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Oribe’s hair experts on putting an end to split ends and breakages

Oribe’s three-product Hair Alchemy collection — consisting of a Resilience Shampoo, Resilience Conditioner and Fortifying Treatment Serum — is engineered to end split ends: once and for all.

Sure, everyone suffers from a couple of split ends and has the occasional bout of dandruff, but there are more pressing hair issues that deserve more attention than you’re giving it. We’re talking about weak hair and hair breakage.

Like many things in life, your hair breaks and it could be due to plenty of factors. We’re talking the whole spectrum, from leaving hair bleach in a little too long and curling your hair with a hot iron without heat protection, to simply tying your ponytail a little too tight.

Weak hair can also be caused by poor diet or shoddy hair washing techniques — did we also mention the stress and anxiety of dealing with a pandemic? All these issues can leave your hair looking dull, dry, frizzy and sparse — a look that’s surely far from sexy.

For this, Oribe has come up with Hair Alchemy, a three-step system that aims to introduce resilience back to even the weakest and most brittle of hair. The collection by the storied haircare brand comprises a shampoo, conditioner and treatment serum, each of which aim to repair damaged hair and prevent the dreaded breakage before it starts. 

For the lowdown on weak and brittle hair, we asked the experts at Oribe — more specifically, Michele Burgess, Oribe Executive Director of Product Development and Christian Ceja-Compin, Oribe Global Educator — on how Hair Alchemy really works, how the pandemic has exacerbated these hair issues, and what else can be done to ensure you have strong, healthy hair for the rest of your lives. 

Oribe’s hair experts on how to deal with weak hair and finally stop hair breakage:

How did the idea of creating the Hair Alchemy collection come about?

Michele Burgess: The Hair Alchemy Collection was created in response to our consumers’ and salon clients’ needs. Having weak, brittle and breakage-prone hair are common concerns and breakage prevention is becoming a bigger category in hair care as consumers become increasingly savvier about the connection between hair care and skin care.

Hair doesn’t regenerate like skin does, making preventative care necessary to keep strands strong and resilient. With those concerns in mind, the collection was formulated to help hair strengthen from the inside out, protect fragile strands from external stressors and prevent breakage, encouraging length over time. 

Who did you create Hair Alchemy for?

MB: Our Hair Alchemy Collection was designed for anyone that struggles with weak, brittle, fragile and breakage-prone hair, whether it’s inherent or caused by external factors. The formulas take a preventative approach while addressing each layer of the hair, fortifying the inner cortex while protecting the outer cuticle layer to keep strands strong and resilient.

What are the biggest causes of weak and brittle hair?

MB: Weak hair is caused by a broad range of factors including but not limited to, genetics, age, stress, hormones, diet, environmental factors, chemical processing, styling, hot tools and one’s hair care regimen.

While there are some factors that are out of our control, like genetics and age, there are still many things one can do to keep hair strong and healthy. The key is taking preventative measures, like using the three products in the Oribe Hair Alchemy Collection, to make hair more resilient and less prone to damage and breakage.

Oribe has been known to use top notch ingredients across its haircare portfolio. What ingredients went into this collection and why did you choose them?

MB: The Hair Alchemy Collection has a number of different key ingredients that work together to strengthen hair and prevent breakage. Borrowing from nature’s apothecary and blending ancient superfoods and phyto-technology to renew strands, the nourishing formulas contain our Curative Blend of chia seed (named for the Mayan word for strength), bio-fermented bamboo leaf and plant-based protein, along with a Multi-Action Hyaluronic Acid Complex.

Chia seed was included in the blend as it creates a protective scaffolding on hair, reinforcing cuticle strength and structure to prevent breakage. The bio-fermented bamboo leaf was chosen for its ability to create a veil over each strand to increase slip and protect hair from cuticle abrasion caused by friction.

Bamboo is also a highly sustainable ingredient and is known to have a stronger structure than steel. The last ingredient in the Curative Blend, plant-based protein, penetrates the hair’s cortex to build strength from within, while also forming a protective scaffolding around strands. Lastly, the low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid in the formulas provides a surge of hydration and moisture protection to optimise elasticity and resiliency.

Together, these ingredients transform weak, brittle hair into strong, resilient locks by improving tensile strength (the amount of stress and stretch that can be applied to hair before it breaks) and increasing elasticity while reducing hair fall caused by breakage, allowing hair to grow longer.

What technology also went into creating this series?

MB: There are so many nuances that go into development such as delivering the key benefit, the formula aesthetics, performance in the hair, the fragrance, delivering on claims, just to name a few. Product development is both a science and an art. 

An important part of formula development is the technology story, in the case of Hair Alchemy, it’s the Curative Blend. To choose our key ingredients, we look to target a specific powerhouse of raw materials that complement each other for a synergistic effect. 

To test the formulas, we made sure to try them on all hair types prone to breakage. We also conducted consumer panel testing as well as clinical testing. It took over two years of development and testing to perfect the three Hair Alchemy formulas.

Have you noticed a change in haircare habits during and after the pandemic? 

Christian Ceja-Compin: Yes, during the pandemic many people experienced their hair feeling healthier than normal even without regular visits to the salon. This is because they were doing a lot less to their hair — less washing, less colouring, less heat styling — resulting in healthier strands. They were also treating themselves to a lot more at-home treatments which helped maintain the hair’s health throughout the pandemic.

After the pandemic, I’m finding that 30% of my clients are noticing more breakage and shedding and looking for ways to combat those issues. The Hair Alchemy Collection is perfect for those clients because the products prevent additional breakage and provide support to the hair to help it become stronger and more elastic.

What are three other tips that people can follow at home, besides using Hair Alchemy, to prevent weak hair or hair breakage?


  1. The biggest thing is to limit the amount of hot tools that touch your hair. If you must style with heat, make sure to apply a product that includes heat protection first, like the Hair Alchemy Fortifying Treatment Serum.
  2. When hair is wet or damp after washing, use either a microfiber towel or t-shirt to dry it. These items cause a lot less friction compared to a normal towel, which in turn can reduce hair breakage.
  3. Try to give yourself a scalp massage often using your fingertips in small circular motions to help increase blood flow to the follicles. Also, this is important to keep in mind when cleansing the hair: make sure you are massaging the shampoo into the scalp rather than scrubbing to limit friction and breakage.

Shop Oribe’s Hair Alchemy Collection at JOYCE Beauty in Hong Kong here

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Oribe’s hair experts on putting an end to split ends and breakages

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