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It’s never been a better time to shop for hair products as a black person with kinky, curly, or coily hair. Between the wealth of affordable beauty supply and drugstore options, and the comparably-priced or slightly more expensive Instagram-friendly brands (many of which are owned by black women), there is no shortage of choices for folks with access to a good drugstore or the internet when it comes to highly-textured hair.
As a beauty editor, I’ve tried just about every curl pudding, gel, cowash, leave-in, and oil from a wide range of brands. But I always noticed when it came to luxury brands, there were options I could use for cleansing and conditioning my hair, but for the most part, it stopped there. For styling, I was pretty much on my own, as the wave sprays and curl-enhancing creams they offer typically didn’t do anything for my curly, Afro-textured hair. Even when I was told, “This works for all curl types” or “Yes, this can work on a your texture”, when I actually went to try the products, I couldn’t help but wonder if they even so much as bothered to test it on anyone with hair similar to mine.
It’s incredibly frustrating, especially in a culture that obviously admires and emulates the aesthetic styling choices of black women — as long as said aesthetics are presented on anyone but black women. Plus, black women have money to spend on beauty products — in fact, we outspend everyone else in the beauty market, so it is still curious to me why more luxury brands haven’t rolled out collections to perfect your wash-and-gos, twist-outs, or locs. (OK, maybe it’s not that much of a mystery: At this point, given the dearth of options high-end brands typically have for Afro-textured hair, it’s just bad business as usual.) It sometimes feels as if many luxury hair-care brands are simply choosing not to address the hair needs of black women with natural hair.
But the folks at Oribe are making a change: The luxury hair-care brand is rolling out its latest, a collection for highly-textured, type-4 hair, tapping pro stylist and textured hair educator Stacey Ciceron to develop it. The four-piece range is an extension of the brand’s Moisture & Control collection and includes a Deep Treatment Masque ($63), a Priming Lotion Leave-In ($38), a Curl Gelée ($44), and a Styling Butter Curl Enhancing Crème ($46), all with the signature Oribe scent.
“The [natural hair] community had been trying to figure out natural hair on its own, and people had to search high and low for things to meet their needs,” Ciceron said in a press release. “Now there are more options, but people want to have an elevated experience. Because this market is not saturated with options, we want to be one of the first to offer this upgrade. It’s time for everyone to be #oribeobsessed.”
The minute news of the release hit my inbox, I was pumped, and not just because the brand has fabulous products. Oribe has some of the best packaging in the game, and as someone who has not one but two vanity trays in their room, the idea of having one of those beautiful bottles — full of product I could actually use — to put on display was irresistible. I knew my shelfie game was about to level up, but my hair game? Well, I’d have to try the products to determine that.