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London-based celebrity hairstylist Adam Reed debuted his brand, Arkive, across the pond in February. It’s already Boots’ No. 3 brand in the professional hair-care category. This week, it launches stateside, where it will be sold direct-to-consumer, as well as at Bloomingdale’s via Space NK.
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Reed has worked in the hair-care industry for 35 years, and his career has included work for celebrity clients such as Reese Witherspoon, Chloe Sevigny and Harry Styles, as well as countless runway shows like Zac Posen and Charlotte Olympia. In addition, he’s an editorial ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel and a global ambassador for Ghd Hair. Using his expertise and experience, Reed took great care to develop Arkive’s colors, formulas and scents. And he worked with a U.K.-based incubator, Matrix, to finance the brand and bring it to life.
It was not just hair care, but instead the combined notion of hair care as “head care,” as a form of taking care of one’s mental health, that first inspired Reed to create a product collection.
“I’ve suffered quite badly throughout my life with my mental health. I had a bit of an episode in the first lockdown, and my son encouraged me to wash my hair one day. It was a game changer for me,” Reed said. “Washing your hair gives you that amazing feeling, and that’s what Arkive and head care is all about.”
He added, “Of course, head care is also about the practical things that come with that: the products, the fragrance, the touch.”
The result is a colorful collection of 10 products, which range in price from $15-$22. It was intentionally created for “you, yours and theirs,” referring to the universality of the products’ intended user base: people of any gender or identity. “It’s genderful,” Reed said, using a neologism invoked by Boy Smells to speak to its approach to gender and fragrance. An accessible price point was paramount for Reed, who views the brand as a tool people can use to “create rituals out of washing their hair, and switch a mundane chore into a rewarding self-care treat.”
Though Reed was excited about every aspect of creating the brand, he is particularly passionate about the collection’s fragrance, noting that the range’s four key scents will be released as eau de parfums next year. One, “No One Elsie,” was inspired by his grandmother, Elsie. It features notes of things she grew in her garden, including rhubarb and tomato.
Ultimately, the brand’s overarching mission has to do with making people feel good. “[When] my head wasn’t in the right place, none of the self-care worked. But when I could get up and my hair was clean and my body was clean — I do feel like that was an element of armor.”
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