Oribe’s New Hair Balm Made Me Believe In Air Drying

Healthier hair incoming.

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As a beauty editor, I come across the same guidance for healthier hair all the time from hairstylists, trichologists, and dermatologists. They typically tell you to discontinue dyeing or bleaching your hair, stop over-washing, avoid hairstyles that cause breakage, and minimize heat styling. But despite the fact that I have this information and would like to have healthier, longer hair, I am still guilty of all the hair sins — very guilty.

But while you definitely won’t be seeing me let go of dyeing skipping a full shower post-workout, cutting down on my near-daily blow drying or curling seems doable — but only if I can figure out a way to do that and still like the way my hair looks. Luckily, Oribe just launched their new Heatless Styling Balm, which is meant to help strengthen hair and form and define heatless waves. Below, I checked it out and see if it could make me an air-drying convert and possibly even put me back on the road to hair redemption.

Fast Facts:

  • Brand: Oribe
  • What’s the product? Hair Alchemy Heatless Styling Balm
  • Price: $48
  • Who is it for? The styler is formulated for fine-to-medium hair
  • Key ingredients: Plant-based protein for strengthening, tomato fruit ferment
  • and chickpea extract for style retention, and golden oak mushroom extract for hair cuticle smoothing
  • Specs: Dermatologist tested, formulated without sulfates, color and keratin treatment safe, vegan and PETA approved
  • Where can you buy?

The Product:

How To Use:

The uncertainty that comes with air drying gave me anxiety, but dutifully, I showered using my usual shampoo and conditioner (recently it’s been Nécessaire Rosemary Shampoo and Conditioner), towel dried my hair using my handy Aquis microfiber Hair Towel, and then got to styling — or rather, not styling.

I spread a quarter-sized blob of the product in between my palms before applying it to my hair working from my ends up. I made sure to distribute the balm evenly all over my hair, to ideally create uniform texture all over. Then, I used a couple of setting clips to set my bang into a curtain-like shape and then scrunch, scrunch, scrunched my hair all around. Finally, it was time to take the biggest piece of advice that hairstylist and Oribe global educator Adam Livermore gave me for my air drying journey: Don’t touch your hair. (He says it only causes frizz and messes with your texture.)


When my hair dried I was pleased (and honestly, surprised) that my hair formed waves that looked both pretty and intentional. When I’ve tried air drying before, my hair tends to seem like it’s going to form some texture while it’s wet and the product is freshly applied, but ends up drying mostly straight with some weird bends. I gave my hair a full 360˚ view check and happily saw a generally uniform wave pattern all around my head. No weird bends!

The feeling of my hair was exactly as promised — very soft and healthy feeling, without any stickiness or crunch.

Worth It?

At $48, the Oribe Heatless Styling Balm is more expensive than similar products on the market from salon brands, like the $35 Bumble and bumble Seaweed Air Dry Hair Styling Cream or the $37 Hairstory Hair Balm. But I personally found this one boosted my usually non-forming waves, so to each their own based on their hair type.

Final Verdict:

I can’t say I’m throwing out my blow dryer anytime soon, but I definitely feel like my hair learned a new trick. Seeing a different texture and look for my hair has been fun and it’s great to have a new option to wear. In my ongoing hair health and growth adventure I’m making a resolution to only heat style my hair once a week (okay, maybe twice a week) — but now I feel like that’s a realistic prospect.