Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Interview: The Eco-Hairstylist in Ghent, Belgium

Hervé Lauwaerts
Hervé Lauwaerts was a hairstylist who had had cancer. Unable to work around chemicals any more, he was at a loss of how to get back to his profession until his father, a chemist, suggested working with all natural products. 20 years later and the 'Biokapper' salon in Ghent, Belgium serves a clientèle-base of 9000. How's that for success?!

The hair-colouring products are all ecofriendly and produced in Houston, Texas by CHI Ionic; the powders are Green, herbal and even edible if one so chooses. Smelling some of them you would think it was candy, and the staff are very eager to let you take a whiff! Furthermore, even pregnant women can colour their hair with these products and there is very little danger of damage to the hair with this all natural system.

Hairstylists @ the Biokapper
Hervé states that all of the people working in the salon do the work with love. Bardha, a colleague, insisted that though it is a fast-paced environment, the results are what matter for them and there is a freedom to be oneself in the salon. Are the clients happy? Did they get what they came for? Once satisfied of this, they know that they have done well.

Massage, anyone?
Another distinction for Hervé is the fact that he really wanted his salon to feel natural and relaxed. For Hervé, a lot of women who come into a salon to dye their grey hairs are put in uncomfortable situations: they are already on edge because they are dying their grey hairs and this may stir up unpleasant feelings. However they are offered coffee, which might put them even more on edge, and then sat in front of a mirror, watching the entire process, while reading a magazine filled with young girls. No matter how much of a feminist you might be or how comfortable you are with yourself, this situation might still make you feel insecure. So the 'Biokapper' instead provides clients with tea, a massage chair or a session in the massage room with music or, during the summer, a session outside in the garden. It is all about comfort, Greenness and making people better. Showing that "Beauty can also be Green" according to Hervé, is what they are all about.

An average session with: shampoo, conditioning, cutting/colouring costs about €75-€85 depending on your hair length. Biokapper: Zuidstationstraat 16, 9000 Gent Phone: 09 233 10 32 Biological products also on sale in the salon.

Know of any other Green businesses that are great for the ecofashionista? Send suggestions to:

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