How to become an expert in the haircare aisle

Stock up without stressing out

Editor / July 18 2023

Allow us to set the scene. You’ve strolled into the beauty aisle of your local Woolworths or Coles, the pop hits playlists are thriving (ish), and everyone there’s on a mission. But no one more than you! You’ve come in search of the haircare lineup that’ll change your life, and you’ve never felt more prepared to pick out the perfect slew of products.

Oh hang on, you aren’t yet at this stage? Fret not; few are. That’s why we’re here: to teach you the tools and tricks you need to enter the aisle as an absolute expert, ready to snap up the lineup of formulas that’ll leave you looking salon-fresh for a slither of the price.

Carts at the ready; shopping just became serious business…

Step 1: Write your hair a shopping list

We’re going to go ahead and assume you're familiar with the act of writing a regular ‘ole shopping list. You might start with broader categories like ‘dinner ingredients’, then break it down further into specifics: think ‘pasta’, ‘sauce’, ‘oil’, etc.

It works the same way when shopping for haircare - start by thinking of what your hair wants ‘served’ to it (AKA ‘hydration’ instead of dinner), and then come up with the elements that’ll come together to deliver it. For example, if your hair is craving moisture, gloss, and thickness, your list might read ‘nourishing shampoo and conditioner’, ‘shine-boosting oil’, and ‘fullness-enhancing spray’.

Then, once you know what you generally want to aim for, it’s time to think technical…

Step 2: Break down the buzzwords on the bottles

Now we swear we don’t mean to come across condescending; we know you know what ‘moisturising’ means. But in the beauty biz, some bottles can bear words a little less clear. And ones that have their snappy hero ingredient names in giant fonts don’t always explain what said ingredients actually do.

Ideally, you’ll be able to track down some tubs and tubes that specify both the ingredient and the benefits, linking the two together in your mind for future reference. But here’s a bit of a breakdown in the meantime…

If you have dry, or damaged hair, look for ingredients like argan oil and coconut, plus buzzwords such as ‘hydrating’, ‘nourishing’ and ‘repairing’. If you’re dealing with lifeless, fine or flat hair, try seeking out biotin and collagen or anything that offers help with ‘thickness’ and ‘fullness’. For combatting frizz and dullness, you’ll want something that’s talking up its keratin-packed contents and says it can counteract those very concerns with ‘smoothing’ benefits.

Luckily, stellar supermarket hair brand, OGX, include both the ingredients and the benefits on their (vibrantly coloured) packaging. You’ll spy products that shout about things like the ability to “hydrate and revive” with “argan oil of Morocco” and options that leave you “frizz-free” with “keratin” for “smoothing”. As much as we want you to be experts no matter what info is offered, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t love a cheatsheet!

OGX Extra Strength Hydrate + Revive Argan Oil of Morocco Hair Mask ($25 at Woolworths) and OGX Frizz-Free Keratin Smoothing Oil Spray ($27 at Woolworths)

OGX Extra Strength Hydrate + Revive Argan Oil of Morocco Hair Mask

OGX Frizz-Free Keratin Smoothing Oil Spray

Step 3: Choose formulas that fit together

As you’re loading up your cart, take time to think about how the puzzle pieces (AKA your products) fit together. For example, try to avoid grabbing a buildup-clearing detox shampoo and a heavy hair oil that’ll fill the congestion tank right back up. You want everything in your routine to work as a team and make sense in a lineup.

For example, we’re always going to recommend choosing a shampoo and conditioner combo rather than selecting two from different ranges. They say ‘best used with’ their buddy on the bottles for a reason, so pair two twins together whenever possible for most impressive results. Not to mention a double dose of one scent, rather than two competing ones!

A combo we’re a fan of? The OGX Anti-Hair Fall Coconut Caffeine Shampoo ($23 at Woolworths) and Conditioner ($23 at Woolworths) followed up with the OGX Damage Remedy Coconut Miracle Oil Hair Mask ($25 at Woolworths) if you’re keen to add a mask into the mix. Both benefits (strengthening in the case of the shampoo/conditioner and repairing for the mask) work together well, as does the triple hit of the dreamy coconut aroma.

OGX Anti-Hair Fall Coconut Caffeine Shampoo

OGX Anti-Hair Fall Coconut Caffeine Conditioner

OGX Damage Remedy Coconut Miracle Oil Hair Mask

You’re not limited solely to scent matches, though: it’s mostly about benefits that can coexist. The OGX Biotin & Collagen Weightless Oil Mist ($30 at Woolworths) for extra thick and full-looking hair, for example, would be a stellar cart addition and would still pair perfectly with the aforementioned trio.

Any one of these nourishing, strengthening post-wash formulas would also team well with the OGX Color Care Vibrant Color Vibes Shampoo ($23 at Woolworths) and Conditioner ($23 at Woolworths), if it’s a shade refresh you’re shopping for.

Most options will work well together (especially if hailing from the same brand), but it’s still smart to logically consider how different formulas will affect the hair, and if any cancel out each other’s benefits. That’s how you reach expert status!

OGX Biotin & Collagen Weightless Oil Mist

OGX Color Care Vibrant Color Vibes Shampoo

OGX Color Care Vibrant Color Vibes Conditioner

Step 4: Reap the results/add ‘haircare aisle expert’ to your resume

Okay, fine, this one’s only semi-serious. At least the second part: we’re very serious about the results you’ll be reaping once you’ve added your new hair haul to your shower shelf. But hey, we’re all for bragging rights re: your new expert-status, too.

Our pitch? Add it to a badge, stroll the haircare aisle with a snazzy-looking pair of specs (an essential for giving off a true ‘expert’ vibe), and wait for those less wise than you to beg for your strand-saving services…

Main image credit: Getty

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Delaney began her career in the Australian beauty media industry in 2015, landing amidst the glossy world of women’s lifestyle magazines (or more literally, in their beauty cupboards). Since then, she has gone on to write across a multitude of beloved Australian media brands, including OK!, NW, InStyle, and Harper’s BAZAAR. She’s covered every side of beauty content, from directing beauty editorial shoots to rounding up the best glossy serums for golden hour skin. Having spent nearly a decade immersed in the beauty realm, Delaney’s knowledge of beauty is as extensive as her collection of tinted lip oils (read: extremely extensive). Delaney is currently the Digital Managing Editor of BEAUTYcrew, and her beauty wisdom also appears across beautyheaven, ELLE and Marie Claire. She enjoys channelling her personal hobby (testing beauty products) into her professional work (talking about testing beauty products), and considers perfecting the art of a cat eye in a moving car her life’s greatest accomplishment.