In The Chair With Tabitha James Kraan
Did you know? It is estimated that the average woman uses up to 150 chemicals in her daily routine. This number may not even consider the use of our hair care and hygiene products!
Tabitha James Kraan, Founder of Tabitha James Kraan Haircare, has been making waves in the cosmetic industry with her organic hair care products. Formulating shampoos and conditioners that not only clean and nourish the hair, but also works in harmony with the environment.
Washing away misconceptions that organic haircare isn't as effective, we put Tabitha in the chair and discuss her journey towards formulating organic hair care, her values and how the industry needs to clean up its act...
Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did Tabitha James Kraan haircare come to be?
I am a total hair geek - I started pioneering organic hairdressing in 1999 in my UK salons. My journey led me to conclude that we have been abusing our hair for a long time and that we have literally been washing the life out of it. I discovered early on that hair responds much better when it's nurtured by nature, with natural and organic ingredients. I decided that I was no longer prepared to wait for the haircare products I craved and set out to develop my own range, based on my three core principles:
1. Oil Balancing - 2. Correct Cleansing - 3. Moisture Layering
The result was my multi-award winning, organic, British-made haircare, which works in harmony with your body for the ultimate hair & scalp health, encouraging you to start a love affair with your hair.
What made you go organic?
For me, it is about honesty and integrity. I believe passionately that the cosmetic industries need to clean up their act for the sake of the planet and all of those who inhabit it. I also believe that we need transparency for consumers so that they can see what they are really getting in their products to enable them to make informed choices.
My journey started with thinking about the health of the people I was working on in my salon back in 1999; if I was going to switch to natural, then it had to be the best quality, so that I could achieve the highest performance. Then, I started by thinking about the consequences of using the purist formulations possible and how that could drive change by re-setting the standard. Organic, as well as natural, was the only way to do that to ensure that the purity started with the way the ingredients were grown and followed through the entire production process. Organic, for me, now is as much about the needs of our planet, as well as the need for clean ingredients for our bodies, and the big bonus is that it is also better for the performance of our hair and scalp.
Creating an efficient organic haircare product is notoriously difficult. Why is this?
Hair care is traditionally made with highly toxic chemicals and it's impossible to create these naturally.
Shampoos, for example, are made with synthetic detergents. Often, these can be the same ingredients as industrial floor cleaner - they are de-greasants designed to remove all traces of oil. Then, plastics, silicones and other buffing ingredients are added to mask the problems caused by the stripping effect that those ingredients have on the hair. None of these ingredients are traditionally organic; most of them are seriously harmful to the hair and scalp, and are far from ideal to be ingested into the body or to be washed into our water systems.
My focus as an organic hairdresser was to find effective ways to deal with what the hair and scalp really need to perform in a healthy balanced way. I had to rethink the processes of hair care and come up with new solutions to manage consumer issues around their hair and scalp needs. I have 30 years of industry experience and a deep understanding of how the hair and scalp behave - my goal was high performance organic hair care. This combination of ingredients to find new ways to wash hair takes a deep understanding of the behaviour of the hair and scalp.
Why do you think Soil Association's beauty and wellbeing campaigns are important?
I love that recent campaigns have been so bold in calling companies to account. The Soil Association Come Clean About Beauty and Organic Beauty & Wellbeing Week campaigns finally gives a platform for those of us who want to make a difference and show that it can be done differently. The Soil Association stamp is a wonderful way to provide this evidence to consumers.
Best career advice you’ve been given?
Never give up! There is always a solution to every problem you face and running a business is all about being good at problem solving.