A passion for creating beautiful locks has run in our family for four generations. Being part of something enduring is important to me. A heritage built on healthy hair is – literally – in my roots.
I had always wanted to make my mark in the family business and prove myself. I had no idea it would involve setting up my own range of haircare products.
In my work I focus on achieving the most natural, gorgeous, shiny, healthy hair for my clients, using the best products available to protect the integrity of the hair and make maintenance simple. I embody the “less is more approach” to colour that best enhances complexion and eye tone. My philosophy of “bottle before the knife” to create youthful colour that instantly lifts away the years, is what I strive for.
So, here’s how it all began- - - - - -
I started working in my father Daniel Galvin’s salon when I was still at school, helping out while learning the business, absorbing everything and getting inspired. I swooned over the sessions my father did for Vogue featuring Barbara Bach, Cheryl Ladd and Twiggy and then was thrilled when he pioneered hair colour techniques and expanded the business abroad to the USA, and Japan. I trained under him and started to build up a clientele of my own.
In fact it was while working for him in the USA, attending all the big hair shows, being given tons of recommended products to try, that I had my own epiphany.
I was washing my hair in a hotel bathroom one day with some of the shampoo and conditioner samples I’d been given. The first few times I used the new products I was amazed. The comb glided easily through my hair, it was almost slippery, no tangles at all. My hair was also extremely shiny when styled. I was sure these new products were the answer to my dreams and I wanted to tell everyone.
But then, gradually, over the next few weeks, they stopped performing miracles. While combing my hair gently before blow-drying, I noticed the texture of my hair – it felt wrong. After weeks of using all these different products, it didn’t feel like my hair at all. It was suddenly lifeless and heavy, a bit sticky, sort of dull, flat and, I hate to admit it, with greasy roots. The
heaviness was the perplexing bit – I looked at the label – what was in these products?
The answer was horrifying – a lot of chemical nasties. The worst offenders were the sodium lauryl sulphate and silicone, along with propylene glycol, parabens and synthetic polymers. Sodium lauryl sulphate is a harsh detergent, which strips the hair of all goodness and definitely fades colour fast. A bit like using cheap washing up detergent on your loveliest cashmere cardigan.
The most damaging is the silicone. Silicone coats the hair in plastic type materials, which suffocate the scalp and cause numerous problems – (but allow for a quick blow-dry and an instant sheen which is why they exist). Silicone also gets in between all your hair cuticles and makes it extremely dry and brittle in texture. It’s insoluble in water so you have to use really strong shampoo to get rid of every last particle.
After a while, that gunk in your hair becomes a nightmare. No wonder the myth about changing your shampoo every six weeks and using a “clarifying product” came about. It really is a myth. There’s absolutely no need if your shampoo and conditioner are scalp and follicle friendly.
And let’s not even get started on how bad this stuff is for your health and the environment. 60% of products are absorbed into the bloodstream through the scalp; the rest goes down the plug and pollutes the water system. I was damaging my health, and the planet, by using these products and that made me mad. Like many of us around that time, I was starting to get an awareness about the delicate balance of living well with the demands of modern life. I wanted to be part of the solution, to live authentically, healthily and also make a difference in the world.
It was the wake-up call I needed – that’s what I’d focus my energies on – creating a range of beautiful natural haircare products that were kind to the scalp – and the environment. The idea was born. It took an awful lot of work though. But that’s the exciting bit of having inspiration, finding the right team to help and then building a company.
My first step was to find a great chemist. I was thrilled to find a highly trained French female chemist. (Bonus: she also had a glorious head of tumbling pre-Raphaelite locks too!) She taught me about the science behind haircare. I said I wanted a range that had “No Nasties” and she was completely on board. So we banished all those awful chemicals first –
absolutely no silicone, sodium lauryl sulphate or propylene glycol, parabens and synthetic polymers.
Then came the glorious bit – we set out on a quest to source wonderful alternatives. We spent hours finding combinations of natural and natural- derived ingredients that worked to clean and nourish the hair. We created special formulas containing ethical and environmentally friendly products.
One of my favourite ingredients that we use is Ximenia Oil, also known as Seaside Plum. This is a rich, natural, oil, widely used by Africans, that works like a serum, moisturising and smoothing the hair, leaving it soft and silky, but still manageable.
Another vital ingredient I use in my shampoos is Inulin, a natural derivative of chicory. Inulin is a prebiotic, which protects the scalp’s ecosystem, stimulating its defense barrier by preventing colonization of harmful flora. Dry, flaky patches are reduced and soothed, a healthy scalp then promotes glossy hair growth. Sugar derived cleaners gently cleanse without stripping the hair and scalp and are biodegradable.
My shampoos and conditioners also contain gorgeous health-giving vegetable proteins, an alternative to Keratin, to strengthen and thicken hair, adding volume and vitality. A substantive honey derivative smoothes the cuticle for shine and manageability, making the hair feel soft and silky while repairing any damage. Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5) increases hair elasticity and enables moisture retention.
The entire range contains fragrant mandarin oil, which makes my products smell yummy.
The important thing is that they DO work. They clean, nourish, nurture and make your hair feel glorious. There are no quick fixes. It’s important to let your scalp breathe and not use harmful chemicals. Our cleansers have larger molecules that are much less likely to pass through the scalp. There’s no petroleum, No Nasties, at all – just kind, environmentally friendly, great products.
My products are not tested on animals – but many glamorous beauties helped me as testers during the development stages! You may have read about my client list, which has included wonderful women like Sophie Dahl, Kylie Minogue and Emily Blunt. I’m enormously proud to have worked with them to make their hair as beautiful as possible.
When my chemist and I had got to a final testing stage, we put the products into plain bottles and started asking our friends and clients to try them out. It was wonderful to get first-hand experiences back from accomplished women in their own fields – who know their stuff. Many of my clients are in the public eye and they need to look good. But they also believe, as I do, in being healthy and kind to the planet, so my products really resonated with them.
I’ve tried to make the best choices I can in life. And that includes those companies I choose to do business with. Family is important to me; I still work in my father’s salon, alongside my younger brother, and I like to seek out family-owned/family-friendly firms. I also wanted to support the UK so looked for a local manufacturer. Through referrals from friends, I found my product manufacturer who is based in Kent. Many of his employees have been with him for over twenty years. When I call to check on an order, I love that I speak to the same person. It makes me feel good about doing business with them.
Balance is possible, but not every day, I know that. But I hope my products are a lovely addition to my clients’ bathroom shelves. They work, they look beautiful and they’re kind to your scalp and to the planet. By being Carbon Neutral I offset the resources I use. I do my best with what I have. I’m enormously grateful for the life I have today. Helping people look great and feel wonderful is a pretty lovely path to tread.