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Many years ago I was super fixated on making sure that my shampoo was ‘SLS Free’, as I had heard that sulphates were overly drying and stripping too much moisture. I hadn’t given it a second thought since then, so I was really surprised when The Ordinary not only launched a shampoo with sulphates, but also led with that as the main ingredient! 🤯

The Ordinary believes that removing sulphates is simply a trend and, as always, their brand is about evidence-based formulations, not just following the crowd. Rather than removing sulphates, they researched them and broke the ingredient down to its essential levels, giving all the cleansing benefits of the ingredient, as well as further long-term benefits.

Aside from this, their new haircare release focuses on simple, lightweight formulas that give both instant and long term results. The range includes the Sulphate 4% Cleanser for Hair & Body, Behentrimonium Chloride 2% Conditioner and the Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA for Scalp – all of which is now available on their website!

Read on if you’re curious to find out more about sulphates, as well as this new range of The Ordinary haircare!

Introducing The Ordinary’s Hair Care Line

The Ordinary’s Hair Care range launched back in March and aimed to challenge traditional thinking about shampoo, conditioners and scalp serums. The range focuses on scalp health, working to support new and healthy hair growth. They believe that haircare is often marketed with short term solutions, but that people should be focusing on scalp care instead, similar to how skincare regimes are developed.

Powerful but minimal formulations mean that these products are suitable for all hair types – including coloured hair like mine. According to The Ordinary, “The latest products have been designed with a skincare minded approach, and take inspiration from the brands current product offering, ingredient led formulations with integrity.”

The range includes three products, all at a pretty good price point too:

Sulphate 4% Cleanser for Hair & Body

Described as a “gentle but effective cleanser,” the Sulphate 4% Cleanser for Hair & Body works to remove direct, grease and product residue. It uses SLES-2 in a 4% concentration, for a formulation that cleanses effectively but also maintains the integrity of the scalp. It is also gentle enough to be used on both the hair and body with minimal chance of irritation (NOTE). The formula is low foaming but effective, and also able to cleanse hair without additional colour fade.

What is SLES-2?

Sulphates, often also called SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate), are an essential cleansing agent. In hair shampoos, it works to dissolve the barrier between dirt, oil and water, helping to remove build up and lift impurities. That being said, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the use of sulphates in recent years: one concern is with skin allergies or irritations, and the second concern is about how stripping or drying this ingredient can be – for people with colour treated hair for who may be prone to frizz, sulphates have always been a big no-no.

From there, The Ordinary have started to use SLES-2, which is a softer variation of sulphate. It is able to cleanse at lower concentrations, hence being able to minimise concerns with irritation and drying. Taken down to its essential levels, this cleanser uses just a 4% concentration.

NOTE: Patch testing is recommended when ever you introduce a new product but especially if you have have sensitivities to sulphates in the past. Please check the product page and website for safety instructions.

Behentrimonium Chloride 2% Conditioner

Conditioning is an essential part of my own haircare routine so definitely can’t be neglected. The Behentrimonium Chloride 2% Conditioner features a minimalist, simple formulation that is lightweight on hair. The key ingredient (Behentrimonium Chloride) is actually common in conditioners, giving immediate results to smooth the appearance of hair. It has a gel-like consistency that applies easily and feels nicely nourishing. However, The Ordinary notes that conditioners only give the appearance of health and shine, but actually achieving that will come down to your scalp regime.

Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA for Scalp

The Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA for Scalp is a non-greasy scalp serum claims to be a “first-of-its-kind, water-light formulation,” working to improve scalp hydration and skin barrier protection, without sticking to hair or weighing down the roots.

As the name suggests, this was actually inspired by one of my favourite daily moisturisers, the original Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA – it allows for the topical application of the natural moisturising factors, which play a role in protecting and hydrating the outer layer of the scalp. It also contains ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid (HA) and Squalane, both also naturally produced within skin.

With regular use, the serum will work to support hydration through scalp skin barrier protection.

Have you learnt something new about sulphates today? Because I definitely have. Reading their justification and explanation about the use of SLES-2 has really changed the way I think about shampoo formulations, especially as someone who has both colour treated hair and a greasy scalp. I’m also really interested to see whether long-term use of this range, in particular the serum, will improve on my scalp health.

Check out The Ordinary’s website to pick up any of these products and make sure to let me know in the comments (or in Instagram) if you have some thoughts on them!

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