Jessica is part of Claire Hair Boutique’s team in Mandurah, Western Australia and has been a hairdresser since she was 16. Six months into her first year of apprenticeship, she committed to the vegan lifestyle. Jessica told us about her motivation and challenges of being a vegan hairdresser and shares her secret tips for a healthy working life in the salon.
Why did you choose to live the vegan lifestyle?
It began with wanting to better my health and the realisation that I don’t want to be a contributor to animal cruelty. I became aware of the non-necessity for animal products in my diet and I only wanted to support brands and products that are either cruelty free and/or certified vegan. My skin was breaking out a lot at the time and since cutting out dairy I have maintained much improved complexion and a healthy and happy body.
Which challenges do/did you face as a vegan hairdresser?
The hardest thing for me was making the plunge of moving from where I did my training to now being at Claire Hair. But it was worth it – I made the switch to certified organic, cruelty-free, ammonia-, sulfate- and paraben-free and to being in a salon that supports recycling everything we use. We are mindful of the health of not just us as hairdressers, but also our clientele and the effects of a cleaner environmental footprint. I always knew Claire was the only organic colour salon in my area – so if I ever wanted to try a new workplace this salon would be for the better of my health and for the wellbeing of my clients, too.
Which changes could you feel after switching to natural products?
My eyes don’t water from the colours, and there is no toxic smell – it actually doesn’t smell at all. The shampoos are like an aromatherapy experience at the basin with all the essential oils and I love that, even though they are sulfate-free, they lather up better than many others I’ve used in the past. My clients’ hair does not feel coated, but clean and lightweight. I have worked alongside many girls that have started there apprenticeships and have left due to severe reactions, especially on their hands. It’s becoming more and more common in the industry – I wish more salons used NATULIQUE! Moreover, we have a big demand from our clientele that has allergies or sensitivities to regular colour. Being able to give them a gentle alternative with no reactions makes it so worth it.
What are your secret tips to lead a healthy and sustainable lifestyle as a hairdresser?
Keep hydrated – I swear by coconut water! Everytime you mix a colour or get your clients a beverage, think of yourself, too! If you yourself are a hairdresser working for a brand that you don’t support 100% – don’t be scared to do your research. Knowledge is key and the more of us being aware of the harmful effects of toxic colours and products, the sooner we can create a domino effect to get the awareness out there, that there is a safer product for everyone.
My greatest fear was not knowing what my health will be like 30 or 40 years from now, working full-time as a hairdresser and using toxic chemicals. With a product like NATULIQUE I can rest easy, knowing I can still do what I love – without feeling guilty about what I’m doing to the environment, what I’m putting on my clients hair and most of all how my career could be deteriorating my health.
What is your greatest motivation to be a hairdresser?
The people I meet everyday and the conversations I have with likeminded people that are aware of the harmful chemicals in our everyday life. I love being able to use my creativity for the greater good. I’m so happy to be working somewhere that supports me as a vegan and I have many vegan clients coming to me too which excites me!