Looking to give your hair an ethical, organic pamper? As part of her vegan challenge, Healthista writer Parisa Hashempour went down to Karine Jackson salon in London for an organic cut and colour and vegan-friendly vibes
With more and more people in the UK plunging head-first into a vegan lifestyle (numbers of people turning to a vegan diet are up 360% in the past decade) it’s no wonder top London hairdressers Karine Jackson have launched a new vegan hairdressing service.
Having taken on the Veganuary challenge I thought it was a good time to take steps towards more ethical choices around what I put on my body as well as what I put into it. I headed to Karine Jackson to try out the animal-free service and learned a little bit more about the organic hair colour they use and why they’re the best hair-stop for London’s vegans.
Aussie-born Karine Jackson has long been an advocate of organic colouring and hairdressing. She’s former London Hairdresser of the Year and current holder of the Most Wanted Hair Trend award.
Karine Jackson salon – vegan-friendly?
Munching away on my dairy-free cookie I asked Jackson why her salon is THE best place for vegans looking for an organic, ethical chop. ‘Both our colour range and our products are vegan friendly. Plus we’ve got a vegan working here in the salon so it’s really important to us we look after our own,’ she told me with a nod and smile in the direction of Katie, the salon’s resident plant-eater. The cookie was delicious and almost incentive enough but I wanted to learn a little bit more about the products the salon uses.
Karine Jackson uses Organic Colour Systems, a colour company that doesn’t test on animals and based in the UK. They’re not just cruelty free but boast a small carbon footprint too as all packaging is recyclable – I was definitely on board with that. But the best part about Organic Colour Systems is the very limited use of synthetic ingredients. Organic colour systems use natural ingredients, minimising your exposure to toxins.
‘I had a client who had cancer and she wanted to use products wither fewer chemicals,’ Jackson explained to me, adding she originally had doubts about how well natural products would work. But when she realised what went into colour she was shocked. ‘So I tried a few products out, some of them were rubbish and then I tried this one… and it worked.’
How does Organic Colour Systems work?
‘I wouldn’t advocate a product on the strength of its ethics alone, it must work!’ says Jackson. And according to her, Organic Colour Systems do just that. The colour system uses non-drip gel formulas made from a natural base. Using natural ingredients in the colours means less exposure to toxins. The colours also contain no ammonia and a low level of pdds (the ingredient that makes hair colour permanent but is also responsible for skin sensitivities and allergies).This means the colour is less likely to aggravate your skin.
the best part about Organic Colour Systems is the very limited use of synthetic ingredients… natural ingredients are used instead minimising your exposure to toxins
‘Did you notice the lack of smell [during the treatment]?’ Jackson asked me. ‘It’s just all round healthier for you, you’re not breathing it in. I used to have a cough, it sounded like I was a smoker and I’m not. And as soon as I stopped using conventional colour my cough stopped’ she told me.
But not all of their ingredients are natural. According to the salon, sometimes natural ingredients can’t match the effectiveness of chemical alternatives and in this case the manufacturer use small amounts of high grade chemical additives.
After getting settled into my chair with a couple of vegan cookies and a herbal tea I talked through my hair with Karine. She was warm and friendly and oozed confidence in her products and the techniques she wanted to use. I told her I wanted a low-maintenance look and we both decided I needed my scraggy split ends chopped off. First she used a colour fan to figure out which shades suited me best. One side of the fan had dark colours and the other side was warmer. ‘We don’t work with particular shades here because we feel everyone’s skin tone is different.’ she told me.
Deciding I’d suit a warmer shade of brown, Jackson chose a few colours that she could merge into my hair to give my hair a subtle colour gradient. ‘I’ve started with the darker colour and gold on the top, then just gone one shade lighter and then another shade lighter so you just get a real gentle, subtle merging of colour. It’s really shiny, makes the hair look healthy but also because you didn’t want to have high maintenance hair it grows out lovely as well’ she explained to me.
The colour was applied and I waited for it to set and she was right, there was very minimal odour coming from the colour mixture. I was also surprised at how quickly the dye took to my hair. I felt as though I were sat waiting for it to set for what felt like no time at all. My hair felt warm and ever so slightly itchy but the colour sat pretty comfortably on my hair for the most part. No heat was used on my hair, I just sat with a tall bag on my head to keep in the heat.
Next, my hair was washed and a protein treatment was applied. ‘It goes inside and repairs the hair from the inside, rebuilding it’ Jackson explained to me. ‘When you have dry hair you get little gaps in it, as thought it were cement and little bits of mortar have fallen out. So that’s what we were replacing today – the little bits of mortar.’ I sat and waited for the treatment to work. My hair was slimy and moist but again, I didn’t have to wait around for very long. I didn’t mind it sitting on my hair because it smelt lovely and I found that afterwards I had that just-left-the-salon type softness that you only ever get in your hair after a much-needed trip to the hairdressers.
‘We do a strand test on your hair to see which product is going to be the right product for you. We don’t just out anything on it. That’s all part of the consultation’ I was told. A protein treatment was needed for my hair because it had been frazzled and damaged in the past by bleach.
The colour was so deep and rich I could hardly believe the formula was any different to conventional hair colour I’d used in the past
Finally my hair was cut, unconventionally and terrifyingly with hair clippers. They buzzed scarily around me but gave my hair an amazingly blunt edge. And I LOVED it. The colour was so deep and rich I could hardly believe the formula was any different to conventional hair colour I had used in the past. The subtle shades of brown moved in the light and brought out the redder tones in my hair. I also noticed that in the following few washes none of the colour had yet come out in the shower and my hair is retaining the colour really well.
All in all, I had a fantastic experience and was made-up that my hair is now certified vegan-friendly.
New hair trend: The Mo-Mu
While I wasn’t brave enough to add any layers to my locks, Jackson told me that choppy, feathered 70s vibes are THE hair trend to look out for in 2017. ‘Here we’ve got something that we call the Mo-Mu, which is the modern mullet. We do loads of them. So it’s having shorter on the top and then it comes in to longer at the bottom. It’s very seventies she revealed.
The look takes a classic mullet shape and reinvents itself for the modern day. Sported by A-listers such as Zendaya and Edie Campbell it certainly seems to be one to watch.
‘Being an eighties girl I liked the original style – I’m a closet lover of the mullet! The Mo-Mu represents a change of shape, which we haven’t had for a while but it must be done well – it can’t be like the old fashioned mullet. It’s a nod to the shape but with the glamour we love today’. As on-trend as it is, you’d have to be brave to jump straight into this hair trend. But who knows, by summer we might all be sporting Mo-Mu’s.