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Organic hair? You what?

Who knew you could give your hair organic TLC?! But can ammonia-free, vegan hair dye deliver the goods?

Harriet's Organic Hairdressing Stroud exterior

Ever since I started going grey after popping my first sprog (literally overnight, going grey that is, not giving birth – that took 72 hideous hours!!), I’ve been whacking anything on my barnet to hide the ever-increasing aging strands. At home, in salon – as long as I came out blonde I was happy and I’d never really thought about all the chemicals in the dyes and what harm they might be doing. So when I saw Harriet’s Organic Hairdressing sitting neatly at the top of Stroud’s High Street, I thought, “What’s all that about then?” and promptly booked myself in for an appointment to road test organic hair colour.



Cover up my skunk’s strip of greys and give me shiny blonde locks without the use of bleach or any other unfriendly chemicals.



interior of Harriet's Organic Hairdressers with quirky found furniture

One of the quirkiest hairdressers I’ve ever been to, owner Harriet has fitted out her salon with upcycled vintage finds, mismatched furniture and homely touches that make you feel sooo relaxed (rather than mildly inadequate which is how I often feel when I visit the hairdressers). Opened by Harriet three years ago, it’s garnered awards – Muddy Awards Finalist, Stroud Life Business Awards Winner – for its organic ethos inspired by Harriet’s wakeup call after her daughter suffered terrible eczema and she started scrutinising labels for nasties and discovered there were a lot in hair products.

interior details Harriet's Organic teacup and teapot

Tasty interiors, tea and TLC is all part of the service



My consultation started with a stretch test to see what condition my hair was in. Mine was dry at the roots and weaker towards the ends (not surprising considering all the ammonia it’s been mainlining), so Harriet applied an Aqua Boost treatment to add moisture at the roots and a Power Boost at the ends to saturate them with strengthening protein. I then sat back for ten minutes listening to John Martyn (yes, not your usual in-salon playlist).

organic hair products

Organic hair heroes lined up for action

After it was washed off it was time for the colour. Harriet uses ammonia-free, paraben-free, vegan-suitable Organic Colour Systems, and likes to apply it to wet not dry hair as it takes more effectively because the cuticles are open. She chose three colours for me – one to match my natural shade, one two shades lighter and one two shades darker – to create contrast and texture, and proceeded to foil me up.

Organic Colour System products

Organic Colour Systems I’m ready for ya!

After however long it was – I got engrossed in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun which I picked from the bookshelf (goodbye Hello!, hello culture!) so lost track of time – it was washed off and another nourishing treatment applied. I felt like I was in a hair spa!

I’m growing my hair, so I just had a trim and then Harriet blow-dried it giving it a nice bouncy curl.



blonde hair after organic highlights

Ta-dah – gorgeous blonde locks and my hair felt positively glowing with health instead of that slightly hot feeling your scalp gets after it’s absorbed a dose of ammonia. Harriet had told me that the results aren’t as predictable as they are with non-organic colour, but this was one of the best colour jobs I’ve had!



Not only is Harriet’s good for your hair, it’s also kind to your bank balance – a full head of highlights costs from £52.50 to £68.50, a cut £21 to £25 and treatments are complimentary. And, the healthier your hair becomes, the longer the colour will last, so going organic gets you’re in a virtuous circle of saving your hair and your money!

Harriet’s Organic Hairdressing, 33 High Street, Stroud, Glos GL5 1AJ. Tel: 01453 759666.

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