We chat to founder and head hairdresser, Toni Sutton-Marcus about chemicals, hair and sustainability.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to start Love Hair?
As a young hairdresser in London I was surrounded by so much creativity and innovation in my industry, I was always inspired by the latest hair trends and of course London is a great place to experiment.
I've always been an adventurer and have wanted to travel and experience other cultures. Hong Kong was the perfect destination for me because of its cosmopolitan appeal where East meets West. I love the international buzz of this place, which I now call home.
When I became sick due to various chemicals in products I made a decision that I would need to do something to cut out these harmful chemicals so I could continue in the profession I love and that's when I created Love Hair.
I took control of my future so I wouldn't have to give up hairdressing and could continue my career and also benefit the health of my clients.
I strongly believe that as an individual and as a business we need to do everything possible to be environmentally conscious and to reduce our carbon footprint. This has become our brand ethos. We strive to create awareness of this for Love Hair clients and also the hair industry in Hong Kong.
2. What are some of the environmental problems caused in regular hair salons?
Hair salons can create quite a few environmental issues including waste, which is why we recycle. We conserve energy by using energy efficient light bulbs. We use eco taps to make sure there is no water wastage.
We want to create awareness in sustainability not only at Love Hair, but throughout all other salons in Hong Kong.
3. Can you tell us about the hair products used at the salon?
In line with our brand ethos, we wanted to use hair products that do not contain any harmful chemicals but at the same time be effective in giving great results, which is key to customer satisfaction and running a successful business.
Original Mineral doesn't contain any known carcinogens and the heavy chemicals like sulphates, parabens, sodium chloride. Their colour range is ammonia, ppd and resorcinol free. They also use recyclable packaging. We also use Bhave smoothing treatment, which is made from all certified organic ingredients and not tested on animals.
4. We've heard that your eco-concept extends to more than just your hair products, can you tell us what other eco-initiatives you have developed?
We save our waste by recycling everything (foil, packaging, colour tubes, glass, plastic, paper) We use reusable and biodegradable gloves for colouring, environmentally friendly eco cleaning products and detergents, fair trade coffee, wine from sustainable farms, eco shower heads at the basins (which save 25% more water), filtered water instead of bottled, and washable hand towels in the toilet.
We also tried to incorporate anything we could into the design of the salon: eco wood flooring, shelves magazine rack and room dividers all made from reclaimed wood, more raw natural materials like rope, and energy efficient lightbulbs. We continue to constantly research and source anything else we can add or replace to be more sustainable and efficient.
5. Why do you think that it's important for businesses to advocate sustainability, and how do you think Hong Kong is adapting to this change in mindset?
We need to engage hairdressers, both in developing their own sustainability practices, and as ‘catalytic individuals’ to diffuse practices and ideas relating to responsible chemical, energy and water use across their social networks. If we could educate participating hairdressers the benefit is not just through cost savings, but through reputation enhancement, increased attractiveness to customers who value sustainable companies, positive employee response and staying ahead of the increasing body of environmental regulation.
The local community will benefit from reduced pollution and waste, which is achieved as a result of businesses changing their mindset and realising how important this is.
I do think Hong Kong is changing and awareness is spreading creating a hub of information and sources. We are hopeful that this knowledge will filter into the greater business community.