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Hairdressing the Green Way – Stevie English.

May 21, 2009

About every eight weeks I head off to the hairdressers for a quick tidy up and colour. Like many people I do this for a number of reasons a) vanity, b) a bit of “me” time, c) professional image, d) for fun!  Whatever the reason there is nothing quite like a colour and cut to make you feel more human again- especially after this week of brain drain in the run up to the Science Festival!

This time I trooped off to Glebe, a delightful suburb with a village feel on the western outskirts of Sydney. I was on my way to see the Twitter legend that is Stevie English whom I have been encouraging to get on board with the “Realize Beauty” groove!

I met Steve last week after a brief exchange of Tweets to talk business. His salon attracted me firstly because of its bold and ballsy style –  a little bit Sex Pistols-meets -postmodern-glam if that makes any sense. Whatever it is it is striking and uniquely welcoming.  If you don’t just want someone to “do” you hair, you want them to “feel” your hair – this is the place to come.

More intriguing than the bespoke wallpaper in the main salon or  the mesmerizing floral printed ceiling in the washroom is the salons philosophy.  This is why I think that everyone needs to see Steve!

stevie english

The salon was designed with the environment in mind with Steve choosing water saving devices, recycled furniture, efficient gas water heating and low wattage lighting (nice and relaxing!). Steve offsets his emissions through Climate Friendly to ensure that with every cut, colour and blow dry  the salon pays its dues.  The courtyard out the back is further testament to the salons green mission being home to the bikes and surfboards of the salon staff who are truly living the green dream!

Another reason to visit the salon is for the great selection of environmentally conscious products on offer. Steve uses O&M hair colourants which are ammonia free and full of botanicals. This, I had to try!  The O&M permanent hair colourant system works in the same way as traditional colourants but instead of having ammonia as the dye activator and pH adjuster they use Sodium Sulfate and instead of plain old peroxide there is Sodium perborate – time for a little chemistry!

Ammonia is the stuff in hair dye that stinks. I am sure that most of us can recall the awful stench that comes with traditional permanent (and semi-permanent) hair dyes.  As well as stinking ammonia is not good for your lungs, in fact it is quite an irritant and can cause  damage with long-term exposure in poorly ventilated spaces.  What ammonia does is increase the pH of the mixture  which on the hair side, softens the cuticle so that it opens up and in the hair dye it gets the colours ready to react with the peroxide part.   O & M have removed the Ammonia and replaced it with sodium Sulfate.  This chemical does occur naturally but is most often synthetically produced. In these hair dyes it also increases the pH so that the mixture is alkali which helps to open the cuticle and activate the colourants. The good thing about Sodium Sulfate is that it does it without the smell and irritation.

O&M also state that their formulation contains no Peroxide. Well,  that is true, but the formulation does contain Sodium Perborate which when put into an alkali solution starts to break down to form Hydrogen Peroxide and Water in the mixing pot!    Sodium Perborate is most often found in washing powders where the peroxide helps to gently whiten clothes and get rid of stains.  In the hair formulation it is the peroxide that helps with hair lightening and the colour depositing process.

The actual  hair colourant chemicals in the O & M range are the same as can be found in other brands. The permanent dyes work by entering the softened cuticle and then polymerizing (join-up) so that they are too big to leave! This is what makes the colour a permanent fixture!

Read the Vogue  interview with O&M Founder Jose Bryce Smith here.

In addition to O & M the salon also uses Kevin Murphy’s wonderfully aromatic shampoos, conditioners and styling products along with Eco Kid for your little lovelies!

Well, I guess that the proof is in the pudding or so they say and I was and still am very happy with my cut, colour and overall experience.  I am excited to have Steve on board with the Realize Beauty mission and look forward to bringing the Stevie English experience to the Realize Beauty audience at our Sydney CBD launch set for late August.  If you can’t wait until then I thoroughly recommend popping down to Glebe Point Road and pulling up a chair, your good hair day awaits!

PS: They also serve a brilliant range of beverages from their mini-cafe along with an afternoon delight or two from the cooler shelf!

PPS: I would share a photo with you but my camera is missing in action – will replace soon, promise!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2009 11:36 pm

    So Glad you love the interior and that it helped make you walk in. That was totally our vision for Stevie’s salon. The pattern on the wall in the main salon is punk_regal and the back wall is mod_regal.

    We were very conscience to make sure that the look was consistent with stevie english and to make the salon layout to make everyone feel part of the whole glamorous life that is the salon.

    The wallpaper on the ceiling is poppy again because when getting one’s hair washed that pretty much the only place you look.

    Limiting the colour pallete for the salon keeps it easy to manage look and style wise and the minimal colour minimizes any issues with it effecting colouring – obviously something really important to stevie.

    Everything of course available from our website

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink
      May 22, 2009 9:00 am

      Mal I just love your work. The wallpaper selection on your website is amazing. Thanks for expanding on the design element of the salon. Great!

  2. May 22, 2009 12:16 am

    Great post, would you say that your interaction with Stevie on Twitter was a way to build your relationship before experiencing the salon in real life as a customer? Did it make a difference?

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink
      May 22, 2009 8:46 am

      Hi there,
      Yes it was Twitter that started it all. I have also linked up with other interesting people through twitter and have been able to strike up some great business relationships!

  3. Mark & Sharon Corthine permalink
    May 25, 2009 8:28 pm

    A really informative and worthwhile article, so pleased that liked the feel of the Salon and enjoyed the Stevie English experience. Tip and Mal are amazing designers and super people! We can’t say too much about Stevie, as we are biased! However, we know that he’s very professional and a really nice Guy. We are so prould of him and his team.


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