I’m like, ‘Herbal Essences!’"

Emily Schuman: "For styling, I use a super random combination of products: Herbal Essences Dangerously Straight, which they probably stopped making in 2004, and Pantene Pro-V Smooth Serum. I put them in when it's damp, and then blow-dry it. I don’t really understand my hair well enough to just let it go natural—it will frizz, wave, and curl, and just end up looking unfortunate."

Patti Wilson: "Every day I use a flat iron on my hair, and lots of Redken Glass 01 Smoothing Serum while I'm doing it. It’s expensive, but we always try and call it in or find places where it is really cheap."

Anais Mali: "I use John Frieda Frizz-Ease 3-Days Straight after washing and conditioning, and then brush my hair. It makes my hair stay straight longer. I prefer to wear my hair straight—it’s naturally so big and curly that I would get made fun of as a kid."

Langley Fox Hemingway: "My hair is pretty fine, and if it's still feeling flat, I use a little Redken Powder Grip 03—it makes your hair kind of feel dirty, but if you put a little bit on the roots, it weirdly hardens and lifts your hair at the root. Like a tiny bit—you just kind of dab it on because it will get hard quickly. Just for a boost."

Suki Waterhouse: "I like to use just a bit of dry shampoo from the drugstore. I’ve got the one that’s called Pssssst!. I think it’s great. And I use a lot of bobby pins when I want to get rid of my fringe."

Josephine de la Baume: "I’ll spray some L’Oréal Elnett Hairspray. It reminds me of my mom in the ‘80s. It was such a part of my childhood, and she still wears her hair like that—really big. For me, it’s still the best thing to make a dry texture."

Justyna Sroka: "In the summertime, when I know I’ll be outside, I spray in Sun-In for extra highlights—sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not really sure what’s natural—just from my hair being in the sun—and what’s from the Sun-In."

China Machado: "I have a home spa where I do my own nails and pedicures. And I dye my own hair—of course I do! I use Clairol Nice 'N Easy Permanent Hair Color in Natural Black, and it costs $2.50 every time because I don’t use the whole bottle, I divide it into fours. I have no idea what my natural hair color is. When I was 14, I had a white streak that kept getting bigger and bigger, so I’ve been dyeing it for 70 years!"

Dita Von Teese: "I’ve been coloring [my hair] black since 1992—I don’t really change the formula; it’s always blue-black. I use Garnier 100% Color, and right now, I squeeze a little bit of blue from another brand into it, but I don’t think I’ve found the magic color yet."

Francelle Daly: "I’m very easy with hair—I always get my hair cut when I’m working on shoots, and I do my own L’Oreal Ten Minute Color Rinse in Black. I have light brown hair and I’ve been dying it black since I was 22. I don’t like the intensity of a permanent or semi-permanent hair color; I just like a gloss."

Photo by Tom Newton.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Haiku Jew

    Rite Aid hair-care aisle
    you tried to tempt my tresses
    but I bought toothpaste.

    • Emma Hager

      very diligent,
      Haiku Jew to pass goodies
      you have zen-mode down.

      • Haiku Jew

        It was tough, Emma
        fortunately, for zen-mode
        or would have been broke!

  • Emma and Emily

    I love using drugstore hair products. My favourites include dove dry shampoo and dove leave in conditioner. I couldn't live without either of them!

    • Harper H.

      I love the dove dry shampoo! It smells so good and makes me feel like my hair is actually refreshed instead of just grimy.

  • delia

    shea moisture makes the best hair products. it is all i use.

  • nooneputsbabyinthecorner

    I love the Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Conditioner, which I found out about from Annie back in her xoVain days. I also love the Not Your Mother's Sea Salt Spray for lazy beachy waves.

  • tera

    Herbal Essences Naked Shine Spray!! wow I love this. The only shine spray I can use while my hair is wet. But the bottle is too small!

  • jellymo

    I'm not sure if this is considered drugstore but Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle shampoo and conditioner is fantastic. Having dried mango and chocolate covered powerberries in the next aisle over also doesn't hurt.

    • ITGFerber

      Dried mango is my kryptonite.

    • Emma Hager

      ooooh, I love tea tree oil! So pungent, like a walkup call to the nostrils. And so moisturizing for hair, too.

  • Harper H.

    I love Elnett so much but I HATE the smell. I just feel it lingering around me all day and it's not what I want to smell like. Anybody know a good hairspray that doesn't smell quite as strong, or at least fades away?

    • Kaitlin Brunsden

      I found an unscented version of Elnett. There's a little odor at first but I find that it dissipates quickly.

  • cybele@blahblah

    I need to get brave and dye my own hair

  • Heather P.

    I recently bought some Herbal Essences shampoo, and was taken back to when I would spend twice as much to get it as a teenager. I'm mostly hooked on the smell!


Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo
head & shoulders
Head & Shoulders Smooth and Silky Dandruff Shampoo
head & shoulders
Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Dandruff Conditioner
John Frieda Brilliant Brunette
John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Shampoo
John Frieda Brilliant Brunette
John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Conditioner
Herbal Essences
Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Hair Shampoo
Pantene Pro-V
Pantene Pro-V Smooth Serum with Argan Oil from Morocco
Redken Glass 01 Smoothing Serum
John Frieda Frizz-Ease
John Frieda Frizz Ease 3 Days Straight Styling Spray
Redken Powder Grip 03 Mattifying Hair Powder
Pssssst! Instant Dry Shampoo Spray
L’Oreal Texture Expert True Grip
L'Oreal Paris
L’Oreal Elnett Hairspray
Sun In Hair Lightener
Clairol-Nice 'N Easy
Clairol Nice 'N Easy Permanent Hair Color
Garnier 100% Color
L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche
L’Oreal Paris Excellence To Go 10 Minute Creme Coloring