When we laid eyes on the brilliant floral pattern of amika, it was love at first sight. Here was a hair care line that understood our desire for aesthetics, fragrance, and products that work like a dream. The Brooklyn, New York based brand has grown like wildfire and it’s no wonder, their innovative and effective products are as beautiful to look at as they are to use. When we learned they were updating their packaging, we knew we needed to learn more.
Founded in 2007, the brand’s identity is firmly rooted in the idea of idiosyncratic, unperfected style. From their packaging and branding to their professional attitudes, the team at amika exemplifies a positivity and inclusivity that is often absent in the world of beauty. The name itself means “friend” or “girlfriend” in several languages, and the base of playful, friendly, teamwork has been a major influence on all of their designs. The new designs pay a greater tribute to this philosophy. Creative Director, Vita Raykham, pulled inspiration for many of the redesigns on the idea of a baton, changing the shape of many ions the products to have a slimmer, cylindrical profile that’s easy to pass on to friends.
Raykham is responsible for the entire redesign, which also served to help color-code the different lines for easy recognition. They’ve been separated into nine collections by their key benefit: Blonde, Color, Curl, Hold, Repair, Smoothing, Texture, Volume, Signature. “As a brand, experimentation is in our DNA. amika is always evolving, and we allow it to go where it wants,” explained Raykhman in a press release. “There were many practical reasons to relaunch the packaging. Aside from the color coding to differentiate our products, adding a variety of palettes and treatments to our signature pattern works to enrich the aesthetic of the brand.”
Long-time fans will recognize that the brand’s signature curly-haired skull graphic has been hidden in the designs of packaging (an idea inspired by hidden picture games from cereal boxes). Chelsea Riggs, amika’s Brand President, added, “amika’s signature pattern has been pivotal to the success and differentiation of the brand. It was designed—and has succeeded—to launch an emotional connection with our audience, and has made amika an instantly recognizable, and an impossible-to-ignore, player in the industry. However, as the line continues to grow, we looked to design a system which would be easier to differentiate within the line. Realizing the impact our pattern has had on the brand, we sought to strengthen its appeal and positioning.”
We were relieved to learn that, while the packaging has changed, the product formulas have not. All of amika’s products are formulated with sea buckthorn berry, a small orange fruit that prospers in some of the harshest conditions on earth. The berry is full of antioxidants, omegas 3, 6, 7, and 9 as well as being very high in vitamin C. This ingredient is part of what’s made their line such a success, almost everyone who uses any of amika’s products reports a dramatic improvement in their hair’s health.
To share our love for the brand, we gave tester products to three women with drastically different hair types and needs to show just how amazing this line is.
Hair profile: I have fairly short, fine hair that can get very oily, but if I wash every day my scalp gets too dry. I rarely do any heat styling, but I do like to use products that enhance the bit of wave I have. In the past, I’ve had a hard time finding products that don’t weigh my hair down.
Products Sampled: Normcore shampoo and conditioner, Haute Mess Texture Gloss, and Silken Up Dry Conditioner.
Thoughts: The first thing I noticed after trying the shampoo and conditioner was that my hair immediately felt very clean, but also hydrated, and not the least bit weighed down. For someone with an indecisive scalp, this was really nice. My hair responded really well to the line, by day three it still wasn’t too oily or too dry, but I was impatient and wanted to try the dry conditioner. Usually, my ends get very dry, but adding a hydrating product weighs them down, silken up is nothing like that, it made my hair feel immediately softer and it looked fresh. The last item I tried, and by far my favorite, was the Haute Mess Texture Gloss. I really like the wavy “beach” looks but almost every product I’ve tried leaves my hair crunchy, greasy, or just doesn’t work. This was completely different, not only was my hair fluffy, soft and voluminous, but I finally got the waves I’ve always wanted. I highly recommend all four of these to anyone with thinner hair.
Hair Profile: My hair is about a 3C curl and has a tendency to be very dry, I have some damage I’m trying to grow out, but can’t bear to cut off just yet. I’ve used a ton of products but I’m picky about scents.
Products Sampled: The Kure Repair Conditioner and Intense Repair Mask, the Wizard Detangling Primer, Glass Action Universal Elixir.
Thoughts: I was a little concerned at first because the scent on these came off as a little strong, but I’ve gotten so many compliments and it’s really grown on me. I do appreciate that everything they make has the same scent. One thing I hate is when the products I want to use all have drastically different fragrances. This seems way more cohesive. I started by trying the Universal Elixir and Detangling Primer products, of the two I loved the elixir the most. Don’t get me wrong, the detangling primer is lovely, but since I’m not using heat very often, it doesn’t fit into my routine as well. The Universal Elixir on the other hand, has really helped with humidity and frizz, I also like to keep it in my purse for a quick scent boost if I run into someone cute.
For me the real winners were the conditioner and mask. I’ve already ordered backups of both for when I run out of the ones I got to test. The Intense Repair Mask is deeply hydrating, and I noticed a huge change in how much moisture my hair retained after I used it. I’ve also had a lot less breakage since starting using it weekly. The repair conditioner is really cool too. I really liked the texture; it felt almost more like a gel than your usual conditioner and it seemed to apply better. Both have made a huge difference in my hair health, I’ll definitely be trying more items from this line in the future.
Hair Profile: Although I know I should cut back on my heat usage, I’m a bit of an addict. My hair definitely has some heat damage, although I think I’ve kept it mostly at bay. Living in the South, my biggest concerns are getting my hair big and keeping it safe from humidity.
Products Sampled: Soul Food Nourishing Mask, Blockade Heat Defense Serum, Brooklyn Bombshell Blowout Spray, the Shield Anti-humidity Spray, Headstrong Intense Hold Hairspray.
Thoughts: Funny enough, I’d been trying to pick up the Soul Food mask for a while but it was sold out near me, so I was super excited to try that. I have to say it lived up to the hype. After my first use, my hair felt and looked a lot softer, shinier, and thicker. It also was easier to style. I tried both the Heat Defense Serum and the Brooklyn Bombshell. I preferred using them separately but found them both to be very effective. I liked the blowout spray more, but If I curled my hair more, I definitely would use the other. Headstrong is the best hairspray I’ve ever used, enough said. Lastly, the shield, this is my new holy grail, for real. Amazing. I’ve never used a more effective anti-humidity product. I would sell my soul for this stuff.