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Are Expensive Shampoos Better?

Consumers spend billions of dollars every year on their hair. We want shine; we want bounce; we want, bottom line, nice hair. And getting it doesn't have to cost a fortune.

Every woman knows the first step to gorgeous hair is the right shampoo. But with hundreds of brands to choose from, how do you know which is head and shoulders above the rest?

The Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen asked shampoo expert Paula Begoun.

Begoun says you don't need to go to the salon to get great products. You can find them right in the drug store at a fraction of the cost.

"Wasting money isn't beautiful," Begoun says, "What's sexy and attractive about rinsing money down the drain?"

In her book, "Don't Go Shopping For Hair-Care Products Without Me," Begoun scrubs away the confusion about shampoo, and reveals which product claims you can believe, and which ones you can't.

Koeppen took her to Duane Reade pharmacy in New York City to get the truth behind what's on the bottle.

Can shampoo really prevent your color from fading?

"I think the kind of ingredients that they're using and the research that I've seen work really well in a lab," Begoun says, "I don't think it holds up in real life."

Begoun says color-protecting shampoo is fine to use, but regular shampoo does the same job.

If you like big, bouncy hair, there are plenty of products that say they'll give you a boost. But do those volumizing shampoos really work?

Begoun says, "To some extent, it works, because it deposits ingredients similar to those in styling products."

So yes. You'll get volume. But the boosting ingredients can build up, so Begoun says: Don't use volumizing shampoo every day.

And does "expensive" really mean "better"? Begoun says you shouldn't spend more than $6 on a shampoo.

Begoun says, "There is absolutely no difference between expensive products and inexpensive products, and I say that unequivocally."

We decided to put that theory to the test. With Begoun's help, Koeppen's producer bought three moisturizing shampoos with similar formulas. All of them, along with matching conditioners, were put in clear bottles marked A, B, and C. One shampoo was $4, one was $10, and one was $20.

Then Koeppen had Early Show stylist Kim Serratore wash her hair with each shampoo, not knowing which was which.

On Monday, shampoo A: "The smell is good. The smell is good," Koeppen says, "I like it. It's shiny; it smells good. It has bounce."

Wednesday, shampoo B: "I don't like the smell, I would not use this shampoo," Koeppen says, "It's not wowing me. "

And on Friday, shampoo C: "Wow, it feels soft!" Koeppen exclaims, "I can't decide between A and C. B was definitely out. I hated it. But A and C were running neck and neck. I don't know, I don't know!"

Picking a favorite wasn't easy. But forced to choose, Koeppen went with A, which turned out to be the $20-dollar shampoo. Her close runner-up? The $4 bottle.

What does Begoun think about the fact that Koeppen couldn't decide between a $4 shampoo and a $20 shampoo?

"Well, I hope that's what I've proved to be true," Begoun says.

So the message in the bottle: You don't have to spend a fortune to get great hair.

It really was a toss-up between A and C. Koeppen says she was ready to flip a coin. And she notes she was surprised that she picked the $20 shampoo. She says she normally doesn't spend more than $5 on her shampoo or conditioner.

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