Much has been made of the "skincare-ification" of hair products. Not too long ago, haircare lines had only just begun to expand and offer specialized lines for color and texture—and for the most part, almost all of the emphasis was just on added moisture in the strands. Now, the consensus rests with a healthy scalp adding up to healthy, lustrous hair, which together equals a slew of new products, both high-end and drugstore, targeted to treat just that. And the same way your skin needs a solid exfoliant to slough away dead skin, debris, and lingering congestion, your hair does, too—but you'll be hard-pressed to find any haircare as simultaneous effective and stylish as Garrett Markenson's Reverie line.
Today, the brand debuts its latest addition, the multifunctional Suna Exfoliating Shampoo ($46), designed to clear scalps of buildup, oil, and flakiness while delivering much-needed moisture. And as it turns out, that same fresh-faced, lighter-than-air feeling you get after a facial extends to scalp exfoliation, too.
Scroll through Markenson's Instagram profile, and you'll immediately get a pretty good sense of the man behind the line. Despite his singular reputation as one of the most talented celebrity hairstylists in the industry, his feed is free of the usual trappings of such a career—his clients are art world it-girls, fashion's fringiest (i.e., most copied) tastemakers, and straight-up rockstars almost exclusively.
So it comes as no surprise that his newly-rebooted brand, the stylish, minimalist, vaguely subversive Reverie, has been dubbed the "New Bottega of haircare" in more than a few circles. Though the line's been around for a decade (and accrued plenty of celeb fans like Beyoncé and Miranda Kerr), the relaunch focuses on a commitment to sustainability and clean, ethically sourced ingredients—and that applies to this latest product, too, which Markenson says took three years and dozens of prototypes to perfect.
How It Works
As with the rest of Reverie, Markenson developed the Suna Exfoliating Shampoo in tandem with a skincare chemist. Free of the gritty grains found in many scalp scrubs and exfoliating shampoos, Suna interestingly also eschews artificial chemical exfoliation in lieu of a more nature-friendly solution: hibiscus flower extract, which comes naturally loaded with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and inflammation-fighting antioxidants. "Most scalp scrubs are composed of oils, salt, and fragrance," Markenson explains to Byrdie. "We knew there was an opportunity to innovate and bring Reverie's take on haircare to this product by using powerful, active ingredients to not only cleanse but also treat the scalp."
Also on the ingredient list is Rhassoul clay, which works the same way as your favorite clay face mask by absorbing excess oil. Of course, you don't want to lose all hydration, so Suna's sodium hyaluronate and blend of essential minerals lock in moisture and strengthen the scalp's barrier function—yet another phrase you'll be familiar with if you've done some online skincare research trawling.
The skin barrier refers to the protective layer of skin fortified by fatty acids, lipids, and ceramides for the scalp, face, and body. "It functions as a shield against the harsh external environment and unwanted bacteria," explained Dr. Onyeka Obioha, dermatologist and Byrdie Review Board member, in a previous interview. "It also absorbs and maintains moisture by preventing transepidermal water loss, which is dehydration of the skin."
Using Suna isn't much different from a thorough scrubbing with regular shampoo, albeit with very different results. In the shower, section out your damp hair and work the shampoo directly into the scalp with your fingertips. Step under the nozzle again to add more water, and work the now-lathered shampoo deeper into hair and the scalp before rinsing thoroughly—that part's crucial—and follow it up with your conditioner of choice. It's recommended that the exfoliating treatment be used weekly for maintenance.
Markenson shared that a trip to Japan taken with his wife and business partner inspired the new formulation. There, they learned about ancient practices and the art of Japan's world-famous bathing culture: "the rituals, time-honored traditions, and scents. It's a return to slowness and those looking to surrender oneself in Reverie," he says. And if your hair ends up looking fantastic in the process? Well, that's just all the better.