Along with clearing our IRL social calendars, shelter-in-place orders have also relieved our need to keep up appearances. Quarantining also brings a whole new meaning to the concept of "returning to our roots" — and as many of us are embarking on soul-searching and self-care journeys (hello, healthier hair and skin!), there's a new cruelty-free haircare brand allowing us to succeed in both.
Enter: Authentic Beauty Concept, a high-performance vegan haircare line that debuted in the U.S. Wednesday after launching in Europe last summer. Aiming to enhance the hair through science-meets-nature formulas, the brand offers a complete range of cleansing, healing, and styling products ($10 to $65), including cleansers, conditioners, masks, mousse, lotion, blow dry spray, dry shampoo, and more.
Star-beloved L.A. hairstylist and Mare Salon co-founder Mara Roszak (whose clientele includes Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Emma Stone, Olivia Wilde, and Ana de Armas) is already a fan of the new-to-the-U.S. brand. During a Zoom-powered media preview earlier this week, Roszak told us that she had the opportunity to test the goods on her A-list clients "before we were all on lockdown. One of my last jobs was with Cara Delevigne; I got play with using the mousse and the dry shampoo. And they were awesome."
Exclusively shoppable now on Ulta, the brand's debut lineup includes three collections, each comprised of shampoo, conditioner, and a mask to create a complete haircare routine for addressing issues like dryness, dullness, and other concerns. Every formula is also approved by the Vegan Society and is free of mineral oil, microplastics, parabens, silicone, and artificial colors.
"We're a brand that balances efficacy with clean," explains VP of marketing Matt Lowenthal. Authentic Beauty Concept's parent company, Germany-based Henkel (which also owns Dial, All, and Schwarzkopf) provided the startup-like label with the best R&D resources to "strike that balance with what's actually important. We weren't willing to sacrifice on the performance in that regard."
The Hydrate line was designed for dry and curly hair and uses mango and basil extracts to infuse moisture back into strands. Color-treated hair will get a vibrant makeover with the Glow line, which contains cinnamon, date, and guar bean extracts that help re-energize and firm the hair. (Roszak compared the fragrance to "the local bakery; [it has] a really warm and delicious scent.")
For damaged hair in need of repair, the Replenish line offers nourishment and moisture by infusing the mane with maple and pecan nut extracts. "[It's] what I've been using every day."
Rounding out the offerings are styling products such as dry shampoo, mousse, blow-dry primer, and shaping cream ($25 each). Key ingredients include coconut and jojoba oils and biodegradable rice starch, giving the formulas a lightweight feel without feeling "really crunchy or heavy on the hair," says Roszak.
While there aren't any immediate plans to launch tools such as straighteners and blowdryers, Lowenthal says that the company is "focused more on stylist accessories [such as] bowls, brushes, towels — things to help them with their services. We're more focused on products."
"The [Glow] mask is what I've been using daily as a conditioner," Roszak explains. "I've been dancing to Ryan Huffington on Instagram Live with the mask on!"
"I really need to lean on the performance. [If my client is] going out to a red carpet thing, is it going to hold? Some [mousses] can feel really crunchy heavy on the hair, [but] this one is so light beautiful and gives a little bit of a base hold. I use mousse 95% of the time before I style hair. You don't necessarily see or feel it, but it really helps hold the shape."
"I sprayed [the blow-dry primer] all over… It just gave my hair a really lightweight fluff, really soft to the touch. It gave a little bit of a natural volume. I feel like my hair [dried] really quick."