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The Evening Standard: Hold the Foam: The (Very!) Exclusive New Way to Wash Your Hair

If you thought that New York’s hottest haircare export was the blow-dry bar, think again. Now there’s Hairstory - a renegade salon tucked down a side-street in Downtown NYC.

Hairstory, which opened its doors in 2013, isn’t your average cut-and-colour affair. For one, the 6,000sq ft space also happens to be the home of its founder, Michael Gordon - the brains behind US hair giant Bumble and Bumble. For another, appointments are near impossible to come by. In fact, so exclusive is the booking system that the salon welcomes only a handful of customers each month, and getting the opportunity to sit in one of its three chairs requires a personal invitation from an existing client, or being plucked off the street by Gordon’s team to model for the salon’s editorial shoots. 

This über-selective approach to styling has earned the studio the moniker “the Warhol Factory of Hair”. But this anti-salon is just half of the Hairstory. The other belongs to a line of products that could change the way we wash our hair for ever. 

According to Gordon, the shampoo we use every day is damaging our hair and scalp with every wash. “The question you should be asking is, ‘What’s in shampoo?’,” says Gordon. “Here’s the answer: shampoo is 80 per cent water and a lot of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), better known as detergent, a known irritant.” The result of Gordon’s crusade is a revolutionary “no-poo” shampoo, New Wash - a cleanser that uses essential oils instead of detergent and is suitable for every type of hair, from curly to coloured and fine to thick. 

“Essential oils act with the same mechanism as detergent (the ability to remove undesired substances),” adds Gordon. “But they do so selectively: they distinguish between the good and the bad, only removing what is necessary.” 

By ridding our haircare regime of its reliance on detergents, Gordon also claims that we would also remove the need for conditioner – or as he describes it, fabric softener for your hair. “Everyone thinks they need conditioner, when in fact they don’t. Conditioners and masques are merely band-aids for the damage caused by shampoo.” 

That’s not the only point of difference with New Wash. The lack of detergent means the formula won’t foam up - “think slather rather than lather” - while Gordon also advises you to rinse more thoroughly than you would traditional shampoos to help the oils remove the residue. But the extra in-shower effort is worth it. Everyday hair-washers - Gordon included - have claimed they can go up to five days between washing when using the product, while avid exercisers will be pleased to hear that you can use New Wash three times a day if you want to - “you can’t overuse it”.  

Is it time to cut the crap?

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