Behind The Scenes Of Hairstory With Eli Halliwell

One thing we've put at the top of our "To-Do" list is to finally look after our hair, consistently. On this quest, we discovered an innovative hair care company, called Hairstory, and to say our hair has fallen in love with their products would be an understatement.

Ditching our old shampooing and conditioning rituals was liberating. Hairstory's New Wash opened our eyes to an easy non-harmful way to cleanse our scalp without damaging our luscious locks.

We needed to know more about Hairstory, and who better to ask than its co-founder. Here's what Eli Halliwell had to say about where Hairstory came from and where it is going;

Walk us through your experience in the haircare industry?

I've run a hair care company, a skincare company and was a Senior Executive at Estee Lauder, so I've had pretty good exposure to all aspects of beauty including makeup and fragrance. I love that hair care products have a clear purpose, a specific function and they definitely work.

My first exposure to hair care was when a family friend, Michael Gorden (the founder of Bumble and bumble), and his godson, Tevya Finger, asked me to help create a product company. When I joined, I learned that not only are hair care products really beneficial and useful for customers, they're also powerful tools for hairdressers as well.

How did your experience at Bumble and bumble inspire you to start Hairstory?

Bumble was the first hair care company to skip selling through distributors and create direct relationships with salons where their products were sold. It meant that we had to structure our business differently; we needed to create deep and meaningful relationships directly with the hairdressers and the salon owners who were selling our products.

Hairstory was created to give hairdressers an opportunity to participate in e-commerce, to join the modern economy. My experience with BB showed me that hairdressers are the best way to introduce hair products to new customers because of trust.

So how did New Wash join the story?

I knew that we needed a unique and differentiated offering to bring to hairdressers who would join our new movement. Michael Gordon and Jackie Bauer had been working on a new, very small line of products based on the idea that you could clean hair without using any detergent. This concept resonated with me immediately because every hairdresser I had talked to for years always told me to wash with shampoo as infrequently as possible because the shampoo was stripping my hair. When I tried the new product that ultimately became New Wash, I was blown away. When I stepped out of the shower that first time, my hair felt truly different. I could tell it was clean but it was a different kind of clean; it felt soft, not squeaky or slippery. I have never once gone back to shampoo since.

Sustainability is often overlooked in the beauty industry. So why is sustainability at the core of your brand? What makes it important?

I was born on a commune in Vermont and my parents were hippies. Sustainability, respect for the outdoors and a concern for the well-being of our planet have always been essential elements of who I am as a person.

So when we started Hairstory, my objective was to make everything about our business as sustainable as possible, recognizing that sustainability is a journey, not a destination. Right off the bat, we had a refill system and aluminum can dispenser.

We are now in the process of transitioning our (plastic) pouches to brand-new recyclable technology. We will be the first beauty company to have fully recyclable pouches that you can toss in the bin along with the rest of your recyclable plastic. We also are constantly evaluating every other part of our business, from the ingredients we use in our products to the carbon footprint of our logistics.

What product or brand initiative are you most proud of?

I am proud of everything we do at Hairstory. But the one example of a brand initiative that makes me proud is that we joined 1% for the planet as soon as we could. I believe that all economic activity fundamentally creates waste and stress on the planet. Our job as a company is to minimize our impact in any way we can.

Ingredients are clearly very important to you. How do you go about sourcing and curating your ingredients?

We view the ingredients in our products as central to our responsibility as a sustainable company. We are always re-evaluating our ingredient list and looking to be as healthful for our customers and the planet as possible.

Many hair care companies claim to have organic products; even the term "clean beauty" to me is misleading, disingenuous, and I hate the term "zero waste" because it is simply untrue. The label I'm most proud of when it comes to New Wash is "biodegradable". Haircare products are rinsed down the drain and flow directly into our ecosystem and to me, it was important to know that they would degrade completely and leave no trace.

If you could give your 18-year-old self haircare advice, what would it be?

Quit shampoo, switch to Hair Balm, and don't stress so much.

What's your advice for people making the switch from traditional shampoo and conditioner?

For many people, switching from shampoo to New Wash is a breeze. Some people, however, have been over cleaning their scalp with shampoo for years and their scalp is trained to over-produce oil to compensate. For these people, it can take a little while for their scalp to calm down and realize it no longer needs to over-produce oil. Some people can experience a period of extra greasiness for anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks. The important thing to know is that it won't last forever and if you persevere, your hair will be much better and you will be glad you stuck it out.

Join the Hairstory movement today to unleash your hair's full potential and say your final goodbye to harmful damaging hair products. Their subscription refill service saves us time, money, and most of all our hair, and let's not forget the planet too.

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