The world became obsessed with Kate Middleton’s hair as soon as she became the future Mrs Windsor. Never has a great blowdry caused so much fuss and fawning, until Kate stepped out with perfectly polished and bouncy waves that took the world by storm. The man behind her perfect curls, delicately coiffed up-dos and bouncy volume is Chelsea hairdresser Richard Ward. Located in Sloane Square (and a stone throw away from the regular haunts of the Made In Chelsea cast,) his salon brings to life his hair vision and plays host to the Duchess on many occasion. Although he has his own professional hair care range (available in-salon and via QVC,) Richard has now launched his own mass market range of shampoos, conditioners and styling products exclusively in Waitrose stores nationwide: “There’s no substitute for beautiful hair – and nothing creates salon-beautiful hair like expert hair products!” he says. I’ve visited his salon on many occasion, as well as trying the salon range, so I was extremely excited to try this ‘budget’ line where everything costs £5.99.
Initially I gave the shampoo and conditioner a whirl, but was sorely disappointed. Not only was the product too thick to effectively get out of the flimsy bottle, but the shampoo failed to lather well enough to leave my hair feeling clean and the conditioner needed to be applied in handfuls to provide any benefit. I’m a fussy one when it comes to hair care, really believing that you need to pay for good ingredients and expertise that the cheaper bottles of goop just don’t provide; this didn’t have me re-evaluating. After trying for a week to like the shampoo and conditioner, I gave up in favour of the styling products: keratin smoothing mist and styling spray. Keratin is definitely the buzz word of the moment, being the key structural component of hair, so anything with this in the title is bound to have people reaching for the nearest bottle. However, in these forms the Keratin provides little benefit to the hair – there’s simply not enough of it being applied to make any real difference to the look and feel of the hair shaft. Although the styling products are averagely effective, providing relatively good results but nothing more than any supermarket brand, I really did feel that the association with both Keratin and Richard Ward was extremely misleading.
As a customer the first thing you see is the name of a professional hairdresser; a hairdresser that tames the most famous hairs in this country. The second thing you see is ‘keratin’ – an ingredient that we’ve been taught to see as beneficial. It’s no surprise that Waitrose have snapped this range up, because shoppers will no doubt be buying into the marketing talk rather than the efficacy of the product inside. This is a perfect example of when not to purchase just because of a celebrity endorsement, hairdresser or otherwise; you may not be getting any better than a bottle of shampoo from Poundland. The vast majority of celebrities and celebrity hairdressers simply put their name to something in return for a hefty cheque and very little involvement; knowing the fabulous job Richard Ward does in his salon and how great his salon professional products are, this really did feel like he’s just capitalised on his recent status and not put much thought into the results achieved from the range. A serious shame, because Kate Middleton and I are normally such great fans.
The full range includes shampoos, conditioners and styling products. Available exclusively in Waitrose stores nationwide for £5.99 each.