Murals pop up on the walls throughout Wynwood all the time — especially in December. Two months ago, artist Diana “Didi” Contreras revamped the wall outside of the O. Ascanio Gallery on NW Second Avenue with an image of her typical doe-eyed girl swimming in a sea of yogurt, bananas, strawberries, coconuts, and acai.
That sea represents Hairgurt, a product that is made by a company headquartered in Doral and manufactured in Cutler Bay. It was was developed by Alcora Group, the company behind two other beauty brands, Monat Global and L’eudine Global.
Alcora officially launched Project Beauty during Miami Art Week in 2015. Hairgurt, a hair masque with a yogurt base, is the first product available as part of that beauty line.
Anne Buhrdorf, director of marketing for Alcora and its subsequent brands, explains the hair masque was in development for about a year. Her duties included working with cosmetic chemists to develop the deep conditioner.
Asked if the company is afraid people will be hesitant to try Hairgurt after the recent lawsuit against WEN by Chaz Dea, in which customers experienced hair loss after using the product, Buhrdorf cleared her throat. For one thing, Wen boasted it's a “five-in-one formula taking the place of your shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and leave-in conditioner.” Hairgurt is not as ambitious. “They’re in such a different wheelhouse than we are,” she says.
One slogan the company likes to use is “We keep the ugly stuff out.” Buhrdorf elaborates: “We really want all of the ingredients to be the stars. For instance, in Hairgurt, we have prebiotics, yogurt protein, quinoa, a blend of essential oils (mango, sweet almond, pomegranate, hazelnut, and raspberry oil).”
Buhrdorf suggests using the hair masque as a deep conditioner. "It would replace your everyday conditioner, maybe one to two times a week, depending on how often you wash your hair and how much nourishment your hair needs.”
The creative director of the brand, Ana Guaqueta, says she actually uses the hair masque as a leave-in conditioner. “When I know it’s going to be a rainy, humid day, I take a little bit of the product and massage it into my ends and it does wonders for my curly hair.”
Guaqueta’s main role with Project Beauty is managing the creative behind the packaging. Since Hairgurt is made with so many natural — and pronounceable — ingredients, the container has a jokey line: “Do not eat. Really, do not eat.”
She laughs and says that Alcora actually has higher standards than the FDA. “We just want to make sure that everything is good and safe — whatever we create, we make sure that we ourselves would actually use it.” Guaqueta even started a sort of human guinea-pig think-tank within the company during the development stages. All products are tested on people, not animals, she assures.
One aspect people seem to enjoy about Hairgurt is the long-lasting, fruity fragrance. At the launch party, where models who had used Hairgurt were walking around, the number one comment Buhrdorf and Guaqueta heard all night was, “What’s that smell?”
The three scents — coconut acai, almond honey, and strawberry banana — can be sensed a day or two after washing your hair and using the deep conditioner.
For now, Hairgurt is the only product available to order ($29 for a pack of two 6 oz. containers) from Project Beauty. Shampoos will launch this month, along with a body-care sub-brand called Pardon My Pretty, which includes body sprays, scrubs, and lotions. A skin care line is also in the works.
Project Beauty Products available exclusively online. Visit myprojectbeauty.com.
Editor’s note: I sampled Hairgurt and found that for my thick, curly, shoulder-length hair, it worked best to use once a week. If I used it more, my hair started to feel weighed down. As Buhrdorf suggests, I use the hair mask when I feel my hair needs repair. The curl-protecting coconut- and acai-scented mask works best for my hair type.