Photo: William Hereford
I’ll never forget the day I first used amika’s Obliphica Nourishing Mask. It came in a big, colorful orange tub that dwarfed all my other shower products, and the thick cream inside smelled amazing. What was really impressive, though, was how shiny and healthy it made my hair look, even though I only left it on for thirty seconds instead of the recommended five minutes. I knew I had stumbled upon something special.
Since that memorable day, my hair and I have become very good friends with amika. The brand’s treatments and styling tools work magic, and they’re also famous for their distinctive design, especially in the form of eye-catching prints. I got in touch with Vita Raykhman, amika’s Creative Director, to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes at this stylish hair company, including their plans to make an exclusive mini blow dryer together with Birchbox!
How is Amika’s design different from other hair care brands on the market?
Amika is first and foremost about individuality and fun. The core of the brand is about allowing people to express themselves. By creating the tools in the latest prints and colors, we’re bringing the self-expression of fashion to hairstyling. Before it was a somber sea of black, but now the amika tools are an extension of a user’s personality. The Obliphica haircare line also has this crazy print which really speaks to the vibrancy and potency of the formulas. Furthermore, when designing it we thought about having something in the shower that would be sort of eye-opening and fun.
Walk us through a typical day in your job.
What I love about my job is that there is no such thing as a typical day. Any given day can involve anything from hunting interesting patterns at vintage shops around the city, art directing a shoot, taking the team on an inspirational visit to the Armory or Frieze shows, developing packaging and print materials, and generally obsessive beautification of all things amika!
What’s your favorite part of being a Creative Director, and what’s the most challenging?
Again, I love the diversity and the many touch points you get to develop when focusing on one brand. It’s really like creating a personality, where you have to decide everything from visuals to auditory experiences, even smells! Recently, I’ve gotten into collaboration with developing some environments and product design for amika. So, at the moment, I find the 3D aspect of things very interesting. It can range from small scale (like the things you hold in your hand) to the larger picture of being in an actual space. I think the most challenging thing is working with deadlines. If I could, I would work on things forever, because I am really a perfectionist! Sometimes it’s quite challenging to say stop and move on.
What is your personal hair routine?
Naturally, it is very amika-centric. Of course I would say this, but really I think the products are amazing. I’m very low maintenance and I like that artfully disheveled, just-rolled-out-of-bed look. This sounds easy, but it is important that hair is really healthy for this look to work; otherwise it will look not so artful. I use the amika Color pHerfection Shampoo which is sulfate-free and so gentle you don’t really need conditioner, which I like because my hair has texture but is on the thinner side. Once a week, I use the amika Nourishing Hair Mask and the Obliphica Oil Treatment (especially in winter). I like a little volume and texture, so out of the shower I clip the top part of my hair up and spray with a little amika Blow Up Spray. When it’s dry I take the clip out and my hair is left with some nice volume. On days when I don’t wash, I use the amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo to refresh and give a little texture.
Can you give us a sneak peek into the mini blow dryer collaboration with Birchbox (featuring an exclusive print) coming up for Holiday 2013?
This season on the runway, we saw a comeback of mod-inspired bold stripes. We put our own twist on it with a palette that is fresh and modern.
Now here’s the best part! We’re hosting a Twitter chat with a lead educator from amika tomorrow, Thursday 5/23 at 3pm, where you can ask all your burning questions about hair styling, hot tools, treatments, all things amika and more! To participate, just use #AskAmika when you tweet your question, and be sure to follow @birchbox and @loveamika. PLUS, five lucky participants will receive one of amika’s 1.25” Ceramic Stylers in Graffiti.
Love amika products and tools? Here’s where you can find them in the Birchbox Shop.