Is it just me, or is there a newfound fixation with smelling magnificent? And we're not just talking a quick spritz before stepping out the door. We're specifically talking about scent layering. There's an art to scent layering — the act of starting with scented creams and oils to moisturise your body and moving onto mixing certain perfumes and scented oils to create truly unique and long-lasting fragrance — and it's becoming a huge part of people's beauty routines. Adding to the ever-growing market that is hair perfume, Black-women-owned brand Ruka is here to redefine the category further.
"This idea came from the love for our hair extensions," Tendai Moyo, CEO and cofounder of Ruka Hair, tells POPSUGAR. "Our community has constantly praised that our extensions don't have a chemical or plastic scent, and [people] wanted to know how they could continue to get the same effect," she adds. "So we went in the lab with our team of experts to create something that embodied the same health, quality, and efficacy values with the feelings of joy and luxury that Black women deserve."
"We wanted something that truly embodied the soft life element with a tropical freshness — the vibe of a true Ruka babe."
The brand has continually gone from strength to strength since launching in January 2021, serving premium extensions and hair care to the Black community. Ruka has consistently gone against the grain in providing the service and experience that Black women deserve. No longer shoehorning Black individuals and their relationship with their hair, Ruka is driven to rewire the hair industry to be an inclusive place where Black hair is seen and heard. That's exactly what the brand is doing with its release of the Ruka Hair Perfume (£25) — shaking up and redefining how we look after our natural hair and hair extensions.
Regardless of how you style your hair, whether that be natural, braids, clip-ins, or wigs, the care and maintenance of our hair routines have always been very practical: keep it clean and keep it conditioned. Taking sanctuary in our bathrooms, our hair products only see the light of day when it's wash day, but Ruka is changing how we see, use, and value our hair products. The brand's first wet product, Ruka's Hair Perfume, not only has a light and sweet aroma reminiscent of a Caribbean paradise, but it also moisturises and conditions hair similar to a leave-in conditioner.
The formula is infused with Zambian Mongongo oil, which is rich in vitamin E and omega-6 to eliminate dryness and prevent split ends. It also contains aloe vera and pro-vitamin B5 to moisturise and protect textured hair, helping to build strength and flexibility, reducing the chance of breakage. "The key ingredients were carefully picked to ensure the formulation was fragrant and effective," shares Yolanda Grunewald, Ruka's formulation chemist. "It provides a nourishment due to the inclusion of a humectant, an emollient, and a cationic agent, which provides a conditioning effect."
The scent itself is a warm musk and vanilla base heightened with the fusion of coconut and wood. "We worked with a fragrance house to develop our own Ruka signature fragrance, as we wanted something that truly embodied the soft life element with a tropical freshness — the vibe of a true Ruka babe," Grunewald explains.
Setting itself apart from other hair perfumes on the market, Ruka's Hair Perfume doesn't have a high alcohol content, so it isn't drying. "The core of the formulation is a hydroalcoholic solution, meaning it is a mix of alcohol and water," Grunewald explains. "Alcohol is essential in any perfume as it carries the fragrances and evaporates quickly. It helps release the fragrance and is also particularly important for a hair perfume — as it won't leave the hair feeling wet, as water on its own would do. The water hydrates the hair, carries the humectant and conditioning agent, and balances the alcohol." Together, these elements create this stunning hybrid hair product answering two of Black women's hair needs: a head-turning scent and conditioned hair. You can use this as little or as often as you want, spritzing three to four sprays on natural hair, wigs, or braids.
An inclusive hair product that caters to all Black hair needs, regardless of the style, is so refreshing to see. It reintroduces the way we see, love, and appreciate our hair by taking it one step further than just washing and conditioning it by introducing scent — an intimate and elevated approach to beauty. Unpicking a once-complicated relationship with Black hair, Ruka's Hair Perfume breathes new life into how we see and look after it.