(Hair)

I Tried Oribe’s New Hair Alchemy Collection & My Bleached Hair Transformed

I was shocked.

“Fragile” is a good way to describe my hair on any given day (and honestly, the general state of my emotions these days). Dealing with breakage was just one of the things I had to accept when I decided to bleach my naturally-brown hair to icy blonde over two years ago. So when luxury haircare brand Oribe invited me to Los Angeles to experience its new Hair Alchemy Collection that promised to be “the antidote to fragile strands,” I hopped off the plane at LAX and practically threw my hair into the shampoo bowl.

The collection promises to act as “preventative care” for your hair— like preventative Botox, or those natural pills you take before drinking to prevent a hangover. “Hair is susceptible to becoming fragile every time it is brushed, styled, exposed to hot tools, chemical processing (which can include color), and even from friction caused by fabrics like your pillow,” says Oribe Product Development Manager Gabriella Raccuia. “These external factors stretch and stress hair which can weaken the outer cuticle and inner cortex, leading to a loss of strength and elasticity, and eventually cause breakage.” To prevent future damage, the Hair Alchemy collection uses key natural ingredients to keep your hair feeling as strong as the gusts of frigid winds in a NYC winter.

Faith Xue

What Is The Oribe Hair Alchemy Collection?

Oribe’s Hair Alchemy Collection consists of three products: Hair Alchemy Resilience Shampoo, Hair Alchemy Resilience Conditioner, and Hair Alchemy Fortifying Treatment Serum. The products, which come housed in Oribe’s signature sleek packaging and an eye-catching pale yellow hue, were developed over the course of two years that included many rounds of formulation and rigorous testing. Raccuia recommends using all three products together for the maximum strengthening effect, but you can also use them separately depending on your hair concerns— for example, the Hair Alchemy Fortifying Treatment Serum can be applied to damp hair as a first step before any prep and styling products, to dry hair to tame flyaways, or as strengthening overnight treatment before bed. All of the products are infused with Oribe’s signature scent — that blend of Italian bergamot, white peach, and sandalwood that instantly makes you smell rich.

How Does It Work?

The product line focuses on a few natural ingredients in its “curative blend” to add strength and resilience to sad, broken hair. First up is chia seed. “Ancient civilizations believed the chia seed has supernatural powers as they increased strength and endurance when consumed,” says Raccuia. Another star ingredient is the bio-fermented bamboo leaf, which Raccuia says has a stronger structure than steel. “In Hair Alchemy, chia seed creates a protective scaffolding on hair, reinforcing cuticle strength and structure to prevent breakage, while bio-fermented bamboo leaf creates a veil over each strand to increase slip and protect hair from cuticle abrasion caused by friction,” says Raccuia. There’s also a plant-based protein extracted from potatoes that “penetrates the hair’s cortex to build strength from within” and everyone’s favorite humectant, hyaluronic acid, to attract moisture and fill in the cracks of dry, porous hair; it’s also great for adding moisture to a dry scalp.

Faith Xue

My Review Of The Oribe Hair Alchemy Collection

As with all Oribe products, the Hair Alchemy Collection is a complete sensorial experience from the first squeeze of the shampoo bottle to the last application of the hair serum. The shampoo lathers into a rich foam (it uses mild coconut-based surfactants to cleanse instead of harsh sulfates) and the conditioner is rich and creamy, but my favorite part of using Oribe products is, of course, its signature scent. Some people might want a fragrance-free shower experience — not me. I want my shower to smell like a fancy spa, to be enveloped in heady fumes that transport me to a blissed-out state of mind — I can always count on Oribe to do just that.

When your hair is thick, double-processed, and bleached like mine, the words “sleek” and “soft” are not in your repertoire. But after using the Hair Alchemy collection, my hair felt bouncy and, dare I say, healthy for the first time in a long time. I’ve been using the three-step collection again at home, and swear it’s left my hair feeling stronger than before. It’s hard to tell if it’s actually strengthening my hair, but I feel like I’m experiencing less fallout — my hair also just feels softer and smoother.

For what it’s worth, Oribe did a study of 106 women in a consumer panel and after one use, 81% of users felt their hair was more fortified; after one week, 87% felt their hair was more resilient. (To note, the key word is “felt”— this is based on their own perception, not from analyzing their hair follicles. But still — in some ways, isn’t how you feel about your hair important enough?) Though I’ll be using all of the products now moving forward, I’m especially into the Hair Alchemy Fortifying Treatment Serum for its versatility. I apply it through my damp strands after showering and do a low braid so that my hair air-dries into waves, but I’ve also loved using it on dry hair as well. I usually only wash my hair once or twice a week, and in between those times, my hair can get rough-feeling, like straw. This serum adds an instant silkiness to my hair whenever I apply a dollop, even on dry hair. It’s always within arms reach — I’m staring at it right now as I type.

How Is It Different From The Gold Lust Collection?

For any Oribe devotees reading this, you may be wondering how the Hair Alchemy line differs from Oribe’s iconic Gold Lust line, which is also created for dry, damaged hair. Raccuia explains that the Hair Alchemy Collection was created to protect and strengthen weak, damaged hair by preventing breakage, while the Gold Lust Collection actually reverses existing damage by sealing in moisture and “restoring the quality, texture and appearance of hair to a more healthier, youthful state.” So, it really depends on your end goal — if you’re looking to strengthen your hair, the Hair Alchemy line is for you; if you’re mostly focused on moisture and reversing damage, Gold Lust is your best option.

Final takeaway: if you have dry, weak, or damaged and hair that breaks off easily and needs help, Oribe’s New Hair Alchemy Collection is the luxurious, strengthening line you’ve been waiting for.

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