Beauty products are much like books: You can’t judge them on packaging alone. Price is also a factor, but as we know, there are plenty of miracle-workers to be found on drugstore shelves. Case in point: E45 Dry Skin Shampoo ($8), sounds as glamorous as a pair of M&S undies, but don’t be fooled. Where a good pair of knickers can make an outfit look better and give you the comfort to be confident, this shampoo gives lackluster hair bounce and shine that rivals the more expensive offerings out there. Oh, and it has a fashion editor’s seal of approval. Keep scrolling to find out why you need to snap up this utilitarian shampoo that gives you surprisingly luxe-looking hair.
As beauty editors, we’re always on the lookout for new and exciting products, so when Hannah Almassi, Who What Wear UK’s editorial director, told me she had been using a new shampoo that had given her hair some serious boost, I was intrigued. As it turns out, I would have so many feelings, from surprise to confusion, when she told me it was E45 Dry Scalp Shampoo ($8). Yep, that functional white bottle apparently contains a gloss-giving and body-boosting elixir.
“It sounds about as sexy as shopping for tampons, but buying E45 Shampoo has been the best thing I’ve ever added to my basket in Boots. I had a touch of dry scalp (thanks to overdoing it in the sun on holiday—oops) and quickly grabbed this to try and solve the problem, thinking I'd use it once or twice, and then banish it to the back of my bathroom cupboard for eternity.
“It’s so cheap in comparison to the pricier shampoos I usually use; it just wasn’t much of a commitment. However, months later—in fact, almost a year—and I’m still hooked. Regardless of the former scalp problem that disappeared in no time, this shampoo does miraculous things to my hair, and I use it every other day. My often-lackluster barnet (which is also in need of a trim) is shinier, falls better, and has more volume. Magic.”
Now, it’s not that I don’t trust my colleague’s anecdote, but her hair looks great. I know—I sit next to her every day, but I wanted to find out just what it is about the formula that makes her hair look so good. I called on independent product formulator Richard Mears for the answer. “This formula contains a lot of ingredients, which will give the look of shiny hair and will aid fullness through surface tension. There is some repairing but at quite a low level. The gentle formula has been made with plenty of oils, which the hair likes and gives the illusion of health.
“The two main ingredients are Glyceryl Oleate, which is produced from oils and gives the hair a boost of health, and Polyquaternium-10, which can reduce static electricity, increase hair body, suppleness and improve the texture of hair.”
I also picked the brains of Dr. Pedro Catala, founder, and creator of Twelve Beauty, who agreed with Mears, "Glyceryl Oleate is used to reduce the roughness of the surfactants (the substances that make foam and clean the scalp and hair). It also leaves the skin elastic and moisturized. This might be one of the key ingredients, together with the polyquaternium -10, responsible for the success of your colleague's hair.
"My opinion is that it is a well-balanced shampoo with effective ingredients that work well on stressed, dyed, and dry hair. It's not 100% natural but if that doesn't bother you, it is a great buy."
So essentially this shampoo will soothe an irritated scalp and make your hair look healthier, but your hair won’t necessarily be healthier. But then, there’s nothing a good trim can’t fix.
Next up, 20 shoulder-length hairstyles that will persuade you into the salon.