Haircare brand IGK is the latest in the slew of cult US beauty buys hitting British shores this year. With an exclusive launch at Space.NK, excitement is gathering for the laid-back approach and cool-girl credentials of the brand, founded by friends Chase Kusero, Aaron Grenia, and brothers Franck and Leo Izquierdo, and understandably so.
The products are vegan, gluten-free, contain no sulphates or parabens, and are loaded with some of the industry's favourite natural ingredients, from turmeric to coconut oil. One scroll through the brand's Instagram feed, and you'll see the appeal for women with hair of all types and textures, too.
Founded back in 2016, IGK has quickly attracted dedicated fans and celebrity clients – think Sofia Richie and Tessa Thompson. How? Firstly, they've mastered their social presence. "It's how we talk to our customers," Leo says of their Instagram page. "We post teasers, product knowledge, but also quick clips from our salons with us and our stylists using the products. How do you comb through a leave-in? How should you be washing your hair? How do you apply a holographic hair foam? It’s these quick, sometimes simple and sometimes complex tips that people are curious about. We’ve given them a place to learn."
But you'd be remiss to assume it's all aesthetics; the brand creates innovative formulas that solve the hair problems of modern women. "We push the limit on what’s been done in hair and bring something different and new to the market," Franck notes. "Take THIRSTY GIRL Coconut Milk Leave-In Conditioner for example – we knew we needed a leave-in conditioner but didn’t want to create something that was already out there."
"We were able to include a patented hyaluronic acid technology in the formula, something we’d only seen in skincare before. That technology helps seal in moisture and keep hair frizz-free for up to 24 hours. We added pure coconut milk to help strengthen, smooth and nourish hair, too, so it helps repair and protect your hair. It just launched in mid-January and we can’t keep it in stock because our customers love it."
A UK launch was always in the pipeline, thanks to buzz created by fans who raided Sephora on US trips and packed their suitcases full of IGK products. For the founders, it's a perfect fit. "The UK customer is cool, edgy, and not afraid to try new things," Aaron states, "like the IGK girl."
So where to begin? RICH KID Coconut Oil Air Dry Styler was the first product they created, "a weightless coconut oil gel that gives you texture and separation without being crunchy." You can use it on wet or dry hair, and is perfect for defining curls without extra weight. Another bestseller is BEACH CLUB Volumising Texture Spray. The hook lies in the fact it's salt-free, so avoids drying out hair which most products that promise Aussie locks can do. "It gives you natural volume and gives you beach waves in seconds."
Something we're really anticipating, though, is the brand's dry shampoo launches. Ordinarily not the most glamorous of products, thanks to its main function being to avert eyes from unwashed hair, IGK's new drops sound a world away from the dusty-scented talcum-powered products we're used to.
"When we went to create a new dry shampoo, we started asking our clients in-salon which dry shampoos they liked and why. What we found is that everyone has a different dry shampoo that they love but no one knows exactly why they love it," Aaron explains. "We realised that people were loving their dry shampoos based on how heavy or light the formulas were, as well as their scalp or hair type. For example, someone with an oily scalp wanted a heavier dry shampoo than someone with fine hair or a dry scalp."
The weight of a dry shampoo is based in its cleansing powder levels – the heavier-duty a product, the more cleansing powders it'll contain. "Our new dry shampoo collection takes that into consideration," Aaron tells Refinery29. "We created three dry shampoos – one with a lightweight cleanse (JET LAG Invisible Dry Shampoo, 1% cleansing powders), one with a medium cleanse (DIRECT FLIGHT Multi-Tasking Dry Shampoo, 3% cleansing powders) and one with a deep cleanse (FIRST CLASS Charcoal Detox Dry Shampoo, 7% cleansing powders)."
With their arsenal of cult hits, plus three new products promising a tailored solution to your just-can't-be-bothered days, hitting Space.NK this month, IGK is yet another US import we're adding to our basket.