Hair today for a greener tomorrow
If you're an anti-plastic ninja, eco warrior princess who wants super-sexy hair meet Jo of Gilded Hair, a woman who's big on style and sustainability.
We love Gilded Hair founder Jo Gilder’s super-creative, soulful approach to hair. Not only is her salon ridiculously cool (a delicious retro vibe), she’s also leading the charge on sustainability without compromising on style. Based in Holme Grange Craft Village in Wokingham, the 40-year-old is hellbent on being kind to the planet while making you still look and feel your sexiest. Cue much slo-mo hair swishing (just me then). We had a natter about her green vision…
Tell use why it’s good to have green hair?
I’ve always been a green nerd with a passionate soul for the environment. Trying to bring it into the hair industry was an extremely difficult choice because the hair industry is notoriously difficult to break. There’s a lot of plastic and the chemicals we use means that some packaging can’t be recycled.
When we first opened Gilded Hair there was stuff that we consciously changed. Swapping normal washable towels for compostable, single-use towels, for example. From there, it was a case of researching brands that we could bring into the salon that would enable for us to be a lot kinder to the planet.
Enter stage left Kevin Murphy…
For anyone who hasn’t’t heard of Kevin Murphy, he’s an Aussie stylist with a long career in fashion, runway, editorial and film. He’s most famous for looking after Kylie’s luscious locks, but he has created a natural hair care brand – colour and styling products – that recreates high-fashion runway looks, while always remaining environmentally friendly.
A lot of the reason why I looked into Kevin Murphy is the fact it fits in with my passion for fashion and performance but ticks all my boxes with the environment. The colour lasts longer, fades naturally, kind to your scalp and you don’t need a science degree to know what’s in it: lemon, citrus, bamboo leaf, patchouli… the list of essential oils is endless.
You get the same result but without the nasties. Natural products require a bit more time and effort to get the best out of them because they are parabon and sulphate free. You don’t automatically get that foamy sensation and felling of cleanliness as soon as it comes out of the bottle. You have to work those oils but the results are 10 times better. Your skin feels better, the oils do a better job on our hair, the natural ingredients are so much better for your skin. Job’s a goodun.
Do people care if your eco?
I think they do. We’ve seen a massive swing in clients asking about our green credentials and whether our products are vegan-friendly, particularly after good ol’ Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet. We are a visual industry and the visual aspect of what he showed in that series has touched a lot more people. There was a time,when I was a kid, if you tried to be different and tried to look after the environment you were weird, now it’s cool.
When people can see for themselves the devastating impact humans have had on the planet it becomes quite shocking. They’ll say to themselves ‘I do want to change and ‘small changes can make a big differences’. Of course, better products and branding makes a difference.
Plus in June this year, all of Kevin Murphy’s bottles will be made from recycled ocean plastic, saving 360 tons of plastic each year. Up to 8million tons of plastic make their way into the oceans each year so every little helps. Brilliant, right?
How green can you go?
We’ve just started do Kevin Murphy refills. So bring your bottles back, top up and you get 15% off the price. Less plastic waste and costs you less too. We’re also looking into getting eco-friendly gowns and capes, but we’re already ysing sugar cane colour bowls, so we don’t waste water cleaning them out. We also only use a the minimal amount of colour. Once disposed of, the bowl will break down within 3 months. It can’t be recycled, but it can reduce the amount of land fill.
Most the salons I have worked with in the past never really wanted to go down this road, mainly because of the cost. It’s a little bit more expensive. There’s more stuff to store, but it’s worth it to look after the planet we live in. That’s just they way it works for most business people. But my world, my children’s future, our children’s children’s future is at stake and if we don’t do something now, that’s it.
It’s cool to be kind, was that the ethos of Gilded?
I remember going to my nan’s favourite Bracknell salon and seeing the same people every week and you’d go and hang out. That sense of community got lost when franchising came in, fashion and trends – it became a supermarket. But hairdressing is much much more than that. The vibe and community in that salon was the very reason why I went into to hairdressing. I wanted to revive the loving atmosphere, everyone chatting and sharing gossip.
We create hair for you to work with you. I want to be as environmentally friendly as I can, but I have a job to do. Good results require conscious choices. I will do everything in my power to make your appointment a happy, soulful enjoyable experience and create great hair that makes people feel sexy.
What’s next for Gilded Hair?
I am already a Kevin Murphy educator training hairdressers, but I want to take that education to the people. Teach mums, dads, grandparents and carers how to braid plait, wash and brush kids hair properly. Most parents both work, so we don’t have time. We all want to look great and feel great but don’t have the tools to do it or we have all the gear but no idea. So we’ll do blow-dry lessons. You bring in your equipment and we’ll show you how to use it properly so you can get the look in the quickest amount of time.
Jo is waiting for the nod to announce some very very exciting news. She has wrestled me to the ground and gagged me. So I’m staying schtum, but you’ll be the first to know
Gilded Hair, Unit 18 Holme Grange Craft Village, Heathlands Road, Wokingham, RG40 3AW