Before everyone turned their personal identity into a branded stream of content (thank you, social media), there were only a handful of well-known and revered namesake brands in the haircare space, and Fekkai was one of them. I still remember the first time I purchased a Fekkai product. It was the infamous Brilliant Glossing Creme that I splurged on at a department store in college, and immediately I felt so mature and grown-up by swapping my Herbal Essences tendencies for such a luxurious item. And once I really saw how one product could make a difference in my hair type and experienced the boost of confidence it provided me, I was hooked.
Frederic Fekkai was a hair icon of the ’90s, responsible for the tresses of supermodels and celebrities such as Claudia Schiffer, Kim Basinger, and Renee Zellweger. When Bergdorf Goodman approached him in the early ’90s and asked him to create a luxury salon in the store, he wound up conceptualizing an experience of beauty hospitality that has since become a standard. The Provence-born, Paris-trained stylist has since continued to revolutionize the industry’s standards with his namesake brand’s high-performance products. The company was sold in 2008, but when Fekkai felt the need to buy it back in 2018, he didn’t do so without making some seriously impactful changes to his line.
FOUNDED: Frédéric Fekkai in 1995
BASED IN: New York City
BEST KNOWN FOR: Salon-performance products that prioritize clean formulations and sustainable environmental impact
MOST POPULAR PRODUCT: Brilliant Gloss Multi-Tasker Perfecting Creme, Shea Butter Intense Mask
FUN FACT: Fekkai quit law school to pursue a career in hairdressing and “never looked back.”
OTHER BRANDS YOU’LL LOVE: Aveda, Davines
“As my way of life has changed in the past few years for a better, cleaner, sustainable environment at home,” Fekkai tells Byrdie, “when I got the opportunity to buy Fekkai back, I was very excited to re-create formulas that would use safe, nontoxic ingredients, while still being performant.” But it wasn’t just the formulations that got a major upgrade. “Of course, I wanted to innovate the packaging and make sustainability an important pillar of the brand,” he tells us, “so our bottles are made out of 95% recycled plastic.” Without compromising the performance or efficiency of the products he first set out to create, Fekkai has managed to adapt and refine the company’s focus for a more lasting, sustainable future. Few of the other original namesake brands from his era have managed to remain as relevant and dare we say, revolutionary, which is why we’re confident that what Fekkai has created is nothing short of a true and lasting legacy (and we have the A-list quality tresses to prove it).
Check out a list of our must-try Fekkai products below.
Brilliant Gloss Multi-Tasker Perfecting Creme
The Brilliant Gloss Multi-Tasker Perfecting Creme has always been one of Fekkai’s cult-favorite products. This is the product that got me hooked, and Team Byrdie rates this the best anti-frizz product for any hair type. No matter your length, texture, or gender, this creme was made to give dry, frizz-prone strands some vibrancy and shine without any sticky, heavy residue. Organic cold-pressed French olive oil is the star ingredient responsible for giving strands that extra moisture while prickly pear extract helps to protect the hair shaft’s moisture barrier. Added plant-derived extracts help give extra protection to colored strands and prevent discoloration and moisture loss. Use this creme on wet or dry hair and let it work its magic.
Fekkai’s environmental conscious has given this formula a most impressive update with its new Environmental Protection Complex, which includes “pro-vitamin B5 for heat protection, specialty rice protein for solar protection, and edelweiss flower extract for anti-pollution, environmental protection.” As if all of that isn’t enough to reel you in, the creme’s woodsy, floral scent with notes of green tea are sure to leave you wanting more.
Shea Butter Intense Mask
Let’s face it, we all need a reliable hair mask in our repertoire. The good news is, Fekkai’s Shea Butter Mask has got you covered. Its unique blend of shea butter and monoi oil works to eliminate frizz and tangles, reduce split ends, and deliver a potent amount of moisture. Everyone’s hair, whether it be damaged from color or chemical treatment, or daily environmental stressors can benefit from a formula like this. Phospholipids work to restore any damage in the hair, while murumuru seed butter serves as “a rich source of oleic, linoleic, and lauric acid,” which “deeply penetrates each strand to improve strength and flexibility.” Plus, it has a deliciously musky, toffee-based scent that’s balanced out by hints of coconut, gardenia, and citrus. (Confession: The smell of this conditioner makes my mouth water.)
Like the rest of Fekkai’s products, this formula also includes his new Environmental Protection Complex, is made of 100% recyclable packaging and is a cruelty-free blend free of sulfates, silicones, parabens, and phthalates.
Full-Blown Volume Shampoo Weightless Amplifier
We’ve all been told at some point or another to look out for sulfate-free shampoos. Those soapy sulfates can leave the hair and scalp stripped of natural oils resulting in dry, brittle hair that’s a bit, well, lifeless. This is especially worrisome for anyone with thin hair, so considering a sulfate-free, vegan formula like this Full Blown Volume Weightless Amplifier Shampoo will go a long way for you.
The secret ingredient here is French oak extract. Extracted from oak trees in the Massif region of central France, the shampoo features a unique infusion of micronutrients that rejuvenate and revitalize hair. Not only will it replenish and detangle lackluster strands, but this lifting formula can also provide volume for up to eight hours when paired with the Weightless Amplifier Conditioner and Full Blown Volume Dry Texturizing Spray. No matter what type of hair you have, long-lasting volume is not something to shy away from.
Shea Butter Gel Creme Defining Curl Memory
For all my textured hair types out there—kinky, coily, wavy, curly—this gel creme needs to officially go on your radar, like yesterday. This nourishing, sulfate-free creme will give your texture tons of hydration while offering a hold that still provides elasticity sans crunch. Yes, it is a gel creme, but that all-star shea butter blend leaves the hair soft without a sticky, flakey, or dried-out finish.
All the same perks that can be found in Fekkai’s Shea Butter Mask can be found in their entire Shea Butter line of products including that moisturizing, frizz-frighting blend of shea butter and monoi oil that leaves hair protected and radiant. Oh, and let’s not forget that mouthwatering scent, too. Scrunching this creme into your curls will help them hold and retain moisture and shape, and a quick shot of the diffuser will help lock things into place.
Technician Color Shampoo Extended Color Vibrancy
Byrdie VP Leah Wyar fell in love with this shampoo as a young beauty editor and has returned to it with the brand’s latest eco-boost and clean beauty pledge. Fekkai leaned on his chic French roots yet again to derive the all-star ingredient to his Technician Color Shampoo for Extended Color Vibrancy. The non-greasy oil extracted from the French mirabelle plum offers a highly purified, lightweight protection that “helps protect color-treated hair with abundant antioxidants, fatty acids, and potent polyphenols.” So basically, no matter what color your strands are, this formula is going to help preserve the potency and vibrancy of your hair’s hue. With plant-derived extracts that keep color from fading, what’s not to love?
Shea Butter Intense Oil
Last but certainly not least is this hair-and-body product hero. The Fekkai Shea Butter collection hits us with a must-have yet again. The reason we have this oil on our list of favorite Fekkai products is simply due to its versatility (aside, of course, from all the other many reasons we love the Shea Butter collection, as previously mentioned). When it comes to haircare, this oil will serve you whether you need some extra hydration to soothe your scalp, some extra moisture to braid into an overnight treatment for your dried-out tresses, or simply when needing to add some luster to those drab and lifeless ends that are overdue for a trim.
As for body care, this silicone-free formula will help aid parched skin, relax sore muscles, de-stress, and give off an effortless summer glow. Having a clean, multipurpose oil like this can provide so much TLC, we can’t think of a reason not to include it in our self-care rituals.