Worth It: Balmain Hair Héritage 1974 Hair Perfume Collection

Why yes, my hair does have a signature scent.

balmain hair perfume
(Image credit: Future)

Welcome back to Worth It, our weekly seal of approval on noteworthy launches and bespoke collaborations in the worlds of beauty and fashion. If it's featured here, consider these investments worthwhile.

The Promise

Balmain Hair has been around for nearly half of a century. Still, the launch of their fragrance tailor-made for hair (there’s less alcohol content than a traditional eau de parfum) didn’t enter the brand’s fold until 2016. Balmain's signature scent has a floral feel with notes of gardenia, jasmine, and rose—among others. But with the brand's 50th anniversary approaching, Balmain Hair released three new scents under the umbrella of the Heritage 1974 Collection: Vetiver, Cardamom, and, my personal favorite, Ginger. 

The trio was designed by famed perfumer Cécile Zarokian, who has also worked on brands like Amouage and Masque. Each scent is unisex in nature, and comes with a long-lasting promise and scalp-friendly formulation complete with silk protein and an argan elixir. The mist itself is super-fine, leaving hair feeling weightless and any style intact.  

Despite the allure of adding another pretty bottle to my vanity, I wasn’t quite sure if a hair perfume would A) work with my fragrance wardrobe, and B) keep my sensitive scalp in a healthy state. So naturally, I had to put the brand’s newest $177 launch to the test. 

Why I’m Obsessed

I’m a high maintenance beauty girl and I pride myself on having a product for everything. Even then, a dedicated hair perfume—to accompany my typical daily blend of three other perfumes—feels just a smidge excessive. (That’s saying something coming from me.) Yet, when a chic trio of Balmain hair-specific fragrances came my way? Well, who was I to turn them down? 

I did an initial spritz of every scent right off the bat. The Cardamom 1974 smells like soft sophistication. It has cardamom (obviously) with rose and vanilla compliments, as well as a fresh balance of blackcurrant and lemon. It’s layered and complex, with a sweet trail. Then, came the Vetiver. The experience with this one was two fold. At first smell, came the woody, smoky notes. But as it warmed up, lighter florals like rose, geranium, and lily of the valley came into play. The blend is delicious, but errs a bit on the masculine side for my personal liking. 

It was the Ginger however that became my personal favorite. It’s a bit spicy, instantly perking up my senses. But it’s so much more dynamic than one note. There are musky hints, a bit of a gourmand sweetness, and even an interesting suede edge. It’s distinct in its composition—and doesn’t smell like anything else in my fragrance wardrobe. 

As the days went by, I began using both Cardamom and Ginger in my hair. I started off slow, just a singular spritz a full eight inches away from my head. To my surprise, the mist was so fine that stickiness or a wet sensation was a non-issue. The particles gently fell like a blanket onto my hair, leaving each strand with a soft scent. It was more powerful than the lingering smell of shampoo, but not nearly as intense as my traditional fragrances—a happy medium if you will. 

My scalp never felt irritated and my hair shaft never felt dry. I don't necessarily notice the scent throughout the day, but I always get a whiff when I take my hair out of a ponytail or hold a chunk up to my nose. Both hair perfumes play well with my regular fragrances, effectively adding another gorgeous layer to my ever-changing scent. I’m hooked—and I don’t care if it means my fragrance routine over-the-top. 

Samantha Holender
Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, Delish.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.