Wednesday, 30 December 2015

REVIEW: REF. Natural Hair Care Products...

Another post that is long overdue, and what follows is indeed a major rave. I was converted to this brilliant Swedish range after witnessing the transformation of my tresses after only a few applications in the salon. Given that I was purchasing what I regarded as quality products, and dousing my hair with regular treatments, I had thought it was in fairly good condition, although I admit I had a major problem with frizz control and overall dryness on the ends. My hair is thick and course (that's not a complaint by the way), and prior to switching to these products, the particular short bob style I wanted to maintain required a silky smooth finish that only an experienced hairdresser could conjure up after a full-on sweat-raising blow-dry...

My local salon uses these products on all their clients, and after a couple of shampoo, conditioner and treatment sessions over two visits, I was totally sold, and gradually bought pretty much the whole range. I've been using all of the above for just over 12 months, and I wouldn't dream of caring for my hair with store bought products ever again*  Everything is paraben and sulfate free, enriched with linseed oil and Tamanu oil, and each one of them smells fantastic! All products are numbered using a simple reference system of 1 to 5 (hence the name REF) covering Hold/Care, Shine and Volume, which makes it super easy for you (and your stylist) to work out which particular product you need...

For example, below is the label from the Repair shampoo I use. The reference number is 551, which means it delivers maximum Care (5), maximum Shine (5), and minimal Volume (1) - exactly what my particular hair type and condition requires!

But enough of the technical stuff, let's get onto the individual product reviews...

Repair Shampoo Sulfate Free REF.551

I declare this to be the BEST shampoo I have ever used. I can't believe how incredibly soft my (usually straw-like) hair feels even before I condition. With the first application, I don't get much of a lather, but my hairdresser advised me this is often a characteristic of sulfate free shampoos, and all I need to do is add more water - voila! Problem solved. It cleanses magnificently without stripping any of the natural oils, and I have very little colour-loss (I can tell by the teeny amount of pigment in the bubbles). With a fabulously fresh fruity fragrance, the shampoo is thick and rich, and looks like liquidised pearls. There are no less than eight oils in the formula along with a stack of botanical extracts. As you can see I now buy the giant salon-sized bottle (RRP is $58) - this will last me around eight months ...

Repair Conditioner Sulfate Free REF.551

Similar fragrance to the shampoo (but not quite so crisp and tangy), this conditioner makes my hair ridiculously soft. I use a couple of squirts and leave it in for about two minutes. There's absolutely no chance of tangles or knots, and while it is incredibly rich, it doesn't weigh down my (oily at the roots) hair at all. I bought the big daddy bottle in July and I'm barely half way through it, so I expect this to keep me going for another five months. RRP is $58...

Repair Treatment Mask REF.550

This mask was a big game changer in my hair condition - I colour every two weeks, and while my hair is trimmed every five, the tips were still showing the effects of the chemicals. No split ends, but I was experiencing a fair amount of breakage, frizz and overall dryness. All fixed now! It's a thick creamy paste that I apply every other time I dye my hair - I leave it on overnight (under a turban), and rinse out the next morning. It doesn't technically need to be on that long in order to work its magic, but that's just my preference (and obsession lol). I've had this jar for 9 months, and haven't even used a quarter of it. Same fragrance as the conditioner, RRP is $38...

Leave in Treatment REF.532

I'm almost at the end of this bottle of orange gel - adds another layer of nourishment, a wee bit of volume and shine, and helps reduce static. It has a very faint orange smell, and in the early days, my hair sucked it in like a thirsty traveller who's just emerged from the desert! I bought it originally to maximise the repair process, but my tresses are in such good nick now, I doubt I'll repurchase. RRP is $32...

Get It Straight REF.241

My first tube of this amazing smoother is still going strong after almost a year, but I've bought another already as I don't want to ever run out. I comb my hair into it's basic shape, then apply this clear faintly fragranced gel to the outside of my hair from the top down, and to the annoying bits on the side that always seem to curl and frizz more than anywhere else. This is fantastic for controlling flyaways (it's antistatic), contains a heat protectant, is moisture-resistant, and keeps my hair kink and curl-free. I've tested it out by NOT using it, and the difference it makes to the overall finish is remarkable. RRP is $32

Shine Spray REF.050

Absolutely in love with this product - totally weightless finishing spray that cranks up the gloss factor, and gives my hair even more of a mirror shine. Simply cannot live without it. About 6 months ago, there was a delivery delay at the salon, and I was out of it for 2 weeks - quelle horreur! Since then I've kept a spare on my shelf AT ALL TIMES. Has a stunning musky rose fragrance, and the can lasts about four months. RRP is $34...

Ok so if you're doing the maths, yes - all these items add up to considerable $$$ outlay. BUT I bought them gradually over a three month period so I didn't feel any financial drain, and I consider them an investment - my hair is most definitely a focal point of my appearance, so I'm not even blinking at spending a bit more to keep my tresses in tip top condition. Plus, when I do the sums over a year, it works out to be $27 a month, which is a mere drop in my beauty bucket budget 

You'll find more details of all products at Luxury Beauty Concepts - this range is ONLY available in salons, but you can call (03) 9510 6051 to locate your nearest stockist.

Take care of you,
kats xxx

* I use one other product on my hair, reviewed here 


  1. This sounds like a lovely natural haircare range! It's so great that it has improved the overall condition of your hair. I love that the products are all paraben and sulfate free and contain essential oils for added nourishment ♥

    1. Comes with my full endorsement Bella - after using this for over a year, my hair has been transformed!

  2. $27 a month isn't much, considering you colour your own hair. Salon colouring alone would work out much more expensive. It changes the story when you quote the monthly cost.

    1. Yep I agree, plus colouring at home is at my own convenience - crikey I can barely find the time to get my hair cut lol ♥

  3. Thanks for this article kats. I can't tell you the number of shampoos I have used and they all fail the test. I can't use sulphates in my hair as it was found to causing me serious ear infections but it is impossible to find sulphate free shampoos on the market that actually look after your hair at the same time. I have given so many of my shampoos away because they have been a failure. Even now, I am using a shampoo that does have sulphates in it but I am suffering with it.

    I've written down the number. I don't visit hair salons, I have a lady that does my hair at her home.

    Am wondering if you can buy this product on line though? I wish they had samples that you could at least try as spending such a huge outlay for me is quite hard if in case it didn't work for me. Although with your blog, I trust your judgement :-)

    1. My darling Mandy, you poor love, that sounds so painful - I've just sent you an email with some details that might help ♥♥♥

  4. I just started using this line but the Weightless volume shampoo and conditioner and i can tell you it is amazing. I am also using the Fiber Mouse and the Root to Top root lifter and i am in love with all of the new products, i use the ultimate repair conditioner once a week. My hair never felt better.

    1. Oh wow I didn't know they made a mousse too - certainly impressed with what I've tried so far, streets ahead of everything else in the market.

  5. This product rocks. I needed a color correction and my hairdresser insisted that I use the Reference of Sweden repair shampoo and conditioner.

    1. Well said Jeff - I'd never heard of this brand before my salon experience, but I'm sure delighted I made their acquaintance.