Last-Chance Apocalypse Shopping: Sally Beauty Supply

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So, the apocalypse has happened, and it’s as bad as you feared. Crazy, wild-eyed people are running everywhere trying to grab anything and everything they can find to survive. They hit the grocery stores, drug stores, there’s no bottled water to be found in a 10-mile radius — but they don’t notice the little Sally Beauty Supply tucked away in an obscure strip mall. Hmm…..

One would think that a store like Sally Beauty has absolutely nothing worthwhile for a prepper, but in fact, it just might be a little gold mine.

A little backstory about beauty and survival

One of my favorite hair stylists of all time, Rich in Phoenix, was a prepper. Sometimes we chatted about disaster scenarios, an economic collapse, and the like, and Rich had a stash of stored food, a Berkey, and other preps he didn’t talk much about. Anyway, he once told me that if the S ever hit the fan, he was prepared to cut and color hair at his home. “Women will always want to look good, no matter what.”

This exact sentiment was mentioned by Selco of SHTF School. He described the desperate times he experienced during the war in Bosnia but agreed that women still cared about their looks, even in a time of war.

Maybe a last-chance shopping trip to Sally Beauty might not be so crazy, after all!

Last-Chance Apocalypse Shopping List

Here’s what I found at Sally Beauty that could be helpful during the apocalypse or some other societal meltdown. In large part, I focused on products that lend themselves to helping you survive by providing services and having desirable, in-demand items for barter.

Reading glasses

Scoop these up by the handful in all vision strengths. If you need reading glasses yourself, you know how frustrating it is to try and read without them. After the apocalypse begins, readers could be worth their weight in gold. Or chicken eggs. Or ibuprofen tablets, or any other item in barter that you might need. Wondering what barter is all about? Read this.

Hair clippers and trimmers

As long as you have access to YouTube, you can learn how to cut hair. Heck, line up the kids and grandkids and start learning today! It would be easy to set up an in-home hair styling or barber shop. Trust me. After the apocalypse, no one is going to be looking their best but a decent haircut will still be in demand, and if yours are less than decent? Well, hair grows back, right?

Hair rollers and hairpins

Just in case you’re dealing with power outages or an all-out power grid failure, having these on hand will allow you to style hair without any power at all. Grab some styling creams and gels for a longer-lasting curly style. Who knows? Maybe that old-fashioned hair-roller style might come back in vogue, post-apocalypse, and you’ll be in demand as The Stylist With Hair Rollers!!!

Nail polish, clear top coat, and polish remover

The country is full of very successful Vietnamese nail salons and owners who have become quite wealthy by providing a simple service that helps make millions of women of all ages feel pretty. With a variety of polish colors and the ability to provide manicures and pedicures, you not only have a way to earn extra money but you’ll have a supply of small, barter-ready items.

Heavy-duty floor mats

Beauticians are on their feet for long hours every day. These heavy-duty foam mats provide spongy comfort for their feet, legs, and backs. If you think about a post-apocalypse world in which you’ll be doing a lot of manual labor every day, one of these floor mats could be a huge blessing.


How many towels do you think the average salon goes through in one day? Dozens and dozens, for sure. These towels cost a little over a dollar each at Sally Beauty and bundles of them would have multiple uses. You really can’t have too many towels.


When you think about the chemicals hair stylists come in contact with, it’s no wonder that Sally Beauty carries nitrile, vinyl, and latex gloves in various sizes. Grab as many boxes of these as you can for sanitation purposes if nothing else. Read my article on cleaning up biological messes if you doubt me.


When I think of a societal collapse, the first thing that comes to mind is “hard times.” Perhaps we’ll be living without any electricity and those handy appliances that make life so much easier. We may be cooking over campfires and doing loads of laundry by hand. Why not wear a beautician’s cape in place of an apron to help keep clothes clean and reduce the amount of clothes washing — a back-breaking chore no matter how it’s done. These caps could also be handy for protection when dealing with sanitation chores or even sick or diseased people. Add a face mask and gloves, and you’ll be as protected as any ER doctor could be.

Barbicide liquid and/or wipes

Barbicide is a hospital grade disinfectant, and if there’s anything you can’t get too much of, it’s going to be disinfectant. Disinfect everything you touch in order to decrease the chances of spreading disease.


Buy this in the biggest containers possible and in all varieties — shampoo for color treated hair, shampoo for oily/dry/etc. In a pinch, this could be used as a multi-purpose liquid soap or poured into smaller containers for sale or barter. It will also come in handy when you open your in-home hair salon! PRO-TIP: One part shampoo to two parts water will help your shampoo supply last longer and still provide a nice clean head of hair.

Shears of all sizes and types

Everyone needs a good pair of scissors and hair-cutting shears are of high quality. Stylists spend a lot of money on their shears, and it would be smart to pick up at least 2 or 3 pairs for cutting hair, keeping in a medical kit, and just having on hand a handy, multi-purpose tool.


Some of the better medical kits contain good-quality tweezers but most often, they don’t. Tweezers have so many uses you can’t go wrong by picking up a few pairs. They do lose their tweeziness after a while, so you’ll be glad you have a few backup pairs.

Girly things

Sally Beauty carries a nice variety of things like false eyelashes, earrings, facial masks, lipsticks, combs, and other little things to help us look pretty. In a world that is suddenly dangerous, confusing, and scary, these will bring cheer and a smile, whether you give them away as gifts, sell them, or have them on hand for barter. They’re kind of like comfort food for the soul.

A Last-Chance Apolcaypse Shopping spree at Sally Beauty might not be the craziest thing you ever do! There’s a lot more to these little stores than meets the eye.

Coming next: Harbor Freight

Don’t miss the other stores in my series:


14 thoughts on “Last-Chance Apocalypse Shopping: Sally Beauty Supply”

    1. Did you even read my reasons for buying them? Some people buy liquor for resell or barter, why not nail polish? I explain that in a meltdown, you’ll need a skill of some sort for barter or to earn money.

    1. Yep. I forgot to add that to the list. My challenge was to take a store that typically isn’t on anyone’s prepping list and see what they might, in fact, have that could come in handy in a meltdown.

  1. We’ve all read the same tired articles over and over again about bullets, beans, bandages, Walmart, and survival geared stores. This series is clearly about THINGS YOU MAY NOT THINK ABOUT! You may scoff, but I throughly enjoy the insight provided by these articles. Humans have been vain for as long as there has been humanity, so it’s smart to play to that. And there is an emotional uplifting when you get a fresh haircut or yes— even get your nails painted. Excellent series and thank you for your insight Survival mom!

  2. Hi Survival Mom,
    Great ideas for Sally’s Beauty Supply. I wanted to add to your list.

    Cotton balls are excellent for fire starting. All they need is a bit of Vaseline or chap stick mashed into them.
    Metal nail files and scissors make great close combat weapons.
    Beauty grade hydrogen peroxide can be used as an oxidizer for explosives and rocket motors.
    Hair caps and gloves can be used for emergency surgery.
    Clear nail polish can be used to seal minor scrapes and cuts after they have been properly cleaned.
    Shampoo can be used when mixed with other chemicals to make homemade napalm.
    Cans of hair spray can be used as improvised bombs.
    Wigs can be used to help camouflage guns or even a small blind/hunting hide. or camouflage traps for small game.
    Barber chairs can be used for dental use.
    Capes are chemical resistant and can be used when mixing chemicals. they can also be used for concealment.
    Makeup can be used for camouflaging the face, neck, arms and hands.
    Paraffin waxes can be used on the body for cold weather protection.
    Jewelry can be used in the place of nails and BB’s for shrapnel in improvised munitions. They can also be used as lures for fishing.
    Hair coloring can be used to evade authorities temporarily.
    Mirrors can be used for rescue signaling.
    Mannequin Heads can be used for deception to make the enemy think your numbers are more inflated than they actually are.
    False eyelashes can be used to make artificial fly for survival fishing.
    Shears and metal nail files can also be used for improvised booby traps.
    Metal nail files can be used as improvised arrow heads or spear tips.
    Tweezers can be used for removing ticks or emergency surgery.
    Electric manicure/pedicure tools can be used an improvised Dremel tool.
    Hair color chemicals can be used as temporary eye irritants similar to Mace.
    Bobby pins can be dropped into soda can to make improvised sound alarm devices.

    1. Wow! You’ve got some great ideas ! I will add fake eyelashes to my kit…only $1 at Dollar Tree and I am packing a fishing gear survival pack. Thanks!

  3. I have two gallons of shampoo concentrate from Sally’s. I think it’s a great way to store a lot of shampoo in a small space.

  4. I’m not a ‘girly girl’ by any means. I haven’t worn makeup since highschool. I did have acrylic nails at one point, it was something I promised myself when I reached a life milestone. I had a ‘signature’ color. I gave up the acrylics, and eventually moved and could never find the same color/brand locally. Imagine my surprise when my local big name grocer started carrying that brand and color! I bought a bunch!. My work and home life are not conducive to long nails. But I do enjoy painting my nails from time to time. It does boost my mood. I started to read this post with a ‘meh’, but who knew that a beauty supply store also had multipurpose items!

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