I Swapped My $15 Hair Routine For A $289 Augustinus Bader Version

Hair before use
You may have spotted Augustinus Bader’s The Cream nestled in the bathroom #shelfies of stars like Hailey Bieber, Naomi Campbell, and Victoria Beckham. (You can read our review of the product here.) A-listers rave about the results of the iconic moisturizer, beauty editors repeatedly list it as their hero product and in-demand makeup artists like Pati Dubroff and Hung Vanngo can't get enough.
Since its launch in 2018, the moisturizer has won countless awards for its science-backed efficacy. At $265 for a 50ml bottle, you're probably wondering about its credentials. It was created by a globally-recognized biomedical scientist, physician, and stem-cell expert named Dr. Augustinus Bader. While formulating a gel to heal third-degree burns, Bader discovered how to trigger the skin's natural renewal process. He realized how well the formula would work in skincare and voilà: the brand's patented technology, Trigger Factor Complex (TFC8®), was born.
Since then, Augustinus Bader has expanded its skincare repertoire with a serum and body products. This year — after 18 months of perfecting the formula — Augustinus Bader turned its hand to haircare with a shampoo, conditioner, leave-in treatment, hair oil, and scalp treatment.
"Like the skin, hair is governed by natural forces that slow over time, causing undesirable, yet reversible, outcomes," explained Bader. "By translating our award-winning technology for cellular renewal to the scalp and follicles, we've created a system that supports the body's ability to regrow hair, supporting renewal from root to tip." The products look sleek in the brand's Instagram-famous blue and rose gold packaging, each one is free from SLS, parabens, fragrance, and they claim to be suitable for every hair type.
A bargain-beauty devotee, my usual focus is skincare. In other words, my hair is often neglected. Naturally straight, my hair spends a lot of time in a ponytail. My hair is fine, oily, and needs to be washed daily (sorry Greta, I've tried). The length means I go through a fair amount of shampoo and conditioner, with no allegiance to a particular brand. I'm currently using Monday Haircare; as a tragically typical millennial, I was drawn to the pink bottle, not to mention the $6.99 price tag. I mask the ends of my hair once a week and dye it at home using Josh Wood Permanent Color in 9.0 Blonde, $25 US dollars.
At a combined price of $289, the Augustinus Bader hair collection is equivalent to my monthly grocery budget, but I had to try it. So I switched out my usual products for two weeks.
The Shampoo alone is $55 and consists of a clear gel that lathers well and rinses out easily. Light and cleansing, it's great for my fine hair, but I do wonder how it would fare on coily or very-dry hair. Ingredient-wise there's bamboo extract, which is said to improve blood circulation in the scalp, alongside vitamin B5 for softness and shine, watercress and Indian cress extracts to support keratin production, neem extract to prevent and treat hair loss, and the magic TFC8®.
The price reflects the impressive ingredients, but while my hair felt squeaky clean afterwards, there was no wow moment in terms of results. Though I suspect the ingredients would likely boost my hair's health over time, at $55 for 200ml (compared to Monday's shampoo at $6.99 for 350ml), I can't justify the price.
The Conditioner, also $55, is a different story. As soon as I applied it, my strands turned to silk and brushing got easier with every use. Oat kernel oil is said to support elasticity, while coconut oil adds moisture and shine. I could feel the superiority of this product from the get-go and I think it even made my hair healthier — it's lightweight yet nourishes my fine lengths beautifully.
The Scalp Treatment, $80, is the priciest product in the range. The scalp is an extension of facial skin, so it's no wonder that scalp care has become so popular of late — but this lazy girl isn't on board just yet. Perhaps it's key if I want Adele's bounce, though. This product promises to energize sluggish hair follicles to reduce shedding and stimulate regrowth. I added a few drops to towel-dried hair and massaged it in gently. Hazel leaf extract is said to increase blood flow to the scalp and boost collagen. Although this serum gave my hair a little volume without oiliness, I felt a little bit meh about it. If I'm being honest, I didn't see or feel a huge difference.
I moved on to The Leave-In Hair Treatment, $50. The label describes this as "weightless" and I agree. Dyeing my hair regularly means the ends dry out. But anything more than a weekly hair mask leaves my strands limp. I cautiously applied a pea-size amount from the mid-lengths downwards and my hair was instantly smoothed. I have to say that this product has given my neglected hair a new lease of life. It's probably all down to the moisture-boosting plant extracts. A wonderful zhoosh of volume can be created with your fingertips when using this, too. I can't wait to treat my hair to this miracle nectar again.
Considering the magic of The Leave-In Treatment, I didn't really feel as though I needed The Hair Oil, $50. But to be a thorough tester, I tried it repeatedly over the course of a couple of weeks. I worried it would be too heavy, but I was wrong. A blend of argan, pomegranate, and baobab oils nourished my hair with absolutely no residue. What's more, these oils will help to reduce breakage and protect against heat damage. I'm with the 87% of testers who said it repairs split ends, too.
Hair after use, no straightening or styling.
I would be brutally honest if this range did not stand up to its claims, but the reality is that some products do deliver visible results. Having discussed this article with my BFF, I reluctantly texted her: "Shit. It's great." My hair feels light and clean, yet deeply moisturized. I don't necessarily have Duchess of Cambridge-esque volume, but my hair thickness is improved. It's difficult to comment on hair growth in two weeks, but I noticed that my breakage had lessened. There's one thing, though: the price. I wouldn't spend on The Shampoo, but would splurge on The Conditioner and The Leave-In Treatment.
As the entire collection's price tag isn't so attainable, I'd advise targeting any issues you might have. Those with dry hair will love The Conditioner. If your scalp needs some TLC, The Leave-In Treatment's ingredients are a powerful bunch. Top tip: Depending on your hair type, opt for either The Leave-In Treatment or The Hair Oil, rather than layering both. I'll be re-purchasing The Conditioner and The Leave-In Treatment as a treat on payday, for sure. But until I win the lottery, I won’t be splurging on everything. Back in a ponytail you go, hair.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy or click on something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

More from Hair

R29 Original Series