We moved to Sussex a year ago where I discovered a cool little organic hair salon called Oomoo in Storrington. I love meeting people in the health and beauty industry with ‘the knowledge’ and Julie, who owns the salon certainly has that. I’ve been going to her to have my hair coloured every few months, have been delighted with the results and love that Julie uses kind hair products. I also love talking to her about brands, ingredients and why she went down the ‘clean hairdressing’ route, which seems to still be a very niche area of the industry. Her salon is quirky, retro and full of character. Julie and her partner upcycle and recycle everything and last week, they created a super stylish window display using scaffolding and conical flasks, which they filled with beautiful herbs and flowers. So creative and fabulous. Julie has combined the best natural products and a great team to give the most naturally shiny looking hair.
I was there this morning to have my hair done and Julie gave me her story:
My intentions for going down the route of ‘clean hairdressing’ were to care for myself, my clients, my staff, the environment and for animals – I have always been against animal testing.
I trained in hairdressing in the 80s and gradually, over time, became really allergic to all the chemical laden hair products. I absolutely loved hairdressing but the products were leaving my skin red raw and in such a mess. I did some research and realised that apparently, hairdressers are exposed to an increased risk of cancer, particularly bladder cancer, due to the products they work with. I decided to go back to beauty college to do a beauty course and one module involved us making our own products. Again, I was horrified at what went into skincare, so I created a little beauty and hair salon at home while bringing up my young children and started making a range of homemade, organic skincare to use on my clients. At this time, I was still using traditional hair dyes because I thought that was all that was available and was still having problems with my skin.
One of my clients said to me that my organic skincare range was great but why couldn’t I introduce this ethos into my hair salon? Being a hairdresser trained in the 80s, I was dubious but looked into it and found a small herbal hair dye company and started using their dyes on my clients at home. To be honest, the results were a little hit and miss but my organic, health loving clients were prepared to stick with my trials and errors, thankfully.
I contacted Davines back then and to be honest, their ingredients weren’t quite clean enough, so I opted out, even although I loved their brand and ethos.
I found another UK company, which was brilliant for carbon footprint, had a real conscience and gave me better results but we still had a few hit and miss moments (read everyone ended up with a slight ginger glow, which is not ideal if you're not a natural red head!). We persisted and I was really keen not to move away from what we believed and cared about, so tried a few other bigger organic hair companies and nothing ever seemed to be perfect until two things happened. We started to work with a brilliant colouring brand called Philip Martin, which marked a huge improvement in my client’s results – no more ginger glow and we still love and use this system.
Another pivotal moment came when we were at Goodwood Revival a few years ago and I bumped into a rep from Davines, who explained that they had cleaned up their products. We were the first salon in the UK to take on their colour system and products and we haven’t looked back. The brand is brilliant and I love their ethos. Although their hair dyes are natural and contain organic ingredients, they have to have an oxidiser in them to make them work. Having weighed everything up, they really are the cleanest brand of hair dye I have found on the market that works. I am always looking out for new brands and the best natural products on the market and am very open to trying new things.
So it’s been a journey but I feel like we’re finally there and have found a great natural and effective range of products to use on our clients.
Julie’s favourite hair and skin ranges for you to use at home:
John Masters Organics: johnmasters.co.uk
Lady Green – a range for teenage skin. Excellent - www.lady-green.com/fr/
Oomoo was also one of the first salons in the UK to try the new Dyson hairdryers. They are pricey at £299 but I have a shot of it every time I go in and love it. One day…