A Staffordshire couple’s passion for sustainability has led to the launch of their very own eco hair care brand, OSHUN. Amy Norbury discovers more – and you could win a bundle to try
As a hairdresser with nearly 20 years of experience, Selina di Piazza knows a thing or two about shampoo. So when she was looking for a more environmentally-friendly option for her Stoke-on-Trent salon, she was disappointed about the lack of options.
It was while on holiday with her partner, Lee Jones, that Selina hit upon the idea of taking matters into her own hands.
Lee says: “While on a gorgeous coastal holiday Selina and I discussed ideas to improve Selina’s already successful business. Upon returning home we shared our ideas with a friend who suggested we create our own product range. Although this was a much larger undertaking than our initial plans, having your very own brand made for an exciting challenge.
“This provided the freedom to formulate exactly the type of products Selina had been recommending to her clients for years, with the added ability to put our own twist on things.”
Selina adds: “Upon researching the cosmetic industry, we became all too aware of the harmful effects to the environment, predominantly caused by the products themselves and single use plastic waste. Rather than turning a blind eye, the journey veered in a new direction of responsibility and added values.
“This defined our slogan: ‘healthy hair, healthy planet’.
“First and foremost, the products must improve the health and quality of your hair, otherwise what is the point of using them? Secondly, we try to be a part of the solution. We are facing an existential crisis due to various forms of pollution, so everything we do is with the planet’s health in mind.
“From day one we knew our business had to give back in some way, so we very proudly became members of the Ocean Network. Included in all our products price is a one per cent donation to Surfers Against Sewage, ensuring every purchase you make directly supports a wonderful charitable organisation.
“The name OSHUN is inspired by the African deity who represents beauty, purity, and love. Oshun was one of many names we had considered but once other aspects of our business took shape, it also became a play on words for the word ocean. It was the perfect fit.”
OSHUN was born following many late nights at home on the laptop, researching the market and finding manufacturers who fitted in with their sustainable ethos.
“It felt like a daunting task initially, especially as many emails and phone calls went unanswered, but before long we had whittled down the potential manufacturers and started work on the formulations and sampling the products,” says Lee.
“We are very fortunate that Selina has more than 100 clients, the majority of whom have been excited and willing to test the sample formulations. Having access to honest and direct feedback has proven invaluable and been a real joy seeing their recommendations come to fruition.”
The OSHUN range includes a selection of shampoos and conditioners, including a Blonde Boost shampoo and Clarifying shampoo, as well as an argan serum, heat defence spray and intensive mask. All of OSHUN’s products are manufactured in the UK, minimising carbon emissions and guaranteeing strict standards are adhered to, including cruelty free and vegan credentials. The products are bottled in aluminium, recycled ocean plastics or glass and are intended to be refilled and reused, drastically reducing single use waste. Cost-saving aluminium refill pouches are also due to launch.
“We only manufacture in small batches to ensure none of our products ever hit landfill,” says Selina. “This does mean that it’s first come, first served!
“We also wanted products that looked like an accessory to the bathroom, different to anything else on the shelves, distinguishable. Each product has individual artwork which really helps in the shower as you’re trying to decide ‘is this shampoo or conditioner?’.
“Another reason the design was so important to us was because we want our customers to retain their bottle to be refilled.”
While the ethos behind OSHUN is to be good for your hair and the planet, Selina and Lee acknowledge that it is about striking a balance between principles and quality.
“With regards to the products and being environmentally friendly, we can’t claim all are free from SLS, SLES, parabens and sulphates,” says Lee.
“OSHUN products are intended to bridge the gap between luxury and environmentally-friendly, with a few stops along the way. Our consumer research indicated not everyone is ready to completely go green just yet, as eco choices often mean sub-standard products. For our customers that require added protection or moisture enhancement, those options are available. We just hope in time you are willing to try our friendlier products also. And with that in mind, we promise to always prioritise the formulation of good-for-the-earth cosmetics.
“The Natural Blend shampoo and conditioners currently provide our most responsible choice, but keep your eyes peeled because there is an even greener option on the way in the new year.”
The reaction to OSHUN’s products has been overwhelmingly positive, with the soft launch selling out and clients coming back for refills.
“The first refill sale is the proudest moment so far,” says Selina, “and we’ve even had family members sneakily using our products!
“Hairdressing has always been a massive passion and I genuinely care about my clients and their hair. That’s why creating this brand was so important and special; to get people’s hair in the best condition possible while giving back and striking a balance with nature.”
For more information on the full product line visit www.oshunbrand.com
For your chance to win an OSHUN haircare bundle comprising the signature Natural Blend shampoo and conditioner in your choice of aluminium or amber recycled plastic bottle simply answer the following question:
What inspired the name OSHUN?
Send your answer, along with your name and contact details by email to email@example.com with the email subject OSHUN Competition. Entries must be received by 5pm on Friday, December 16, 2022. The winner will be notified by email.
Terms and conditions apply; for more details visit www.jaimemagazine.com