As published in Cotswold Essence February-April 2013.
When Tabitha James Kraan opened her eponymous salon in Stow-on-the-Wold, she wanted to bring a taste of London to the Cotswolds. She was tired of old hairdressing techniques so, with the help of the Prince’s Trust, set out to make her mark in the sleepy shires.
The first year of trading was an unmitigated success – not only did she break even, but she managed the unusual feat of paying back her loan within the year. The business continued to flourish and Tabitha built a loyal clientele before falling pregnant in 1999.
When she did, her views on hairdressing entirely changed: ‘I had a real lightbulb moment when I started to research the ill-affects of chemical dyes and products, as so many women do when pregnant. I decided that organic was a logical next step for an increasingly health-conscious consumer and wanted my salon to be a pioneer in the field.’ After sourcing organic ranges and explaining to her clients, Tabitha James Kraan became an organic salon and has not looked back.
I went to visit Tabitha for a wash and blow-dry to see if the organic treatment would leave my hair as glossy as my London hairdresser. I am pleased to say I emerged with a beautifully bouncy and shiny head of hair and more than a few tips as to how to keep hair looking its best whilst eliminating harsh chemical products.
Those that reverberated with me are:
– Wash hair with a minimal amount of shampoo, keeping the product to the roots to eliminate greasiness without stripping the hair.
– Brush hair from roots to tip with a natural bristle brush to distribute oils and naturally cleanse and condition.
– Use minimal products, sticking to oils where possible as they have the greatest synergy with the hair.
Having followed Tabitha’s edicts my hair has required washing less frequently and looks to be in rude health.
Tabitha is equally as passionate about minimising the damage of colouring hair: ‘colouring hair is done as naturally as possible here,’ she says. ‘I wanted every element of the salon to reflect our organic principals from hair to make-up and skincare.’
When considering that it is generally accepted that 60% of products applied to the skin are absorbed, it is clear that Tabitha’s salon is supported by the tailwinds of change and that the success of her salon may herald a new era in hairdressing and haircare. Her ambition to develop the concept and take it around the country seems a noble one and, what’s more, it now seems London needs a taste of the Cotswolds.