"I felt like I had gone in a time machine back to 1995," says Heim. "It was very overwhelming and complicated. There was a lot of product on that shelf, I had no idea what to buy, and I felt like I was buying all these products in other categories of beauty that felt really fresh and modern and cool and I just couldn't find that in this space."
She craved simplicity—minimal products with high-quality, innovative ingredients. In July, Heim launched Bread Beauty Supply, a hair-care line catering people with 3A to 4C hair types.
Shop now: Bread Beauty Supply
Available exclusively at Sephora (both in-store and online), Bread launched with just three products: Hair Wash ($20), Hair Mask ($28), and Hair Oil ($24), a major departure from typical offerings. Watch any natural hair care tutorial on YouTube and you'll find someone with an arsenal of products. Spray leave-in, cream leave-in, curl cream, coconut oil, jojoba oil, argan oil—nearly every plant from which it's possible to derive an oil. It can be daunting, especially if you're at the start of your natural hair journey. But not with Bread.
"We are hair-care basics for not so basic hair. I wanted to focus on an edited assortment that was all about her basic hair-care wardrobe with a focus on uncomplicated routines," says Heim. "Bread beauty is here for the essentials and must-haves. Like bread, get it?"
Most of the time, people employ a ton of product to manipulate the appearance of their hair, fending off the top offender: frizz.
"Things like frizz are so much more natural to textured hair, and the idea that we have to have an entire category of anti-frizz and talk about frizz in such a negative way, I feel it's detrimental," says Heim. "We want to be anti-anti-frizz and almost make frizz aspirational. If we're going to be able to lean into this idea of not having to spend so much time on our hair and if we don't want to have to use tubs and tubs of products to manipulate our hair into a style that is not necessarily conducive to what our hair does naturally, then frizz has to be something that we embrace."
If your routine uses just three products, each one needs to pack a major punch. That's why Heim sought out the best ingredients and smartest formulation she could find.
The hair wash is a hybrid between a co-wash and a shampoo. "It's very gentle but you still get a really decent lather and a decent clean," she says. "The key ingredients are argan oil, aloe vera juice, and lemon tree oil for scalp health." Heim recommends this as your weekly cleanser. Since it isn't as intense as traditional shampoo, if you've got a lot of product buildup or are coming out of a braided style and have a lot of gunk to remove from your hair, she says to go for something stronger.
For the hair mask, which is a deep moisture mask, Heim chose to feature Australian Kakadu plum oil. "It has 50 times more vitamin C than an orange, making it a powerhouse oil for textured hair specifically," she says. "It's very lightweight but you still get really nice conditioning and lubrication from it." It also contains safflower oil which helps with shedding and breakage. You can use the mask for five to 10 minutes while in the shower, or let it get real deep and spend a few hours with it on under a plastic conditioning cap.
The oil is like lip gloss for your hair. The stars in this silicone-free product are also Australian Kakadu plum oil and safflower oil. "I want this to be a go-to everyday oil. You can use it in so many different ways," says Heim. If you like applying oil to wet hair, you can use it after you've washed and used your mask. You can use it on dry hair in between wash days. And you can also use it as a pre-wash treatment, leaving it on for at least two hours before washing. When Heim uses it as a pre-wash she says she's usually able to cleanse and then skip the mask.
The packaging adds to the brand's cool-girl aesthetic. It features images of women with curly hair, making it stand out in the sea of skin care and makeup on the shelves of Sephora. (And it brings the tally of Black-owned brands sold at Sephora from seven to eight.) The cleanser and the mask come in pouches, which Heim says uses 60 to 70 percent less plastic than the standard bottles. The oil comes in a glass bottle. Heim has plans to expand the brand, maintaining the focus on simplicity and must-haves.
Though fresh and modern, this line is rooted in nostalgia. Heim teased this out with fragrance. And, it's uh, pretty strong. The cleanser smells refreshingly like the milk left in your bowl after eating fruit loops. And not in a fruit-loops-scented-shampoo kind of way, but in a I-think-I-just-poured-fruit-loops-milk-on-my-head kind of way. The mask smells like vanilla frosting ready to be slathered on a cake. As someone who prefers earthier scents, this was a bit jarring to me. But once I washed it all out, added the hair oil (which has an understated floral scent perfect for everyday use) it was beyond worth it. I'd get into a tub of vanilla frosting if it would make my hair this soft. For me, someone with natural 4C hair who hates doing her hair, Bread arrived just in time.
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