People always ask what I do to my hair, staring me down with extreme focus as if they’re getting ready to commit 20 products and a multi-step regimen to memory. I, on the other hand, have a history of providing the same unhelpful answer every time. “Nothing.” This is true: Aside from washing it every other day, I just let it air-dry and then roll out of bed in the morning and go. During New York winters, I used my blow-dryer to keep warm on the many nights when my building’s heat and hot water simultaneously went out—that high-end appliance seldom went anywhere near my actual head. I once owned a drugstore hair brush for about three days before I lost patience and also lost the brush in question.
This all worked out perfectly fine until I moved to Germany and my hair care routine, like many other things in my life, suddenly changed. Berlin has extremely hard water, meaning that what comes out of the showerhead has a high mineral content and leaves my hair much drier and more tangled than I’m used to. While my bleached and color-treated hair was doing just fine stateside (my colorist, Bumble and bumble salon’s Diaz, took me from black to fire-engine red to the richest brunette shade without ever damaging a single strand), it started feeling a little parched a mere week after I settled into my new flat.
I had already managed to find a sulfate-free shampoo. After hours spent Google Translating labels and feeling lied to by all the brands that promised color-safe on the front and then revealed their sulfate-carrying contents on the back, I made a detour to the baby aisle and picked up a bottle of Bübchen Kinder Shampoo. While the formula didn’t strip my color, it didn’t exactly hydrate either. And that was proving to be a bigger issue than I had expected—because I loathe conditioner.
There are a few reasons why my shower routine usually doesn’t include conditioner. It’s tough to find a formula without silicones or dimethicone, which cause acne around my hairline and on my back. I also dislike the slick, residue-coated feeling my hair has after conditioning, as if I could rinse and rinse and still never quite get it out. And while most formulas I’d tried in the past did make my hair feel a little smoother, they also seemed to weigh down my natural waves. As for hair masks, forget it; I am both notoriously lazy and notoriously impatient when it comes to my beauty routine, and the likelihood that I will stand around for 20 minutes waiting for a deep treatment to work its magic on a weekly basis is rock-bottom low.
Salvation came into my life in the form of an unexpected invite: an afternoon at Berlin’s ridiculously swanky Soho House, where Rahua by Amazon Beauty founder Fabian Lliguin was presenting his new Legendary Amazon Oil. As he proffered the golden bottle, a ray of sunlight descended from the heavens and illuminated its contents, and within the first five minutes we were all hooked.
As we passed the bottle and around and tested it, we all murmured in surprise at how light the formula was and how quickly it seemed to vanish into nothing, leaving only shine and hydration behind. This, Lliguin says, is because he deliberately designed the mixture to leave out any heavier particles, meaning it gets deep down to repair and strengthen your hair from the inside out. “Pure oils are wonderful for hair and skin and naturally contain blocks of fat and particles of heavy waxes,” he says. “Hair oil is meant for replenishing oils that are lost due to many factors such as coloring and heat.”
The result, which he adds can be used on all hair types, is a combination of rahua, sacha inchi, and morete oils. “Sacha inchi is also known as the Inca peanut; the seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and E, wonderful antioxidants,” he says. “It locks in moisture and has wonderful soothing benefits.” Morete oil is rich in vitamins A and E as well, and also contains a dose of vitamin C.
The trick is applying the treatment to damp hair, like a conditioner, so it gets through your hair more evenly—making sure to focus it on the lower part of your hair, which tends to be drier. If your hair still needs more moisture, you can always add more oil on after it dries, says Lliguin.
Ever since I left Soho House clutching my prized new possession, the $42 bottle hasn’t left its place of honor (right next to my favorite lotion) at my desk. After showering, I rake it through my hair with my fingers, concentrating on the ends as advised. Occasionally, for extra gloss, I rub a few drops between my palms and smooth them over dry hair. While Lliguin adds that conditioners have the added benefit of detangling, which I won’t get from oils, I find that the formula does a good enough job of injecting hydration back into my hair where it sort of just…detangles itself. Plus, it smells like a balmy vacation and restores equilibrium to my minimal-effort world—I really couldn’t ask for more.
Rahua Legendary Amazon Oil, $42, spacenk.com
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