I tried The Ordinary’s new haircare range to see if it lives up to the hype



Road test.

Hair has never been my forte. I spent the majority of my life with the same haircare routine as the average teenage boy, spent my younger years wrestling with bumps in my ponytail and the older ones wrestling with the inherent connection between hair and percieved femininity. Unfortunately, there’s no shampoo to help that one.

I’m not all clueless, though – my skincare knowledge has increased tenfold over the last year, bolstered by lots of skinfluencer TikTok and Instagram research. My favourite products, carefully chosen and facing out on my thrifted silver tray, all have their place in my routine. I just let the hair fall limp next to my shiny, freshly-slugged face.

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This was until I got my ‘light shag’ haircut done by the talented Madison Finn. She explained the difference a good shampoo and conditioner can make, particularly if you have damaged, oily, frizzy or generally tricky hair. If you use products that aren’t great (shampoo and conditioner used to cost me less than a coffee, for reference), they can also cause these issues – which is likely what happened with my crusty ends.

Riding my (likely temporary) haircare wave, I was compelled to try The Ordinary’s new range of minimalistic haircare. I knew I loved the brand’s niacinamide and 1 per cent retinol (both hold a place on the holy silver tray), so I figured the stripped-back hair formulas would be worth a road test.

My hair

Before I share my (unqualified) thoughts, a little context. My roots are oily and my ends are dry, which is endlessly annoying. Aside from a nice-ish shampoo and conditioner, I generally don’t use anything on my hair – including heat. My hair gets washed once every two to three days, depending on how oily it looks. I let the nest air dry and wear it long and loose 99 per cent of the time because I’m insecure. The goal is to reach a slicked bun by the end of 2022, but we’re still in half-up, half-down territory.

Sulphate 4% Cleanser for Body and Hair

For body and hair? Seems suspicious. I did liken my haircare routine to that of a teenage boy, but I draw the line at any kind of three-in-one product. Unless it’s for the sake of serious journalistic research, which this obviously was.

Don’t judge a shampoo by its multi-use function, folks! This turned out to be my favourite of the three products I tried. After getting my hair thoroughly wet, I worked a decent dollop of the clear, scent-free formulation into my scalp. The product didn’t get to the bubbly lather stage but did feel cool and refreshing on my noggin. I didn’t test its body-cleansing abilities this time around.

The next morning, my housemates (boys who don’t often notice a hair change, bless) told me my hair looked ‘really nice’ and asked if I had gotten it done. The highest of compliments! The product really cleansed the residual oil from my scalp and made my hair feel clean, fresh and bouncy. It looked softer and healthier; I loved the results.

Get it here.

Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA for Scalp

Described as a ‘lightweight hydrating serum for the scalp’, this product is designed to moisturise and protect the scalp. My head is generally flake-free but does often feel a little dry, making me the perfect candidate. Before bed, I gave the brand’s signature glass bottle a shake before squeezing the eyedropper and applying a couple drops of the milky serum to my scalp.

On my scalp, it felt like a super-thin, slightly runny moisturiser. That doesn’t sound incredible, but the consistency works for getting in between your hair follicles for a really good rub. When I woke up, I was afraid to find oily roots but instead, my scalp felt like a baby’s bottom. The top of my hair looked a little shinier, too – and for $21.80, I’d say this is definitely worth it.

Get it here.

Behentrimonium Chloride 2% Conditioner

This was probably my least favourite, but it was still a really nice conditioner. It wasn’t quite right for my bleach-damaged, moisture-drained ends, which require some serious attention. Described as a ‘minimalistic formula that avoids the bulky ingredients typically found in conditioners’, the lightweight consistency worked easily into my ends, detangling the dry knots that form during my days.

It did – as promised – make my hair more manageable, I just needed to use it in conjunction with something like an oil, serum or leave-in conditioner. Once I’m a little further in my hair journey (slicked bun, here we come), this conditioner will be ideal.

Get it here.

To shop The Ordinary’s full range of products, head here.

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