Photo: Courtesy of Matthew Joseph (@matt.joe).
Brooklyn hair colorist Kat Russo has always enjoyed and appreciated nature — so she created a brand that combined her passion for haircare as well as the environment. After realizing how harmful conventional synthetic hair products can be and how much waste their packaging creates, she turned to her mother, who is a Holistic nurse, for help.
“She has an endless supply of books and knowledge of herbs and oils and their various uses for skin and hair,” she explained.
Russo discovered the effectiveness of essential oils and began incorporating them, as well as other organic materials, into conditioners for her clients. The process led to her own homemade hair and body product line called Happy Place.
The nourishing products are all-natural, environmentally-friendly and locally sourced in NYC. Their packaging is also made from recyclable glass, metal and biodegradable packing materials.
Russo’s products range from all-over cleansers in a solid sustainable shape, to nourishing hair oils and specially-formulated conditioners like the much-loved Scoria.
“I've gotten a great response from people with all sorts of texture,” she said. “I wanted to make a conditioner rich enough to coat and define curls while leaving the hair light and bouncy. Plus, it smells amazing, Ylang Ylang and Hops essential oils nourish your hair and calm your mind and body.”
Russo is working on expanding her product line further, and her fine-tuned process helps ensure that her sustainable products are actually answering the problems her clients have.
“First, I find a problem that needs solving. Its easy for me because I work with peoples' hair every day and observe, and they talk to me about their issues,” she explained. “A lot of research comes next.”
After identifying what combination of herbs and oils will solve the problem, she talks to suppliers to find organic, fair-trade ingredients to build her recipe. She then tests it out on clients, family, friends or other willing participants, and a final formula follows.
More about Russo’s organic, sustainable products can be found on the Happy Place website.