Model Anastasia MacKay’s New Brand Lobie Is Out To Elevate The Textured Haircare Aisle

A dozen years ago, Dutch-born Anastasia Hing MacKay’s voluminous textured coiffure was integral to her becoming a model in the United States, but the job did a number on it.

Whether it was heat styling, coloring or botched chemical relaxing, the rigamarole her hair had to go through to for campaigns and editorial shoots damaged it. When the pandemic hit, MacKay, who has modeled for beauty brands such as MAC, L’Oreal, Maybelline and Dr.Miracle, used the modeling industry slowdown as an opportunity to rejuvenate her hair, which she calls her “superpower.”

That’s when MacKay noticed that the haircare space was packed with products, but, amid the pack, she didn’t see a textured haircare brand that appealed to her design tastes. “When I look at my shelfie, I have my Dr. Barbara Sturm face wash and my body wash from Nécessaire, it doesn’t fit there,” she says. “The outdated legacy brands that work for me, I have them in my cupboard, and I never have them out.”

MacKay created the new brand Lobie to have products she could keep out, push textured haircare to a more premium level and deliver tangible results for frayed, frizzy hair. Both of MacKay’s parents hail from Suriname, and the word “lobie” means love in Surinamese Dutch, a dialect spoken in Suriname. Lobie is starting with a single product, the $40 Peptide Leave In Mask intended to reduce and protect against breakage and aid with frizz and hydration.

Lobie founder Anastasia Hing MacKay

MacKay describes the proprietary peptide in Lobie’s Peptide Leave In Mask as the haircare ingredient equivalent of protein that strengthens muscles. The leave-in mask is packaged in a sugarcane-derived material the brand describes as biodegradable and has a sweet pea, floral scent developed with an undisclosed fragrance house in Los Angeles. It avoided coconut and bubble gum notes MacKay isn’t a fan of that she encountered in products from legacy brands. She says, “The space needs some elevation, we want to smell good as well.”

Lobie’s straightforward branding is calm and minimalistic. In line with the minimalist design, Peptide Leave In Mask was formulated to be multipurpose. A moisture range encompassing a shampoo, conditioner and hair serum is already developed, but MacKay decided to begin Lobie with the Peptide Leave In Mask because she concluded it gave the brand a unique entrance into the market.

“I personally don’t like wash day, I want to be done with it,” she says. “I wanted to create something that you don’t need a lot of steps.” She adds, “I’m a first-time founder, I really want to focus on a hero product and building brand awareness, community and getting feedback. You don’t want to overwhelm people with a bunch of new stuff, especially if you’re new.”

MacKay has been teasing the launch of Lobie on her Instagram account for the last couple of months. She has 34,100 Instagram followers. Lobie will lean into influencer seeding and user-generated content to spread the word. In addition to her own following MacKay will tap the community her husband, Andrew Ross MacKay, has amassed. He owns beverage brand Cadence and plant-based chicken brand Daring.

Premium textured haircare brand Lobie is coming to market with a single product, the $40 Peptide Leave In Mask intended to reduce and protect against breakage and aid with frizz and hydration.

Ross MacKay is handling Lobie’s operations and distribution. He is drawing upon experience with retailers like Whole Foods, Target and Walmart. MacKay’s dream retailers for Lobie are Sephora and Target.

“I would love to walk in a Target one day, and the whole space is not only Lobie, it’s just pure elevation, the brands are all very sleek. It’s all like the Byredos and the Le Labos and even Crown Affair,” she says. “My long-term goal is to elevate the whole space with beautiful branding, not just yellow and pink, and it smells of bubble gum.”