Gold-Flecked Shampoo

August 4, 2015

After my post yesterday about being frugal and maintaining our student budget, it might seem incongruous to tell you that I bought a $64 bottle of shampoo.

(So here’s the part where I try to justify buying shampoo that costs almost as much as a week of groceries).

We went to California a few weeks ago to visit Merrick and her family, and one afternoon when the older kids were playing happily and the younger kids were napping, I convinced her to show me how to put on makeup.

While she was showing me the finer points of bronzer and primer, I mentioned that I was at a loss for how to make my hair look better. I felt like it was always flat and basically looked terrible within five minutes of doing it.

Merrick told me it was all about the shampoo.

“When I bought my first bottle of Pureology, Philip asked me if it was made of gold to justify that price tag, but it totally changed my hair.”

Also, both of us only wash our hair about once a week, so she mentioned that she’s had her bottle for more than a year and still has tons of it left.

I immediately told Bart that as soon as we were moved into our house, I was going to order myself a bottle. (His response when I told him about the price tag? “Are there crushed diamonds in it?”).

And while I’m committed to living fairly frugally right now, I also don’t want to waste time and money buying the wrong thing multiple times before finally just springing for what’s going to make a big difference.

I’ve really come to recognize this year that quality matters to me, and part of being frugal for me is spending my money on the things I really want and being satisfied, rather than skimping to save a few dollars and being frustrated on a daily basis.

Of course, even when I’m buying higher priced items (or actually especially when I am), I want to get the best price I possibly can.

When I ordered my bottle of Pureology from Ulta, I went through Splender, which gives you a percentage of your purchase price back.

It’s super easy – you just select a store at the Splender site, find the store you’re looking for (and under each store, it’ll list any current coupons or deals, so no need to go Googling all over the Internet) and then click through to the site. You make your order like you normally would and then the store pays Splender a commission for sending you there to shop, which Splender then shares with you.

I also love that the cash back isn’t a code you enter later, so you can still use any coupon codes or discounts or pay with a gift card, so you aren’t restricted to only one kind of discount.

So my $64 bottle of shampoo was on sale for $56, and then I used one of those ubiquitous $3.50 off Ulta coupons, got free shipping, and then got $3.37 back from Splender. Definitely a little easier to swallow (although that dang bottle better last me until I turn 35).

And Splender has a pretty great array of more than 800 stores, from higher-end ones like Nordstrom to cheaper brands like Aero, which is where my white jeans are from.

When I went to order a few makeup products Merrick introduced me to, I was ridiculously delighted to see that Splender offers 10% back on Sephora orders. That definitely made the Sephora gift cards I’ve been hoarding go a little further.

Although that purchase didn’t net me nearly as much cash back as when I got 3% back on our enormous Lowe’s purchase of a new washer and dryer, a fridge, and a dishwasher.

Actually, when I think about how much THOSE cost us, $60 (or $53) just doesn’t seem that bad.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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  • Reply Jacque August 4, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I use the Costco brand of shampoo & conditioner and the rumor is that it is Pureology, repackaged and for less money! A bottle of shampoo will run you about $9 and lasts forever AND has a convenient pump top. It's sulfate free and makes my and my daughters' hair soft & shiny.

    • Reply Kate Unger August 4, 2015 at 11:59 am

      Really?! I'll have to try that. I need better shampoo.

    • Reply Melissa Clarkson August 14, 2015 at 12:15 am

      Love that Costco S and C pair! Usually I use Wen cleansing conditioner to wash and condition in one step, but when I feel like using traditional shampoo and conditioner, my hair responds really well to the Costco sulfate-free stuff.

  • Reply Kate Unger August 4, 2015 at 11:59 am

    I've never heard of Splender. I'll have to check it out. 🙂

  • Reply Kristie K. August 4, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    It's true! And salon quality shampoos don't require as much shampoo per wash. The shampoos from a grocery store don't have quality moisturizers. I can go a year with a bottle that size. It's a good thing to splurge on.

  • Reply Kristie K. August 4, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Also it's good to keep a watch for yearly sales. I don't know about Pureology, but I use Matrix Biolage and once a year they have a sale for both shampoo and conditioner for $35. I grab a bunch for my clients because nice to save when you can. Nioxin also does this…

  • Reply Jeanelle August 4, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    I love this shampoo too but haven't bought it in a few years because of the cost (which is odd considering I am the opposite of you in spending habits…ha.) I might need to try it again the next time I get a coupon. It really is fantastic stuff.

  • Reply Paige Flamm August 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    I got hair extensions sewn into my head for my wedding (that I made Derek cut out of my hair for me before the wedding because they itched so badly), but my hair dresser told me to buy Pureology to keep the extensions in good condition, and I swear that stuff really is amazing. Totally justifiable for the price. My hair never looked better.

    • Reply MommySizedHeart August 4, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      I'm giggling to myself, trying to imagine Derek cutting extensions out of your hair! Too funny! Sometimes you've just got to do that you've got to do!

    • Reply MommySizedHeart August 4, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      I'm giggling to myself, trying to imagine Derek cutting extensions out of your hair! Too funny! Sometimes you've just got to do that you've got to do!

  • Reply MommySizedHeart August 4, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Just a question about your hair type, what would you consider it to be? Thick, coarse, fine, thin? I've tried only washing once a week and even before my pregnacy (when my hair turned into a greasy, great mess), I maybe got away with every other day.

  • Reply Lindsay Sanchez August 4, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    I can just imagine Nate would say something along the same lines as of flecks of gold or crushed diamonds. So funny. Do you use the conditioner too or just the shampoo?

  • Reply Melissa August 5, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I used to work at a beauty boutique. I sold a lot of Pureology. It was (believe it or not) one of the more middle of the line price wise that we sold. I am a big believer in great products. I personally don't use Pureology, it didn't work well for my hair type (coarse, dry, VERY thick), but I know it is a great product and people love it.
    Fortunately my husbands mother is a hairdresser, so he never questions a beauty purchase or its price tag.

  • Reply Lisa!! August 5, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Hey there!! Thanks for the recommendation. What do you use for conditioner?

  • Reply Mrs Gray August 6, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Shampoo definitely makes all the difference–I started using higher quality stuff and my hair is noticeably different since!

  • Reply Splender August 7, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Janssen, great post! Glad you were able to splurge on the Pureology. I just wanted to clarify one point about using coupons while shopping through Splender. Always be sure to use coupon codes found on Using a coupon code not published on the Splender site will make your purchase ineligible for cash back.

    Thanks again for using Splender, and happy shopping!


  • Reply Aleta July 16, 2016 at 4:13 am

    Janssen, Do you still use this shampoo and love it? I'm looking for something new and have an ulta gift card that's been burning a hole in my pocket for 2 (!) years! Also, what do you use for conditioner? Thanks!

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