fekkai haircare

Frederic Fekkai is one of the most iconic names in hair. His New York City salon inside Bergdorf Goodman came to define the luxury salon experience in the early 90’s, Fekkai becoming one of the most sought after stylists in the world.

I was amazed to learn that Frederic reacquired his namesake haircare brand from Proctor + Gamble in 2018, choosing to reformulate everything using only the cleanest, most sustainable formulas in the world.

Over the last ten years, we’ve seen the clean beauty space absolutely explode. — and some of the most exciting moments along the way are when iconic beauty leaders like Fekkai or Bobbi Brown join the ’cause’ and launch clean product lines!

I’ve now tried a range of products from the new Fekkai collection and they are everything a clean beauty devotee could dream of — safe, clean, and sustainably packaged with incredible performance.

Here’s Frederik in his own words on clean beauty, 90’s hair and those luxe years inside Bergdorf’s…

You reacquired your brand to take the products clean. What inspired you? I felt compelled to take action. As a father of young children looking toward the next generation, I knew there had to be changes I could make within my brand to hopefully spur change from others. It became my mission to give consumers the most sustainable products with the cleanest formulas.

I’ve always been happiest in nature, whether climbing, sailing, or swimming. The environment is a constant inspiration for me. It’s been disheartening to consistently hear about the beauty industry’s negative environmental impact.

There is so much thought that goes into our product development. We work with cutting-edge clean science labs and opt for eco-certified and Qualitree ingredients whenever possible. We were also the first brand to walk away from virgin plastic in 2019.

Top 3 haircare ingredients to avoid: Sulfates, Parabens, and Silicones!

What are some of your favorite or most glamorous memories from the early 90’s in NYC? Some of my favorite memories include campaign photoshoots with Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. These shoots were full of energy, creativity and we worked with iconic photographers.

Styling hair for the Oscars and Golden Globes award shows were also incredibly special. I worked with stars like Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Selma Hayek, Elizabeth Taylor, Anna Paquin, and Jennifer Lopez. I would work on two to three celebrities at a time, sometimes finishing their hair in the limos on our way to the event. The rush of it all was exhilarating.

frederic fekkai

Can you share an example of a formula change or an ingredient you wanted to omit? It was essential to me that our products were clean, cruelty-free, vegan, and sustainable. So, we took a closer look at our products and ensured all pre-existing and new formulas were free of silicones, sulfates, phthalates, and parabens.

We now use naturally-derived ingredients and cutting-edge clean science innovations for high performance and efficacy. For example, instead of sulfates which strip hair of moisture—creating dry/frizzy hair that can cause irritation—we use a natural coconut-derived surfactant that gently cleanses without stripping your hair. We also use jojoba- and olive-derived silicone that provides slip and adds shine to strands, as alternatives that won’t cause any buildup or weaken the strands in the way non-soluble silicones do.

90’s beauty trends you loved most? I love how hair in the 90s looks glamorously groomed but effortless. It was natural and sexy. I love deconstructed updos with pieces that fall to the side and frame your face, a wispy bun, or a side-swept low knot bun. It’s why I love seeing these come back in favor now.

Can you tell us about a favorite beauty prep moment that was really special? This had to have been when I styled hair for the first lady, Hillary Clinton. I changed her signature bob that she normally styled with a hairband and updated it to something more dynamic and modern. I gave her a shorter cut with layers that felt fresh and wanted it to feel powerful and still sophisticated enough that could take her to the office during the day and her events at night.

What product are you most proud of in the collection? I am proud of our whole Fekkai collection. If I must pick one, I’d have to say choose our Brilliant Gloss collection. (Editor’s note: also a TCM team favorite!) It’s a true winner. It gives hair a gloss-like sheen like no other and protects against dehydration with various antioxidants and natural ingredients like French cold-pressed organic Olive Oil.

I love to look at natural ingredients when I can, but always the best version of it—organic, pure. If you see how olives grow in the South of France, they stay moisturized and juicy in the sun. Olive oil can do beautiful things for the hair and that’s why I wanted to include it in this formula.

Star product in your line that could convert a skeptic: Our Clean Stylers Straight Balm. It really works like magic. Apply it on damp hair before blow drying to see the difference. We powered it with clean ingredients that help repair hair to be smooth, shiny, and frizz-free.fekkai haircare review

Your new aerosol dry shampoo launch is pretty major for clean beauty lovers. Can you talk to us about that? When I bought back my company in 2018, one of my key priorities was to develop an earth-friendly way to use aerosol found in dry shampoo and hairsprays, knowing its impact on our environment. During my search, I met with the team at Honeywell, a leader in research and development for sustainability, and they introduced us to a Solstice® Propellant, a planet-positive aerosol solution. I was thrilled and using this technology will make all the difference.

We are one of the first brands to integrate it fully into our products. Clean Stylers Sheer Dry Shampoo is invisible, talc-free, and extends any blowout without an ashy cast or buildup on the scalp. It’s part of our Green Aerosols Collection, including two hairsprays: Clean Stylers Flexible Hold Hairspray and Clean Stylers Firm Hold Hairspray.

Your personal take on wellness and clean living in a nutshell: To me, wellness is all about balance, and clean living falls within this.

It’s crucial we look after ourselves. We have 24 hours in a day, and I try to maximize these as much as possible. I aim for eight hours of sleep, eight hours of hard work, and eight hours of family fun time. I’m deeply passionate about sustainability and part of my wellness routine includes making conscious changes at home like shopping for local produce at the farmers’ market and using eco-friendly packaging.

What are you most excited to see happen in the clean beauty space now? Customers are beginning to demand companies to look at their environmental impact, and I’m excited to see innovation come at a faster pace. Producing packaging that’s sustainable, and sourcing eco-friendly ingredients is more expensive, but I believe the more brands begin to integrate this, the quicker this will replace older ways of doing things which in turn would offset production costs.

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