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The Ordinary's first foray into haircare a couple of years back was a scalp serum we'll discuss shortly, but for 2022 they've launched a second scalp serum, as well as a shampoo and conditioner duo, so today I'm going to give you an overview of the formulas and my experience of using the products!
Obviously we know that the Ordinary are all about stripping back skincare to its basic components, so that's really what I was expecting from this line. Obviously a shampoo and conditioner are more like a cleanser and a moisturiser in that they need to contain different ingredients that fulfil different function so I wasn't expecting those to be single-ingredient but the serums are actually a little more complex than you might expect!
Let's start with the Sulphate 4% Cleansr for Body & Hair* | £6.80. I actually think of the Ordinary as kind of the anti-clean-beauty brand and I low-key love that they've straight-up put 'sulphates' in the name of the product! If you aren't away, sulphates are a really demonised ingredient in beauty marketing. Whilst SLS can be a little drying for some people, I definitely think it can be formulated not to be and so if you're using a product that contains this surfactant (cleansing agent) and your hair and scalp feel happy and healthy: keep doing you. For whatever reason SLES has now been dragged into all of this and sulphates as a whole are now 'bad', apparently. SLES-2 is used within this formula, alongside stabilising and thickening agents but the only 'added' extra is really Vitamin E, which can be nice and moisturising and replenishing. I do like that this can be used on the body and scalp because it's a great option for people who like to keep things low-maintenance. It's fairly low-foam and watery, as a side-note. However, this is just a bit too basic for me. I will continue to use it when I've been out for a run to get rid of any excess sweat in my roots or to clarify things if I'm experiencing product build-up or have used a lot of dry shampoo, but otherwise this is just a bit too stripping for me. In its simplicity it just lacks the nourishing and replenishing ingredients that keep my dry hair and scalp happy. I also have really dry skin on my body, so I'd use this after exercising but prefer something more gentle and moisturising on the daily.
The next product we'll discuss is the Behentrimonium Chloride 2% Conditioner* | £6.80. This product feels almost more like a jelly cleanser (kind of like the Glossier one, if you've ever used that) than a conditioner. Again, we have the titular ingredient, the functional essentials and then a fatty alcohol to help replenish the hair. Behentrimonium Chloride is essentially an anti-frizz agent, and I do feel like this gives my hair that bit of slip I'm looking for in a conditioner. In the marketing for this product, the Ordinary mention that it's free of all of the 'bulky' agents usually found in conditioners and that could definitely be a pro for people with fine hair that's easily left heavy from traditional conditioners. However, that's not what I'm personally looking for in a conditioner: give me all of the oils, thickness and richness! This did offer a degree of smoothness and shine but without a hair mask wedged in-between this duo: my hair felt a little dry and lacklustre.
For me, the really interesting products from this line are the scalp serums. To give you some context, I had COVID last July and subsequently experienced a really stressful and intense period of my life and my hair has just been shedding like crazy ever since. Hopefully I never have to murder anyone because my hair would be all over that crime scene... In all seriousness, though, it was pretty depressing to wash my hair and see so much of it coming out into my hands and all over my bath. Since after Christmas I've been using the Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density* | £15.80. This is a water-light propanediol-based formula with peptides, which are short-chain amino acids. Both peptides included are really promising in terms of combatting hair loss: one of them helps to create a better 'anchor' for the hair follicle and one of them aims to help keep hairs from shedding prematurely. This is definitely a long game, and personally, I'm managing to use it every other day and I don't find it creates build-up or a greasy feeling. The results are subtle but I think after all this time using it: I'm noticing some! My hair loss is all over, rather than a specific patch so I used this on my entire scalp. Whilst I'm still shedding quite a bit, when I put my hands on my hair, I do feel as though it's getting a bit fuller. Right when this first started happening, I could feel each day when I was doing my hair that it felt there was less of it and that was one of the most stressful parts of it all. At £15, if you've experienced something similar and you think you can commit to using this consistently: it's definitely worth a go.
I think my standout though has to be the Natural Moisturising Factors + HA for Scalp* | £10.90 | which is kind of like their moisturiser of the same name but for the scalp! This is a super-light milky serum that spreads easily across the scalp and I personally use it right after washing my hair and again if I don't have time to wash my hair and need it to last an extra day, just to stave off dryness, irritation and flakiness for that bit longer. Used in this way, I don't find it causes any kind of greasiness or build-up in my roots. My scalp is very sensitive and prone to dryness and this product is formulated with the sorts of ingredients that are already present in the skin but adding more can keep it moisturised and conditioned. These ingredients include urea, lactic acid and squalane. The Zinc PCA in here can also help soothe and calm redness. Overall, this provides light hydration and calm to my angry, dry scalp and I will definitely continue using it. If you have a dry scalp or a dry skin condition that affects this area: I highly recommend this product.
For me, the standouts are definitely the serums: if they sound like scalp concerns you suffer with, do check those out. I think there's a market out there for the shampoo and conditioner, but unfortunately I'm not within that demographic!
Have you tried the Ordinary's haircare?