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If you care about the planet, you need to know about haircare brand Oway


TextAlex Peters

The Italian brand who recently partnered with London salon collective Blue Tit is fully committed to sustainability

Set among the lush rolling hills of Bologna, northern Italy, lies the Ortofficina farm, a tranquil estate filled with lavender, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Covering 50,000 sqm of fertile land, the farm provides the medicinal herbs that make up the products of botanical Italian haircare brand Oway. What’s special about these herbs is that they are not only organically grown but they are biodynamic as well, grown in accordance with the biodynamic farming method.

Developed by philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner in 1924, biodynamic farming is an alternative method of cultivation which views the farm as a whole living organism, where animals and plants work together in harmony. The biodynamic method steers clear of all pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilisers and works on an astronomical calendar, following the natural rhythms of cosmic and lunar cycles for its planting and harvest schedule. 

Founded in 1948, Oway, which stands for Organic Way, is the first – and remains the only – professional hair care and colour line made with biodynamic (as well as organic, fair trade and non-toxic) ingredients. It’s this commitment to the preservation of the earth that lies at the heart of the brand’s ethos and the sustainable philosophy extends out to every aspect of the company, from the way ingredients are grown and the packaging of the products right down to the glass water bottles used by employees in the plastic-free, renewable energy-powered Oway offices which are equipped with eco-sustainable furnishings designed and built at their nearby Artigiano carpentry workshop.

“In Oway every stage of the product life cycle is designed to be sustainable,” says Alessandra Ciccotosto, the brand’s trade marketing and communications manager. “We believe in the importance of respecting the environment in a concrete, tangible way. It begins at the company with responsible and green behaviours; it passes through the salons and it inspires the Owayans, all those who choose an authentic transparent lifestyle.”

Six years ago, in the face of increasingly terrifying statistics about plastic pollution – humans now buy a million plastic bottles a minute, for example, the majority of which end up in the ocean – Oway made the decision to go plastic-free. It is now 99 per cent of the way to achieving this goal, the one remaining hold-out being the dispenser pumps, for which the brand is still searching for a viable plastic-free alternative.

For now, every product in the range, which includes professional colour and care products for salons as well as a line of hair and skin products customers can use at home, is housed in 100 per cent recyclable, infinitely reusable glass and aluminium containers. Oway also has plans to start using recyclable aluminium caps for the jars and bottles to further reduce its impact on the environment.

It was this 360-degree vision and dedication to sustainability on every level of production that drew the London salon collective Blue Tit to Oway. Earlier this year, it was announced that Blue Tit would become the official global creative directors for Oway, as well as introducing the brand to the UK, a move both companies hoped would encourage the wider hairdressing industry to be more environmentally conscious and encourage more ethical working practices.

Blue Tit itself is also fully committed to the environment. Across its 10 London salons, the company implements its sustainable policy through everything from using 100 per cent biodegradable towels to recycling over 90 per cent of its waste with eco specialists First Mile.

“Our planet is the most fundamental part of our well being, if we fail to give it enough love, care and respect, the planet will not host us for very long in return,” says hairstylist and Blue Tit co-founder Perry Patraszewski. “Oway is a brand born with solid values. It has a vision of healthy, thriving human beings living in a toxin-free, plastic-free world. Oway is a company from the future that focuses on the important objectives instead of profit. Just like Blue Tit.”

Over the last year, Blue Tit has reduced 95 per cent of plastic use across all salons and set a target to reach 99.9 per cent for 2020, Patraszewski says, as well as switching to a renewable electricity supplier. “We started measuring our energy and water usage, our CO2 emission and we offset it to be carbon footprint neutral. For 2020 we set goals to reduce the impact even further and become CO2 positive,” he tells us. “Blue Tit went in deep into sustainable this year.”

With the environment in such dire straits (in case you’ve forgotten: in May of this year the UK government declared a climate emergency and a recent report found that nine of the planet’s irreversible climate tipping points may be upon us already) we need to put our money where our mouths are and start investing in brands that are committed to sustainability – on every level. When it comes to your hair, it doesn’t get much better than Oway.

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