Going paraben, sulphate and silicon free – does it work?
I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I have been absolutely plagued by Instagram adverts for BondiBoost. Every other Story it feels is an advert with a lusciously haired lady playing with her gorgeous locks. When it comes to beauty products (or anything really…) it’s hard to know whether you can trust Instagram adverts. Surely these are just women who’ve been professionally styled – there can’t be anything that outrageously special about the BondiBoost products themselves? It would have to be something pretty special indeed to warrant the hefty price tags.
So I scrolled past, ignored the adverts for months. But then I started looking into the ‘Curly Girl’ method. Anyone who has seen my photo will have realised one obvious fact: I do not have curly hair. I’ve always been drawn to curls, but that way my hair does not incline. Or so I long thought. All it took was a passing comment from my hairdresser that I might have a bit of a natural wave, and then I fell down the rabbit hole of Curly Girl, co-wash, sulphate free, and so on. Maybe this was the follicle miracle I had been searching for all these years?
However, the Curly Girl method seemed like a lot of effort, for potentially no gain. So I thought maybe I’d just try a sulphate free shampoo for a while and see if it made any difference to my hair texture. And so there I was, crawling back to BondiBoost. One special offer later, I found myself in possession of the Dandruff Repair Shampoo and Dandruff Repair Conditioner. I don’t actually get dandruff, but do have a very sensitive, often itchy scalp. Stronger, more intense shampoos often leave me feeling uncomfortable, and I have to stop using them after a few washes, so I thought I’d hedge my bets and go for the most gentle option BondiBoost had to offer.
Does it work?
In short, yes, yes it does! Having done some research I was actually pretty hopeful for the sulphate free formulas, and my expectations were high. But I have not been disappointed. I’ve not ended up with the beachy-waves I was dreaming of, but I do have much healthier, more luscious hair, and I am free from the itchy scalp that once plagued me. I think the sulphate-free formula is largely responsible for the lack of irritation, but the mixture of ingredients (or absence of certain ingredients) certainly seems to be working for my hair too. It feels a lot stronger, has more natural shine, and has more volume and bounce. Even my hairdresser noticed the difference, asking ‘do you blow dry your hair?’ (yes) and ‘then do you use heat protection?’ (no), before joking that I was allowed to grow my hair long because it’s so healthy! Overall I’m really happy with how it works, and I won’t be switching back to normal shampoo and conditioner any time soon. I’ve already made my second purchase!
I’m not sure my photos really get across how big the difference is (and admittedly the after photo is after a very minor cut and blow dry), but let me assure you that you can certainly feel it.
What does it feel like to use?
The experience of using BondiBoost is definitely different to what you’ll be used to from a ‘normal’ shampoo. The lack of sulphate (I believe) means that it doesn’t foam anywhere near as much as a standard shampoo, so it can feel a bit sparse when you’re applying it. Your hair might feel a bit ‘squeaky’, especially after the first few washes, and it can take some getting used to. It’s quite a runny, almost milky product, which tends to soak right in where you put it, so it can be hard to spread throughout your hair. Without the lather you’d normally expect it can be harder to tell when you’ve got decent coverage. The pump action bottle gives you a really small dose, which again feels pretty sparse, but even with my now quite long and very thick hair, I only need two pumps to get a good coating. I use a scalp brush to help distribute it and really work it into my roots, and then that’s that.
The conditioner feels a lot more like a traditional product, with a thicker, more gel-like texture. Again, I use much less of this than I used to with normal conditioner, just running a couple of squirts through my hair, leaving it for a few minutes while I use my skincare products, and then wash out.
How long does it last, and is it good value?
The Dandruff Repair options both come in 300ml bottles, which can be bought as a pair for $65.90. My original order arrived at the beginning of December, and I’ve used them almost exclusively since then (bar one or two washes when I’ve been away from home). As it stands, I’m about halfway through my bottles. I wash my hair almost everyday (I know this isn’t ideal for your hair but the amount I sweat when I workout leaves me with no choice!), so let’s extrapolate and assume that the two bottles will last me about 60 days. That works out at just about $1 per wash. Compare that with my partner’s shampoo, which costs about $5 a bottle and lasts him for months, and you’re definitely not getting anywhere near the value. But, compared to other premium hair products I think you’re getting a pretty good deal. It’s lasted me longer than Aveda products I’ve tried in the past, with far more impressive results. I’ve got a lot of hair, so if you have finer or shorter hair, you’re bound to get better value. So all in I’d say the product is pretty good value for money.
What are the fragrances like?
This is one area I’m not really qualified to report on, as I’ve only used the one formula. The Dandruff Repair scent foregrounds one of its ‘Hero ingredients’, peppermint, with slightly botanical undertones. I wouldn’t say this was my ideal fragrance for hair – it does remind me of breath mints (Polos specifically!), but it’s a fresh, clean scent which doesn’t have too much staying power, so I can’t say it really bothers me.
If it’s not got parabens, sulphates and silicones, what does it have?
I’m no expert, so I’m not really going to be able to give you any of the science behind the ingredients they have chosen, but what I can say is that there are a lot of botanicals in there. Many of which are certified organic. The first ingredient on the list is Aloe Vera Leaf Juice (unlike water, which is the case for many shampoos), and others include Peppermint leaf oil, olive fruit oil (surely this is just olive oil?), sea buckthorn fruit oil (which was actually an ingredient in one of my favourite Vitamin C moisturisers), linseed oil, sunflower oil, roselle extract, green tea extract, brazil nut oil, macadamia oil, and rosemary leaf extract. That’s enough plants to stock a garden! I’m not qualified to really reflect on what all of those oils provide, but they make up the majority of the list of ingredients, and it’s great to see that so many of them are certified organic. You might think that all those oils would leave our hair feeling greasy, but that certainly hasn’t been the case for me.
If you’re interested in the full list of ingredients, you can find it on their individual product listings. Whatever they’re doing, they seem to be working, if my hair is anything to go by!
Should you try it?
I can really recommend these products. If you’re looking to try a sulphate free shampoo, especially if you have sensitive skin, the BondiBoost Dandruff Repair is a great choice. Everyone’s hair is different, but I’m really happy with the results I’ve seen from the switch. It’s a nice product to use, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and has left me feeling way more comfortable and satisfied with the health of my hair.
I’d love to hear how you’ve got on with BondiBoost products – are there other products I should try? Please do share your experiences in the comments below. As always I should point out that this post isn’t in the least bit sponsored (I wish!). Thanks very much for reading, I hope this review has been helpful!