This week I got to catch up with the owner, Olivia Crighton of East London’s Glasshouse Salon. She told me some valuable information about hair dyes and chemicals we need to be aware of. Thanks for the insightful chat Olivia and hopefully this will inspire change in the way people think about the products they use. Another great example that a businesses can make thoughtful decisions about the environment and their customers.

Glasshouse Salon - chatbox

Organic colour systems?

The hair colour system application works in the same way as a traditional ammonia based colour, but the difference is the ingredients we ‘don’t’ use. Our colours are free from ammonia (I’m sure we’ve all heard of this stinky gas), resorcinol, parabens, and have the lowest possible level of PPD (para-phenylenediamine, which are our essential colour pigments).

Let’s start with ammonia – ammonia is used to raise the PH level of the hair, so colour can enter. It’s a very aggressive way to do it, and can cause irreparable damage to the cuticle, and protein/moisture levels in the hair. Using a base of soyamine (naturally derived from soya bean) and combination of organic orange, grapefruit, comfry and aloe vera we can adjust the PH and moisturise the hair, so colour can penetrate the hair-shaft without the damaging effects of ammonia.

It’s important to us to always skin test first time clients, as people can be allergic to all sorts of things (including products derived from nature). We skin test predominantly for PPD (colour pigment) allergies, it’s extremely rare to have a reaction, but can be very serious when someone does.  Because we use lower levels of PPDs the pores of the skin aren’t open in the same way as traditional colour, minimising the risk of pigment absorption (and that horrible colour staining too!).

Are dyes like henna safer to use?

Unfortunately it’s a bit of a myth that henna is a completely safe colourant perhaps in it’s purest form. that the majority of the henna dyes we purchase from our health shops contain PPD which can cause allergic reactions, so it’s important to always skin test prior to using any colour products. Sometimes traditional hair colour cannot be used over hair that’s been coloured with henna as they can react, and it can become difficult to remove once used.

What’s important to you?

The salon ethos is very much in line with my own, I feel it’s completely unnecessary with the advancements in technology for companies to be doing animal testing and using animal ingredients. I feel that consumer driven changes can be very powerful and we should support companies with an ethical approach. I try not to use or purchase from large companies that don’t have these policies in place because nothing will change if we keep supporting them. Some of the most exciting things about setting up my business is discovering amazing products, suppliers and companies.

Haircare advice to live a more organic lifestyle?

Products and there ingredients can be a bit of a mind field, be careful about what companies ‘imply’ in their advertising, as it doesn’t always equate to a lovely ‘clean and green’ product. I recommend the ‘Organic Colour System’ is the only range I need to use in the salon, not only is their ethos in the right place, but it’s UK based!

Olivia’s top tips for choosing hair products

Chemicals to avoid

  • Sulphates: particularly sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS),
  • Sodium Chloride: a natural ingredient, otherwise known as salt, which can strip colour and dehydrate the hair and scalp.
  • Parabens: the estrogen-mimic aspect of parabens may be a factor in modern day diseases

Also try to

  • Choose products from companies that do and that don’t test their products on animals!
  • Choose refillable or recyclable packaging is good for the environment

Glasshouse Salon - East London

“We would like to think we can buy purely plant based products with lots of lovely organic ingredients, but the truth is many companies only need to use a tiny amount of these ingredients to market it as natural and magical. It helps to read labels and research a companies ethos and values before I making a choice.” ~ Olivia from The Glasshouse Salon

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