“A passion for creating beautiful locks has run in our family for four generations. Being part of something enduring is important to me. A heritage built on healthy hair is – literally – in my roots.
I had always wanted to make my mark in the family business and prove myself. I had no idea it would involve setting up my own range of haircare products.”
This week #BEYOUROWN meet celebrity hair colorist Louise Galvin. With an elite client list as long as your arm from Patsy Kensit and Sophie Dahl, Louise Galvin is the daughter of hairdresser Daniel Galvin. Most readers would be equally familiar with Louise being a creator of the carbon-neutral beauty company Sacred Locks, a firm favourite with Cara Delevingne. So we sit down and discuss how she got started and where she plans to go.
Hey Louise can you tell us a bit about yourself and Sacred Locks and how you got started?
Creating beautiful locks has run in the Galvin family for four generations and my heritage, built on healthy hair, is literally in my roots. My great-grandfather was a barber in Jermyn Street, London, as was his son, Cecil who set up his own barbershop in Notting Hill. In the late Sixties, my father, legendary hairdresser Daniel Galvin, took the hair world by storm, creating pioneering new colour techniques still used today. I now continue to work alongside my father and brother James; most recently at the Daniel Galvin Kensington salon which opened in the Summer of 2015. Alongside this, I run my haircare company, Louise Galvin Sacred Locks.
‘Over the years my passion for healthy body, soul, and hair has become stronger – after all it is in my blood!’ says Louise. ‘I have long understood the importance of living a healthy life to look and feel the best you can. What you put into your body is as important as what you put into it as far as I’m concerned and I take beauty ingredients as seriously as I do the ingredients and provenance of my food. Naturally, my own hair care products had to be as clean and green as they are effective and luxurious.
Chemicals are a controversial topic, not just in the beauty industry, which is why I chose to work with a green chemist. Green chemistry encourages the design of products and processes that minimize the use of hazardous substances. We have evolved from using mere unsophisticated plant extracts to plant-derived actives. ‘We spent hours finding combinations of natural and naturally derived ingredients that worked to clean and nourish the hair’. The result was ‘Sacred Locks, a glamorous but caring and conscience range that does not contain silicone, SLS, Petrochemicals, parabens, synthetic fragrances or polymers. Instead, the products are brimming with things like vegetable proteins, (corn, soy, and wheat), to strengthen and thicken hair, adding volume and vitality; Kukui and Rapeseed oils are natural polymers that protect the hair from environmental damage; Ximenia Oil, also known as Seaside Plum, is one of the world’s richest plant oils which smoothes the hairs cuticle giving shine and improving manageability making the hair feel soft and silky while repairing any damage; Coconut and sustainable Palm Oil derived cleansers; Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5) increases hair elasticity and restores moisture for improved colour retention. The entire range contains fragrant Yuzu Citrus oil for added shine and vitality and mandarin oil to give it it’s zingy signature scent.
What do you think has changed the most in the beauty and hair industry since you began working in your father’s salon in your school days?
Within the hair industry, there are great steps being made to legislate on the mandatory registration of hairdressers. a campaign pioneered by my uncle, Joshua Galvin alongside the British Hair Council. in any other profession you would need to be registered to practice but currently, there has been no law passed – but this is hopefully due to change. We work with chemicals and an unregistered industry presents an opportunity for the unqualified to cause long-term damage to a clients hair and scalp.
Did you have any icons or a figure of inspiration growing up?
Both Susan Hampshire (the actor) and Patsy Puttnam, (wife of Sir David Puttnam and Philanthropist) influenced me hugely as I was growing up and starting out on my own career. Both manage to exude understated elegance, but never compromised on their search for knowledge and education whilst also supporting charities and good causes to help others. Its a rare quality in a now self-obsessed society and their guidance throughout my formative years have influenced me tremendously and their ethos of looking after others is one I want my children to understand too.
It’s really great that you also support the UK, however by choosing a local manufacturer, did you feel that by doing so it was less cost effective and did it affect your business model at all?
As the first beauty company to become carbon neutral it was important to me to be authentic in my company philosophy, the first step was working with more natural formulations, avoiding the more harmful chemicals that impact on both health and the environment. Secondly, I was determined to reduce my carbon footprint, so where possible I use UK manufacturers for both manufacturings of the product but also the componentry. We have worked for years with a family owned company in Kent to manufacture and source ingredients alongside a Suffolk based company for bottles and closures.
What is on the horizon for 2018?
As a small company, NPD (New Product Development) is costly and I am confident in the product line, it is succinct and does what it should. The constant reformulating by the huge beauty companies is more for marketing purposes, to keep their audience engaged than it is about searching out more effective ingredients. My products are free from Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Silicone, Parabens, Petrochemicals, synthetic polymers, and fragrance – I am happy with how they perform so will not be changing soon.
On a personal note, following my son having a brain tumour at the age of 2, I have spent 4 years relentlessly lobbying the fundraising department at Great Ormond Street Hospital, (GOSH), The board have finally signed off a neurology project for an IMRI (In- theatre MRI) scanner and the infrastructure around it. It is a huge project and will be the focus of the new ‘Tick Tock ‘ Club for the coming three years. The aim is to raise £12m, with my own personal fundraising efforts to raise £2m of that to pay for the scanner itself. I feel very excited that the neurology dept finally having the state of the art equipment which of course GOSH should have being the supposedly leading children’s hospital in the U.K.
Ok, one final question, what is the most important business lesson that you’ve learned, that you think if somebody were going to launch their own hair care collection, is the one that they should bear in mind?
Always have a contingency fund, in the early days, I had to sell my car and then later re-mortgage my home to meet unexpected bills. Work with people you like and have the personal touch, they will always go that extra mile to meet deadlines if you have built good relationships with them. And in these days of modern technology look for someone who is media savvy and understands the social media world – new brands are launched daily with very quick successes and gains with the help of YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
Twitter: @LGalvinHair | Instagram: @louisegalvinhair