Founder Of Natural Haircare Label O&M Talks Living A Toxic-Free Life

"I've always eaten organic. Health is my number one priority..."

Organic Haircare label O&M

As readers of Amodrn, you may have noticed that we often harp on about the benefits of using organic haircare and natural beauty products. We’ve highlighted on many occasions why switching to natural deodorants is one of the smartest swaps you can make, how natural ingredients, despite common misconceptions, can be just as, (if not more) effective on acne-prone skin and how the red pigment in your favourite lipstick could actually be coming from crushed insects—gross.
Whilst we tend to focus on what we put on our skin, we often fail to divert our attention to something that’s just as important, our hair care. Reason being? Just like the common misconception that you need chemicals to target problematic skin, there is this idea that haircare too ‘needs chemicals’ in order to work effectively. This couldn’t be further from the truth, stresses Jose Bryce-Smith, founder of natural and organic haircare label, O&M. “Technology has moved on so much that there are lots of natural alternatives that are just as effective, if not more effective than toxic chemicals,” she says.
Here, we chat to Jose Bryce-Smith about what inspired her to launch an natural haircare brand, how she’s always opted for an all-natural lifestyle and finding balance as a busy working mum.

Meet Jose Bryce-Smith, Founder Of Organic Haircare Label, O&M:

organic haircare
Image: @originalqueeni

What inspired you to start O&M? Have you always opted for natural skincare and beauty products? 

Growing up my mum was always obsessed with natural and organic. She never used chemicals, so when I was working in London I went to a salon that had ammonia-free hair colour. When I came back to Sydney to open a hair salon with my partner, we wanted to make an ammonia-free colour for our staff and clients. We felt that there must be long-term health effects of breathing in and putting something on your skin so toxic and high chemical as hair colour was back then.

What would you say has been the biggest career highlight for you to date?

Launching COR colour, it’s our third generation of ammonia, PPD and resorcinol-free hair colour and the performance of the product and the way it has been received in the market has been amazing, our sales of colour trebled in the first eight months.

What other aspects of your lifestyle reflects an all-natural approach?

I have always eaten organic. Back in the days when there was one tiny health food store in Sydney I shopped there and at the grower’s market. I follow a wholefoods style diet, I don’t eat anything processed or with artificial ingredients and I shop at smaller suppliers. I love Broth Bar and Larder in Bronte—that’s my go-to. Soula the owner is an expert in non-toxic living and makes incredible broths and soups. I also use eco store non-toxic cleaning products that have a similar philosophy to O&M and still work. Health is my number one priority and I rarely get sick.

I’m currently using (and loving) the Hydrate and Conquer shampoo and conditioner! Do you have a personal favourite from your line or one you’re particularly proud of?

So glad you love Hydrate and Conquer, in fact they are our biggest selling products globally! Right now, I am obsessed with Desert Dry which is the new dry texture spray that we just launched. It is part dry shampoo, part hair spray with my signature smell, rose. It’s a miracle on my baby fine hair and it’s been selling out everywhere which is super exciting.

We also love the branding and packaging of O&M. What did you hope to achieve through this and what was the thought process behind it?

Thank you! When we first started O&M all of the natural and organic products were in green and brown packaging and in health food stores. O&M was made for hairdressers and we felt that we wanted the products to look glamorous and luxe, as well as be effective on the hair. The shampoo bottles were inspired by a milk bottle and the simple branding and everything developed from there.

organic haircare
Image: @originalqueeni

Talk us through some of the ingredients you use. How do you go about sourcing them and what are some non-negotiables?

We use a Desert Harvest Blend of sustainably harvested Native Australian ingredients such as Desert Peach (Quandong), Desert Lime and Wattle Seed extracts, plus Original & Mineral’s Signature Oil Blend of certified organic macadamia and coconut oils. These are all used in our top four selling products (Hydrate & Conquer Shampoo, Hydrate & Conquer Conditioner, Seven Day Miracle Mask & Know Knott Conditioning Detangler). Other Native Australian extracts used in our range include Lilly Pilly, Lemon Aspen and Davidson Plum which helps add volume and protect hair from oxidisation and sun damage.
Our organic haircare and styling range is made locally and also free from Sulphates, Parabens, Triclosan, Propylene Glycol, MIT & Phthalates. It has the Clean Beauty seal of approval from and is also PETA approved Cruelty-Free. Our formulas contain at least 90% of naturally-derived ingredients. We thoroughly research this per cent of non-natural ingredients to ensure they are safe, non-toxic, and meet stringent regulatory standards.

As it’s summer in Australia, what top tips do you have for women when it comes to looking after their hair? 

Weekly Sunday night masks treatment ritual. You can either put it in and wear a top knot for the day or sleep in it overnight and shampoo out in the AM. I love O&M Seven Day Miracle or the Power Base Mask. If you are hitting the outdoors it’s great to use a serum or leave in conditioner pre-hitting the beach or any outdoor activities!
READ: 6 Stylist-Approved Products I’m Using To Repair My Dry, Sun-Damaged Hair

Number one styling tip that never fails?

Curls always save me when I need to go out but don’t have time to wash my hair, I use some Frizzy Logic on dry hair for heat protection, curl my hair using a straightening iron, let them cool and gently brush out and spray with Desert Dry Texture Spray underneath and on top and VOILA! Texture and waves and I’m ready!

organic haircare
Image: @originalqueeni

You’re a busy working mother. How do you find balance amongst it all?

I am certainly busy and there is more work and children than play time for me, but I love it and I tend to sprint, rest. I go really hard and then I stop and do nothing, hang out with my kids and go on holiday. On a daily basis, exercise is a must. I get some of my best ideas when exercising and it gives me an outlet to let go of stress whilst having some me time. I do a lot of Pilates and interval training. I have been going to Elixr health clubs in Bondi Junction for 12 years and currently, I am mixing that with Orange Theory Fitness which has just opened and is pretty addictive!

How do you practice self-care?

Eating healthy is a big part of this, as is exercise and having time out. I also meditate and do a lot of Kinesiology. It balances me—I can’t live without Jacqui Prydie—she’s a transformational specialist and is based in Edgecliff. She has helped me through some very challenging times and keeps me in balance.

What’s next for O&M? Are there any big things happening in chemical-free haircare that you can share?

O&M is growing fast, and we will be expanding into new markets in 2019. We are currently working on our fourth generation of hair colour which we will release in 2021 and this will once again set a new benchmark in terms of low chemical and high performance. We are pretty excited about it.

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