There’s no doubt that the haircare world is evolving rapidly. Where once a respectable routine involved the use of a shampoo, conditioner and the odd hair mask or serum, now we’re seeing an increasingly growing selection of hair products that meet the specific demands of a wider number of hair types.
Farewelling the one-product-fits-all approach for good, this year we’ll see more products (and hair services in salon) that better address our own unique requirements. Those products take a leaf out of skincare’s book, making the most of ingredient innovation and introducing our locks to a number of key ingredients like peptides, collagen, vitamins and hyaluronic acid more familiar in skincare products as we start to look to to improve our hair’s growth cycle, health, density and resilience, as well as it’s surface appearance.
As understanding grows around the importance of scalp health, its composition as an extension of our facial skin and its role as the factory that grows our strands, so too does the number of products designed to clean, nourish and exfoliate the area.
This ‘skin-ification’ of hair has been slowly introduced by some of our most loved and respected hair brands over the past couple of years – expect to see ingredient ‘shout-outs’ become more familiar on packaging – but now brands previously only known for their skincare are also extending their research and development capabilities to improving our hair.
The Ordinary revolutionised skincare routines when it introduced its no-frills serums and other skincare products boasting transparent ingredient lists, science-based formulas and respectably affordable prices back in 2016. It’s still hugely popular, particularly with a verging-on-fanatical following on social media like TikTok where product tips are enthusiastically shared.
Now, the brand has extended its approach to a whole new category – hair – with the launch of three equally affordable products: a shampoo, conditioner and scalp serum.
As shown by their names, The Ordinary Sulphate 4% Cleanser for Body & Hair, The Ordinary Behentrimonium Chloride 2% Conditioner and Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA for Scalp, take a similar approach to the brand’s skincare products, putting ingredients, and the science that proves them effective, to the forefront.
The shampoo and conditioner are said to be light-weight formulas that have been shown to be suitable for all hair types, lengths and colours. They take a ‘back to basics’ approach with simple formulas using gentle surfactants to cleanse and create an optimal environment for the scalp serum to subsequently get to work rehydrating skin and keeping it in optimal condition without itching or flaking.
In a typically frank approach, the brand is open about the inclusion of sulphates, a category of hair ingredient that has been the subject of debate in recent years over concern about potential negative impacts to hair and skin.
‘Sulphates offer superior cleansing ability, great sensorial profiles, are readily biodegradable, and do not disrupt the skin barrier when formulated properly,’ The Ordinary’s parent company DECIEM says in a press release announcing the new arrivals. ‘The health and safety claims made by certain marketing campaigns do not align with the peer-reviewed scientific evidence and DECIEM is on yet another path to bring ingredient clarity to the consumer.’
Instead of disregarding sulfates completely, the brand says it has included a reduced concentration with a chemical modification of SLS into a derivative – SLES-2 – shown to effectively break down oil and grime that can’t be washed away with water alone, while still being safe and gentle to skin and strands.
British brand The Inkey List is another skincare brand that has found success – and a home at Sephora – with it’s straightforward ingredient-lead skin products that make the most of the likes of peptides and hyaluronic acid. It’s initial serums, cleansers, face oils and liquid exfoliants were joined by a number of hair products in its home market in 2020, but the hair range has just become available here.
Eschewing shampoo and conditioner, the brand focuses on treatment products instead, to address a number of various hair challenges.
Like the simple black and white packaging its intentions are clear with product names that each highlight the product’s key ingredient, for example: Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment, designed to remove flakes and product build up; Caffeine Stimulating Scalp Treatment said to stimulate hair follicles, encouraging hair growth and thickness; Peptide Volumizing Hair Treatment that helps to increase hair’s thickness and volume and Chia Seed Curl Defining Hair Cream, a protective styling product for curly and kinky hair.
With fairly simple formulas and branding, the majority of both companies’ products are priced between $15-$25 each, meaning it’s appealing to give the new arrivals a go and add to the shower line up.
The Ordinary’s hair products are available from March 8 on the DECIEM website, The Inkey List products are available from Sephora.nz now.