The Ordinary Shampoo and Conditioner Review

This is a first impression rather than a full review of The Ordinary shampoo and conditioner, as I have only used once thus far, and I will update below in a couple months (update now available; see end of post).

The Ordinary has very recently released a new hair care line with a 4% sulphate cleanser for hair and body, a 2% behentrimonium chloride conditioner, and a hydrating serum for the scalp (they also have the previously released Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density). As with other products from The Ordinary, these new products are formulated with minimal ingredients and no added fragrance.

Sulphate 4% Cleanser for Hair and Body:

Deciem created this product with a scientific approach rather than following “clean beauty” trends that label sulphates as harsh for hair and skin, these harsh sulphates being sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, that can irritate the scalp and and strip the hair and scalp of moisture. I had not really linked sulphates to clean beauty, rather started using sulphate-free shampoo when I started getting my hair colored again a few years ago as sulphates can fade hair color faster. Before using sulphate-free shampoos, I just used drug store brand shampoo and conditioner like Revlon and Tresemme; I do not recall my hair or scalp being worse for it.

Interestingly, two shampoos I was browsing that include SLS is the blond shampoo from Kerastase and the shampoo for damaged hair from Shu Uemura.

Deciem says that their shampoo is strong enough to remove buildup, oils and dirt, and soft enough to be gentle on the skin and scalp. This can be used as a body wash and a shampoo.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Polysorbate 20, Xanthan Gum, Tocopherol, Phytic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Benzyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin

The sodium laureth sulfate here is SLES-2 at 4% (where other sulphate shampoos typically contain around 10-20%), which Deciem says is a milder sulphate that cleanses the hair well, is non-drying, gentle on the skin, does not fade color, and is for use on all hair types and textures.

Directions: This is a “daily use” cleanser. For hair, work into a lather and rinse thoroughly. For body, apply generously and lather.

I have an oily scalp and fine, dry hair that is not colored or otherwise treated.

The shampoo has no scent. This cleanser is clear and very thin, which was unexpected, and has very minimal lather (pictured in the hair photo above). This was a day 2 wash for me, so my hair was not overly oily, and when working it into my hair, I thought I maybe had some buildup or oil (though I had clarified four days prior) because there was not much lather, so shampooed my hair three times (I always shampoo twice); turns out it is not supposed to lather much (I expected lather because of the sulphate). On rinsing my hair, this cleansed the hair okay. By the end of the day (10 hours after washing), my roots and bangs were a little more soft and limp than with other shampoos, indicating some oils already (this does not usually happen until the middle or end of the second-day hair. The shampoo is very gentle. Before using this shampoo, I would have been reluctant to use on colored hair, however, I think it might be gentle enough for colored hair. I wonder if it would cleanse really thick or coiled hair well because the formula is gentle and the texture is so thin, and I imagine if the hair has a lot of product or oil buildup, a clarifying shampoo would have to be used the wash prior.

My scalp is always itchy. The itchiness comes and goes no matter what shampoo or product I use or how much or how little I wash my hair. I do not know why; I do not see any scalp issues, dryness or flakes. I was hoping this sulphate shampoo might help and thus far it has not, but perhaps with further use.

Not really an equal comparison I suppose, but I much prefer the Snobgirls shampoo I have been using lately, though The Ordinary shampoo is not too bad. That being said, I am not sure I would repurchase; maybe if I had a drier scalp, this would be more suitable for me.

I have not tried the cleanser as a body wash yet, but will update here soon.

Update (March 27, 2022): I have been using the sulphate cleanser as a body wash for a few weeks now. It feels nice while massaging on to the skin, like a soft gel cleanser, however, on rinsing, the skin is very squeaky and after a few uses feels a bit dry overall (though I follow with a body cream; a new favorite is this one by BIA Skin). The sulphate cleanser cleanses and rinses well and while it is okay as a body wash, I do not prefer it.

Behentrimonium Chloride 2% Conditioner:

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar) Gum, Phytic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin

Again, this conditioner has minimal ingredients, using behentrimonium chloride as the conditioning agent for softer, smoother hair. Unlike most other conditioners, there are no butters or oils that may weigh the hair down. This is lightweight and suitable for all hair types and textures.

Directions: Work conditioner into wet hair. Rinse.

This is a thick, almost semi-translucent conditioner, like a thick lotion. My hair has dry mid-lengths and ends. Using this in the shower, detangling was good. My hair did feel not very silky while rinsing. I dried my hair in the LUS Brands hair towel for about 15 minutes. When I shook my hair out of the hair towel, it was a bit tangled in the back and looked a little drier than with other conditioners. After blow drying my hair, the bottom 3 or so inches looked a bit dry; there was not really a smooth feeling. The hair was not weighed down, however, did not seem to have as much movement, perhaps because it was a little dehydrated. I would for sure follow with a leave-in conditioner (and generally do anyway). I am not sure I would repurchase the conditioner.

I also bought the Natural Moisturizing Factors + Hyaluronic Acid Scalp Serum formulated to support scalp hydration that I have not used yet.

As far as first impressions, the shampoo cleanses relatively well and I do not find the conditioner very hydrating or smoothing. As of now, I do not think I would repurchase either product, but will update here in a couple months.

Update (May 1, 2022) – I have now used the shampoo and conditioner for 6 weeks two to three times a week. The first 3 weeks I just used the shampoo and conditioner, followed by a leave-in conditioner and a blow dry. The next 3 weeks I used the shampoo and conditioner followed by my regular routine of leave-in conditioner and a hair oil, either Olaplex No. 7 or a hair oil capsule from Snobgirls, followed by a blow dry and an overnight serum, either from Kerastase or Shu Uemera. The last 2 weeks, I used my regular Snobgirls shampoo and conditioner, the K18 hair mask a few times, and followed the routine above.

By the end of the first 3 weeks (and even after the first use), my hair was quite dry and frizzy and lacked movement. With the shampoo being so thin, spreading it throughout the hair for a wash was a bit difficult, so I sectioned my hair into four and applied that way. It cleanses okay, but my hair was quite flat and lacked volume. I do not think the cleanse was quite enough for my oily hair and the shampoo was quite drying. For the conditioner, my hair did not have that silky, detangled feeling, I think because the shampoo was drying and the conditioner not moisturizing enough. My hair started breaking at the back underside of the hair (I am not sure the shampoo/conditioner would cause this, perhaps because my hair was very dry; I have had this issue previously when coloring my hair blonde and when I did not get it cut for 2 years). Adding the oils and hair serum for the second 3 weeks helped a bit with softness and movement of the hair, but not quite where it was previous. I added in 2 or 3 uses of the K18 hair mask, which helped a lot with the softness, dryness, frizz and hair movement, and with using my regular shampoo and conditioner, my hair is nearly back to normal.

I have also continued using the shampoo as a body wash and it is also drying to the skin.

I would not have thought a shampoo and conditioner could make such a noticeable difference to the hair. I would not repurchase either of The Ordinary’s shampoo or conditioner.

Thanks for visiting.

Snobgirls Strong Force Prowash and Masque-Creme Review

Snobgirls is a Canadian professional line of products specifically for color-treated hair with their “100% free series,” banning over 40 harsh ingredients commonly found in skin care and hair care products. Each product contains their TruColour Guard antifading system.

I purchased the Strong Force shampoo and conditioner set for dry, over-processed, weak and damaged hair, and split ends. The shampoo and conditioner have a super-concentrated formula (92 uses in a 300 mL bottle), claiming to nourish, repair, strengthen and protect the hair. Zero-Snap helps prevent and reverse visible signs of hair breakage while sealing lifted cuticles and improving elasticity, frizz and static.

I have been using the shampoo and conditioner for a few months and recently purchased again. They changed the fragrance from a really nice, sort of flower/fruit perfume-like fragrance to a musky, masculine, cologne-like fragrance that I do not like.

I have an oily scalp and dry, fine hair. I have been blow drying my hair recently rather than letting it air dry; I have read that leaving hair wet is more damaging than heat from a blow dryer (I use medium heat and a protectant). Plus, my hair looks a little crazy air dried (and blow dried as well; I am practicing blowing it out with a round brush) at the length I have now. I last got my hair cut almost 4 months ago, so probably have a some heat/mechanical damage.

Strong Force Prowash:

The shampoo does not contain harsh sulfates (sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate) or silicones. This contains a number of plant extracts and oils, proteins, peptides and ceramide.

Directions: Apply to wet hair. Lather. Rinse well. Repeat. Follow with masque-creme and a bio-serum.

This is a clear shampoo (clear shampoos are good for oily scalp, rather than a cream shampoo). It has a lot of lather and cleans the scalp and hair very well. My hair feels “squeaky clean,” near to that of some clarifying and sulfate shampoos I have used , which I love for my oily scalp. Despite the squeaky clean feeling, my hair and scalp do not feel dried out, perhaps owing to the equally good Masque-Creme (I also like Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Hydration Mask). I am not sure about the 92 uses, but I am able to use half as much per use (I always shampoo my hair twice per wash) than with other shampoos I have used.

Strong Force Masque-Creme:

Behentrimoium chloride is used as the anti-static, emulsifying conditioning agent, as well as containing a number of plant oils, proteins, ceramide and peptides. As far as I can tell, this does not contain silicone.

Directions: After shampooing, apply to wet hair. Leave on for 1 minute. Rinse thoroughly. Follow with a bio-serum.

This conditioner is a lightweight cream, but is rich and seems to coat and emulsify into the hair. It detangles well and on rinsing, the hair feels hydrated and silky. Like the shampoo, I am able to use half as much as with other conditioners.

I cannot really speak to the anti-breakage claims for the shampoo and conditioner, as I have also been using K18 (have used twice I believe since I got my hair cut), but the ends of my hair still look good for having a cut almost 4 months ago.

Snobgirls has a line of bio-serums (hair oil capsules) that are really good for hydration, frizz, styling, and heat/UV protection.

Having used the Snobgirls Prowash and Masque-Creme (I have also used the Hydramend line and the above bio-serums) for a few months, I love how well the shampoo cleanses and the conditioner moisturizes and detangles. While I will continue to review shampoo and conditioners from time to time (my order of the new shampoo, conditioner and scalp serum from The Ordinary should arrive in a couple days), I will for sure return to the Snobgirls line of products.

Thanks for visiting.

Redken Dry Shampoo Paste 05 Review

Redken Dry Shampoo Paste 05 is half dry shampoo and half styling paste that is used for oil absorption, root lift, texture, mild control, reworkable hold and a refreshed, extended style.

Ingredients: Zeolite, Magnesium Sulfate, Isohexadecane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ceteareth-25, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Stearyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera Oil/Coconut Oil, Oleth-20, Silica, Diatomaceous Earth, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Carbonate, Tocopheryl Acetate

Zeolite is a microporous aluminosilicate mineral and absorbs oil and dirt, as does diatomaceous earth. Isohexadecane has a powder-like finish and improves texture of a formula. Isopropyl Myristate is a texture enhancer and an emollient. Ceteareth-25 is an emollient and helps makes the hair look shiny. Propylene Carbonate is a solvent and can also decrease the viscosity of a product. Stearalkonium Hectorite is a clay.

Directions: Work a small amount of product onto fingertips and apply at the roots and through mid-lengths. Can be used on damp or dry hair.

Redken Dry Shampoo Paste is not scented and does not leave any white residue on the hair. I use about a pea size for the roots and bangs, warming and spreading it on my fingertips first until it feels a bit powdery. While the paste leaves leaves a textured residue on the hair, it it not gritty or sticky. I can still run my fingers and a comb through the hair, though there will be residue left on my fingers.

I have an oily scalp and wash my hair every 3 days. I have used this paste since I first got bangs a couple years ago. The bangs get oily quite quickly and this paste absorbs oil and gives the bangs some weight and texture. Redken Dry Shampoo Paste gives volume and texture to my otherwise flat roots. The before photo above shows my third day hair that is quite oily. After applying the paste to the bangs and roots, I am able to extend wash day by two days.

After flat-ironing, I use a bit of the paste to add texture on the lengths, some hold on the ends of my hair and oil absorption at the roots; flat-ironing makes hair look greasier faster since the oil is able to travel down the hair easier. The paste is great for up-dos and braids and holding bobby pins and hair elastics in place. I have not tried this on damp hair.

The Redken Dry Shampoo Paste 05 is a favorite and I will continue to repurchase. For a dry shampoo that does not leave texture on the hair, I use this one by Living Proof.

Thanks for visiting.

Snobgirls Curalign Ultra-Smoothing Control Hair Oil Capsules Review

I recently purchased a few hair products from Snobgirls, a Canadian professional line of products specifically for color-treated hair with their “100% free series,” banning over 40 harsh ingredients commonly found in skin care and hair care products. Each product contains their TruColour Guard antifading system. One of the hair oils I got are the Curalign Ultra-Smoothing Control Hair Oil Capsules, a leave-in treatment for dry, unruly, frizzy and/or coarse hair. These oil capsules are said to provide weightless control, tame frizz, smooth hair, provide protection from heat and UV light, soothe irritated, dry or itchy scalp, preserve and prolong color, diminish drying time by 55%, help hot tools glide through the hair, add shine, keep moisture in and humidity out and provide lasting results until the next shampoo.

Directions: Twist or cut open stem of capsule. Rub into palms to activate. Glide through clean, towel-dried hair and/or scalp. Do not rinse. Blow dry hair straight and follow with flat iron if desired. To be used after each shampoo and condition. To add shine or control static, apply one drop to dry hair.

Ingredients:

The hair oil contains a few silicones, vitamins, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, plant extracts and oils and proteins.

I have thin, frizzy and dry hair and have used the Curalign hair oil capsules a few times when doing a quick blow dry and flat iron on the hair.

The capsules themselves do not smell good, however, the oil has a slight perfume type fragrance that I cannot smell once applied to the hair. The oil is quite thick, the capsule contains a lot of oil and it seems like it would be heavy, but I used a whole capsule on my collarbone length hair and my hair was not weighed down or greasy and had no residue or stickiness. I also added one drop after flat ironing to smooth some flyaways and static. Using more than a drop or two on dry hair would for sure weigh the hair down and it would feel oily. Rubbing some of the oil onto my hand made my skin feel so smooth and this feeling lasted until I washed my hands.

For each of the above photos, I added the respective oils to the hair when damp, blow dried and then did a quick flat iron (still using this one). These are perhaps not the most accurate for the look of the hair because I used minimal heat and large sections to minimize heat damage; I am getting my hair colored next month and want it to be as healthy as possible (I am so looking forward to covering all this grey hair). The Curalign oil provided the best results in terms of smoothing and straightening the hair and adding shine and a sleek feel. The next day my hair was still straight, felt very smooth and had no poof (I usually get poof on my flat ironed second day hair).

The Snobgirls Curalign Ultra-Smoothing Control Hair Oil Capsules add shine and give the hair a smooth, sleek feel without adding heaviness or residue and I will continue to use this when blow drying and flat ironing the hair.

Thanks for visiting.

K18 Hair Mask Review

K18, formerly known as KhairPep and one of the latest products in hair bonding technology, is a reparative leave-in treatment that claims to reverse hair damage from lightening and chemical services, mechanical damage and heat, bringing hair back to its youthful state.

There are two lines of K18, one for professional use and one for home use. The in-salon service includes a mist that is applied before color service and the mask after the service. The same mask in a smaller size is for home use.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua) (Eau), Alcohol Denat., Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dicaprylyl Ether, Cetyl Esters, Behentrimonium Chloride, Polysorbate 20,sh-Oligopeptide-78 (K18Peptideā„¢), Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Isopropyl Alcohol, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Geraniol, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Alcohol

The K18 hair mask is not a protein or conditioning treatment, but does contain small amounts of protein and behentrimonium chloride that has conditioning and smoothing properties. From the K18 website, “the K18Peptide shuttles amino acids (the building blocks of hair) into the inner structure of the hair. Once inside the hair cortex, the unique amino-acid chain goes directly to the broken disulfide bonds to replace the lost amino acids, regenerating the bond and restoring ultimate strength, resilience and softness.” This contains denatured alcohol, benzyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol that allows the product to penetrate deeper into the hair.

Directions: Before the first use, wash with a clarifying shampoo. Shampoo hair; do not condition. Towel dry hair. Start with one pump and add more as needed depending on length and thickness. Work evenly through hair from roots to ends. Let sit 4 minutes. Do not rinse. Add styling products if desired and style as usual. Use for 4 to 6 consecutive washes and then every 3 to 4 washes for maintenance.

For about a month before I started using the K18 hair mask, my hair had been breaking, very small pieces from the front hairline (while combing or even just fluffing it up) and long pieces from the back hairline. The breakage from the back was similar to when I had blonde hair and when finger combing conditioner (or using “prayer hands”) through the hair, I was left with almost a handful of thick strings of hair such that I would get rather nervous on wash day and as a result my hair feels shorter and thinner at the ends when putting it in a ponytail. My hair does not seem to break off when combing before washing (other than the very small pieces), only while conditioning. I got the K18 mask hoping this would be a solution. I should mention too that it has been just over 2 years since I have had a haircut and hair that has not been cut for so long can split and break.

I have thin hair that has not been colored or cut in 2 years and I rarely use heat. I used the K18 mask for six consecutive washes, using a clarifying shampoo the first wash. I towel dried the hair, parted my hair in two sections and used one pump on each section, let it sit for 4 minutes, applied a leave-conditioner (I still use this one) and air dried as usual.

The K18 hair mask is 75 USD/89 CAD for 50 mL. I got my mask from coastalbeauty.ca at 75 CAD. One pump is 1 mL, so I get 25 uses applying two pumps each use.

K18 is a medium-thick cream that has a sort of fake fruity scent like other salon products. While shampooing, my hair does not get too tangled and it is thin, so applying the K18 mask worked relatively well to detangle. When I was figuring out how many pumps to use, I first used one too many and my hair felt heavy and sticky after air drying. Using two pumps was better; the hair had movement, no residue and more body than usual (perhaps because conditioner is not used).

Above shows before using K18, after six consecutive K18 uses and after normal shampooing and conditioning. I noticed a difference in the feeling of my hair by about the fourth consecutive use. My hair is usually quite frizzy and feels a bit rough and dry and after the strands of hair felt much smoother and the ends felt less dry.

Comparing Olaplex No. 8 and K18, I do not see too much difference in the hair; it looks smoother and less frizzy. After K18, my hair feels much smoother than the Olaplex Intense Moisture Mask that provides a similar function (I have used the No. 3 and No. 8; not sure which would be more comparable) to repair, strengthen and smooth damaged hair. I will note that when I went blonde, my hairdresser used Olaplex during the service and a while later I used the Olaplex No. 3 hoping to repair some damage; my hair could not be saved (not to say Olaplex does not work of course). From the Luxe Color Lounge website, “K18 is great if you are dealing with damage from heat styling, while Olaplex is more for bleached hair.  The Olaplex method uses fake bonds, and you can reach a point where you are using it so often that your hair becomes so strong that it breaks. Because Olaplex is not a natural protein, when you stop using it, your hair can no longer hold on to it, therefore it falls out reverting your hair back to its previous structure.” With K18, however, as I have seen on Instagram, hairdressers are using it during lightening and color services and seeing much improvement in the quality and strength of the hair. From the K18 website, with one salon treatment using the mist and mask as part of the bleaching service, hair is restored to 91% its original strength and 94% its original elasticity. K18 apparently rebuilds keratin bonds permanently, and is not a rinse-out treatment like Olaplex.

Since K18 claims that the mask restores hair to a youthful state, I wanted to compare from 2018 when my hair was the healthiest it felt and looked in a long while. Not sure it is quite a fair comparison as in my case, hair, lifestyle and stress have changed over time; I have more greys, my hair is drier and frizzier, diet and exercise habits are not where they should be compared to 3 years ago and stress has greatly increased over the last months to year.

As for the breakage of long pieces of hair, while finger combing the K18 mask through, I had hair fall, however, not the breakage I was getting while conditioning my hair. After the 6 uses of K18, I shampooed and conditioned my hair as normal and was quite worried, however, I just got my typical hair fall and was not pulling out broken hair. K18 stopped my hair breakage?! I continued with the my normal wash routine four times (still no broken hair) and then used the K18 mask. This time while finger combing the mask through, I pulled out strands of broken hair; not as much as before using the mask.

I think the K18 Molecular Repair Hair Mask is good; I kind of expected my hair to look better though. It does not really look much different, but feels really smooth; K18 seemed to repair my hair so there was no breakage for a few washes and then less breakage than I was getting previously. For the tiny pieces that were breaking, instead of seeing six pieces after combing my hair, I was getting 1 or 2. I will hopefully get my hair cut soon and have enough of the K18 mask to provide an update here. When I get my hair lightened/colored (likely not for a while), I will be looking for a salon that uses K18 and will update again.

Update (January 3, 2022): I finally got my hair cut at the beginning of November and have used K18 a couple times since then. I have not noticed further improvement in using the K18 mask, but my hair really needed a cut; I have had no further breakage and my hair looks and feels much better (update to my hair story here). I will be getting my hair lightened and colored (a balayage and/or color melt) in about 3 weeks. The salon I am going to does not use K18, but I will use my hair mask at home and update at that time.

Update (February 21, 2022): My regular hairdresser no longer works weekends nor later in the evenings, so I am currently looking for a new salon; a color/K18 update will likely be posted in the summer.

Thanks for visiting.