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Popsugar. What is Organic Colour?

Q&A with Gemma Cartwright and Gennaro Dell'Aquila at #Popsugar

In recent years, many of us have sought out more natural or organic options, and when it comes to beauty, the opportunities to switch to clean beauty or organic products are huge. The continued rise of "natural" beauty has introduced us to a plethora of exciting new brands. But while you might already be using organic products at home, when it comes to salon treatments like hair colour, you often have less control.

Luckily, there are salons out there that specialise in organic colour, and there are numerous reasons you may want to make the switch. At GA Salons in London's Notting Hill and Wimbledon, stylist Gennaro Dell'Aquila is leading the charge with his bespoke natural blends, which include ingredients like henna, rhubarb, chamomile, cassia, fenugreek, and rose. Each colour is created specifically for the client's needs, following a consultation. "We've started working with herbs instead of chemicals as in my opinion it's the natural direction to go in — it is preventing so much harm," Dell'Aquila told POPSUGAR.

If you're used to going to the salon with second-day hair, you might be surprised to find yourself at the backwash.

If you're used to traditional chemical colouring, you might notice a few differences if you make the switch. For example, if you're used to going to the salon with second-day hair, you might be surprised to find yourself at the backwash. "We apply colour on clean hair as there is no peroxide, just water in the colour mixes, therefore we don't need the built-up sebum to protect the scalp," Dell'Aquila explained. "The processing time can vary from 10 to 60 minutes, as we use many seasonal plants, which can be less or more intense on pigment, depending on the season."

Preparing your hair for organic colour is also important. Dr Imogen Bexfield, skin doctor and medical director at White Swan Aesthetics, told POPSUGAR that "certain ingredients in your regular shampoo and conditioner can have an impact on the colour process and can affect how well organic hair dye takes to your hair. If you're going to use an organic dye, start by switching up your haircare routine a few weeks before and include a natural product washing process. Avoid shampoo and conditioners that contain silicon as this can form a 'barrier' around the hair shaft, which can prevent the organic colour from taking to the hair."

When it comes to aftercare, in his salons, Dell'Aquila offers homecare products "that we prepare with pigment identical to our herbal colours. This way our clients can take home a great natural product that preserves the colour longer."

These herbal-based treatments can't yet be used to lift the hair, but you can still get some of the benefits.

It's bad news for blondes, however . . . for the time being, at least. Herb-based colour treatments can't yet be used to lift the hair, but you can still get some of the benefits. GA salons use similar formulas immediately after lightening treatments like highlights. "They're giving much better and longer-lasting results than the popular treatment Olaplex, with the difference that they're completely natural."

Dr Bexfield also believes that these hair colours could be safer and less drying, explaining, "The main reasoning behind using natural and organic hair colour is to keep the formulas clean and to exclude the use of chemicals such as ammonia, PPD, or resorcinol. These ingredients can increase the pH level of your hair and scalp, causing it to become dryer and potentially damaging the hair and the scalp."

They also have the benefit of being safer for those who may be at risk from traditional chemical colour formulas. "We recommend the herbal colouring for pregnant women, but also for people who are undergoing therapy — such as chemotherapy . . . it's a relief for people who have allergies to chemical colour or irritating reactions as well," Dell'Aquila explained.

Though organic hair colour could very well offer you the healthy and beautiful hair colour of your dreams, Dr Bexfield warns that you still need to do your research and ask questions. "Whilst chemical-free hair dyes can be a healthier alternative and generally better for those with sensitive skin, it's important to keep in mind that many brands often use the term 'organic' as a marketing tool — and [products] sometimes do still contain chemicals. Be sure to check the ingredients on all products you buy, or ask your hairdresser."

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