For nearly 20 years, the Parisian colorist Christophe Robin has been creating luxurious hair products designed to keep hair soft, healthy and bright. But even before launching his own line in 1999, Robin amassed a chic group of famous clients: Catherine Deneuve, Tilda Swinton, Inès de la Fressange have all trekked to his tranquil Rue Bachaumont salon in the 2nd arrondissement for subtly painted highlights or a color customized by Robin.
But for all the opulent décor in Robin’s Paris outpost (a massive, seashell-shaped sink hangs from the wall and customers are dressed in silk kimono-style robes during services), the simplicity the megawatt colorist lives by seems to be what keeps people coming back. “I like low maintenance,” he says by phone from France, of his biggest philosophy. “I don’t like when hair colors are too remarkable—I like it to be subtle.”
True to form, he doesn't believe in trends. “I believe there are no trends anymore,” he explains. “Everybody wants to embrace their personalities. Crazy, or natural. I can’t tell you about trends, because there are now thousands of trends.” His products are simply packaged and high in natural ingredients.
Some of the best-sellers include the Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt which can be used instead of a traditional shampoo and the Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil for parched blonde hair or naturally hued brunettes alike.
Accordingly, one of Robin’s newest and arguably most innovative products is an at-home temporary hair color meant to gently refresh dyed hair or naturally color graying hair. “It’s a great solution for grays and it’s very French actually,” he says, with a laugh. It’s the first time a colorist of his status has released this kind of product. Developing it took years and unsurprisingly, Robin is taking a well-deserved vacation this summer.
“Oil is the best,” he says, in response to my question about the easiest way to get great hair when on vacation. “Always put vegetable oil or any other oil in your hair when you go in the sun because it’ll moisturize it. The same way you put sun protection on your skin, you have to put it on your hair—especially if it’s bleached.” As for his second tip? “Always condition with a mask without silicones.”
If you’re headed to the beach for one final hurrah before the end of summer, Robin advises: “Rinse your hair as soon as you get out of the sea, and apply more oil.” The sun, sea and, salt can actually have an impact on your hair, especially if you dye or bleach it, and applying an oil, such as the classic Moisturizing Hair Oil with Lavender (Robin launched it nearly 20 years ago and has yet to alter the restoring formula) can not only give you immediate results—it can protect and save your strands too.
When vacationing at a location with a milder climate, or transitioning to fall, Robin suggests swapping oil-based products for those that may be loaded in nourishing ingredients such as aloe, such as the brand’s Hydrating Leave-In Mist. “Especially with furs and down coats and things like that, you have a tendency to get static electricity into your hair,” he says. “Hydration is one of the best ways to help your hair in the fall.”
And as for the best products to travel with when vacationing, Robin definitely has a less is more approach and tends to forgo the mini-sized shampoos, stylers, hair sprays and heat tools. “Don’t bring too many products,” he cautions. “Wash your hair as little as possible, and it’s better to condition your hair with a mask,” as opposed to a traditional conditioner.
“Maybe also bring some vinegar, which is a little hard to travel with, but a lot of brands are using it. Just mix 20 percent of vinegar with 80 percent mineral water and it’s a great way to remove the impurities from the water, to seal your hair and to make it shinier. What I love about it too is that it really helps your scalp.”
And for those who want to plan an entire trip around having a really, really good hair day every day, Robin has just one suggestion: go to Lapland. “The weather is so pure, and it’s very good for your hair.”