STOP PRESS! Theo is about to open his own natural hair salon in Barnes, London. It’s called Super Natural Hair. Contact Details coming soon.
Natural Hair Colour for the Modern Hepburn
When she was pregnant, Joan Rivers famously declared – ‘wake me up when the hairdresser arrives’ – Joan you are a woman after my own heart. Fabulous natural hair colour gives a girl confidence and air of invincibility, while Colourherbe, ammonia free, natural hair colour, rich in essential plant oils, promises to transform me into a head-turning, celluloid goddess.
Michel Albergon created Colourherbe, back in the groovy 1970s, and he was a man who had a great love, knowledge and passion for the therapeutic and enhancing power of plants. I made a special trip to the Grip Salon in super chic Wimbledon Village, to see what a palette of va, va voom, golden, ammonia free hair highlights, created in the eternal city of Rome, could do for an emerald princess journalist with an exciting dinner at ShangriLa at The Shard!
Let Me Share a Best Kept Secret
I’m going to share a secret that all really smart women know but seldom share. How can you mislay a decade, and have all your girlfriends clamouring to know why you look so luminous, healthy and forever young? They know you look different, but they can’t decide why.
The answer is to do your homework and find the best natural hair colour genius in town!
Theo Bambacus, the head colourist at Grip, a soignée, sought after natural hair salon in Wimbledon Village, is such a man. “I think good colourists are really frustrated artists,” he says thoughtfully. “We think like artists. I can take four or five colours and mix them and play with them to create the ultimate tone to suit your skin, your personality and your life.”
How To Look Forever Young
He also shares the best anti-ageing tip I know. “I tell all my clients that the best way to look younger for longer, is to gradually go two hair shades lighter that your natural colour, as it warms skin tones, and is incredibly youthful and flattering.”
Theo works with Colourherbe, Europe’s oldest natural pro hair colour system, with a heritage that stretches back to hip, seventies Rome. The city in which Audrey Hepburn once played the most darling, insouciant of princesses, in the film Roman Holiday. As she tore around Rome on a moped with the dashing Gregory Peck, there wasn’t a hair out of place on that lovely head.
Theo, who looks Italian, but is from Australia, is a sought after colourist and Colourherbe tutor, with clients returning year after year for his natural colour alchemy skills. Theo prescribes a halo of pretty, spun golden highlights, just in time for the summer dresses I am going to pull out of my trunk and the exciting events and interviews I have coming up for Ethical Hedonist.
A Passion for Healthy Living Led Theo To A Career in Natural and Organic Hairdressing
During our colour session, Theo tells me that he became interested in natural and organic hairdressing back in his native Australia. “I was always health conscious and naturally very curious. I wanted to know what went into shampoos and colour products, and the more I read, the more worried I became.” When he read in the American Journal of Epidemiology that hair colourists were five times more likely to develop bladder cancer after ten years of use, he made the switch to working with natural colour and organic styling aids and them moved to the UK, where the organic and natural movement is more established and innovative than anywhere else in the world.
So how does Colourherbe Work?
Theo says, “All permanent hair colour is an oxidative process to swell open the hair shaft and deposit colour pigment inside.” Mainstream, conventional brands achieve this with the use of ammonia, which is highly alkaline and bleach. It is hard for any hair company, no matter how alluring, to deny that this is a harsh, damaging process, where the hair cuticle is damaged, and there is also a risk of allergic reaction. It isn’t good for the health hairdressers or their clients, especially when a great part of the hair industry plays on women’s fear of ageing and the aspiration to looks good, which is as old as time. ( I experienced this myself, after having my hair dyed in a top London salon. I was left with third degree burns on my forehead and hairline, which took three years to heal. I immediately made the switch to natural colour).
Colourherbe and Herbatint take a different approach. The colour system uses peroxide and herbal oils and plant extracts to gently open the hairshaft, creating a ph environment, where colour pigment can tone or replace the existing pigment in the hair’s cortex. As the hair isn’t left damaged, there is no need to coat the hair in silicone based shampoos and styling aids to seal and mend the broken hair cuticle. The other advantage is that instead of a block of one dimensional colour, a tonal range can be achieved adding movement and multi-dimensional colour tones to the hair.
Nor is this achieved at the expense of a great colour result or grey coverage that doesn’t last. Theo says “Because the products we use really nourish, protect and condition the hair too, the life of the colour is extended, so you won’t need to have your colour done as often.”
You Can Achieve Any Look You Want with Organic and Natural Colour
Theo has been using Colourherbe and Herbatint for the past fourteen years and says there is nothing he can’t achieve with this ammonia free and synthetic fragrance free hair colour. “It’s nonsense to say that you can’t achieve fabulous styling looks with organic and natural hair products. In fact they are better and keep the hair in glorious condition. If you want to achieve a natural looking colour, then you can create a really naturally looking colour. If you want something more vibrant and a bit crazy, you can achieve that as well – they cover all bases.”
A Hair Salon that Smells Like a Garden at The Chelsea Flower Show
Now have I told you have wonderful this salon smells? The first thing that hits me when I walk into bijou natural hair salon, is that it smells more like a prize-winning garden at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show than a hair salon. There is no smell of chemicals, just a calming, serene space filled with the uplifting aromas of plants. The effect is wonderfully calming and intoxicating. Welcome to the future of hairdressing – a truly life and hair enhancing emerald experience, where harsh irritating chemical haircare has been replaced by a pharmacopia of plant extracts and hair elixirs and the exciting possibility of gentle colour transformation – all made possible by harnessing the art and science of plants, flowers and herbs.
An Emerald, Swishable Blow Dry For a Hot Date at The Shard
After a fabulous, swishable blow dry, Theo celebrates by practically eating the super organic hairspray (see our selfie!) and I have a luminous, tumbling mane of golden, botanical tresses, just in time for me to dash over to the Shard for dinner on the 35th floor! I can tell you that I left a botanical, sweet smelling trail all the way to The Shangri-La Hotel – Theo, you have just become a very, very important man in my life!
Theo’s Emerald Carpet Hair Tips
“I believe everyone looks their best one to two shades lighter or darker than their natural colour. (Nature knows best)” As you age, it is best to go for the lighter approach, as dark colours can be draining.
“As for the problem of colouring and ever increasing amount of grey hair, gradually lightening the colour over a period of years will be the best option for staying on top of re growth and maintaining a flattering shade for your skin tone as you age”
“Adding warm gold tones are flattering on almost everyone, they add warmth and life to the skin and reflect more light giving a youthful glow to the skin, ash or cool tones on the other hand absorb the light, look duller and drain the colour from the skin”
Lighter tips and tortoiseshell hues to add interest. Kim Kardashian has recently gone blonde, so that will be the thing to do for summer.
What Makes Colourherbe and Herbatint Different
Colourherbe was created in the 1970s by Michel Albergo – he was inspired to create a gentle, ammonia free hair colour range based on his knowledge of plants and their traditional us in enhancing and conditioning the hair.
Colourherbe and Herbatint Colours (Herbatint is the consumer range for home use) are based on plant extracts and are free from – ammonia, artificial fragrance and alcohol.
Colourherbe and Herbatint Colours are not tested on animals and suitable for vegans.
To find a Colourherbe Pro Salon – www.colourherbe.co.uk
To Buy Herbatint for Home Colour Use – www.herbatint.co.uk
Remember – Always Do a Patch Test Before Using Any Form of Hair Colour.
This article is supported By Colourherbe UK – Colourherbe is an EH Hero Company – Supporting Sustainable and Ethical Publishing to grow and flourish. As a journalist, I promise to tell the truth about companies, products or services we feature. And if I am not impressed you will be able to read why in a fair and balanced way. On this occasion I was delighted with the result and the pictures speak for themselves. I received an admiring wolf whistle on the way into town, and no I don’t think wolf whistling should be outlawed, so long as it is done with charm!