Davines’ new ‘farm to shower’ line explores beauty from inside out
By Katie Harrington
Every salon brand has a distinct culture and philosophy. There are the old-school barbershops, the upscale lofts, the family-operated neighborhood shops, blowout bars, color-centric studios. And then there’s Davines. When the brand was founded more than 30 years ago in Parma, Italy, it quickly emerged as a leader in the eco-friendly movement. The family-driven company has always done “what they believe in,” and what they believe in includes: healthy, “homemade” and effective products; passionate, like-minded hairdressers; authenticity (of products, education and spirit); and, most importantly, sustainable beauty. But the folks at Davines know that sometimes beauty can be, well, only skin deep. So with a lineup of “green” initiatives and a brand new, sustainably sourced product line, they are setting out to prove that a haircare company has the power to deliver beauty outside and in.
You Say You Want a Revolution?
For Davines, the question has always been, “What else can we do?” To Davines Owner Davide Bollati and his network of salon owners, stylists and educators spread across 85 countries, the answer lies in the details, especially when it comes to their beliefs about eco-mindedness and sustainability.
For example, all Davines offices currently use renewable energy, and its new factory—set to open in 2017—will not only use renewable energy but will incorporate a biodiversity garden. More than a decade ago, the company stopped using plastic bags, and this year, they took it a step further, replacing all FSC paper bags with reusable cotton shoppers; a first in the industry.
Another detail in the story has been Davines’ Sustainable Beauty Week initiative. Now in its fourth year, the event coincides with both Earth Month and Earth Day and encourages Davines salons to “think globally, act locally.” While each salon has a unique take on the event (some offer free haircuts for donations, others create a sort of beauty farmers’ market—selling local, handmade products) the goal is the same. All funds raised during the week go to The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, a non-profit that plants edible fruit trees in communities in need to alleviate hunger and improve the local air, soil and water.
In October, the brand launched its “I Sustain Beauty” campaign, a program that encourages people to develop a project related to the theme of beauty “in its widest sense”—i.e., not just personal beauty, but also beauty as it relates to art, society and the environment.
“Davines is a company that explores beauty in different forms,” says Davide. “And we thought it was about time to activate our Davines ‘tribe’ around the world to become activists, to become beauty sustainers and to make the world a more beautiful place.”
Essential Haircare: Beauty and Biodiversity
In keeping with his mission to combine ethics and aesthetics, Davide believed the natural next step was to create a new product line that reflected the brand’s core values. So earlier this year, Davines partnered with the Slow Food Foundation—a global nonprofit that preserves food and agricultural biodiversity by connecting local farmers with alternative markets—to launch the next generation Essential Haircare. The concept is truly unprecedented. The line is comprised of nine product families. Each contains one specific active ingredient from a Slow Food farm in Italy and the name, face and story of the farmer who grows it with care and passion. Whether it’s a Minuta olive from Sicily or a turnip from Piedmont, the ingredients are sourced from all over the map—literally. The line takes the ideas of transparency and provenance to the next level, while raising awareness of biodiversity through the window of beauty.
One Slow Food farmer is Francesca Simonte, a melon producer from the Italian city of Trapani. For years, Francesca and her family have grown and cultivated the Paceco Cartucciaru yellow melon, whose extract is an active ingredient in the Essential Haircare Momo shampoo, conditioner and hair potion. Like Davines, Francesca’s farm is a family business, where she and her husband, both agronomists, work their land with their children. Until recently, the Cartucciaru melon was at risk of extinction, but thanks to support from the Slow Food Foundation and Essential Haircare, Francesca and her family received the resources to revive the crop and their farm, and are now dedicated almost exclusively to the cultivation of artisanal products.
According to Davide, Essential Haircare represents “the good soul of a project.” The product line is a direct representation of the brand’s original philosophy—to respect people, their context and the environment in which they live. The formulas contain high percentages of natural, biodegradable ingredients free of sulfates and parabens. The products themselves contribute to the protection of biodiversity by incorporating selected ingredients extracted from crops that are at risk of extinction.
“With [Essential Haircare], we wanted to reset the basis for sustainability standards,” says Davide. “We wanted to combine sustainability and performance. I think we have achieved that with the Essential Haircare line.” Indeed, as concerned as the brand is with issues of sustainability, they believe fervently that performance and sustainability must coexist in all of their products.
Part of the Movement
Since the launch of Essential Haircare, the reaction from Davines salons has been overwhelmingly positive, from stylists and their clients.
“The stories are really the best part of the Essential line,” says James Alba, Co-Owner of the B Hive Organic Salon in New Jersey. “It lends itself so well to opening up a conversation with clients about doing the right things for their bodies, for the planet and for the community. Our clients love the fact that we know all the ingredients of our products, inside and out.”
Kurtis Brown, Co-Owner of DesignHouse Salon in British Columbia, agrees. When Kurtis opened his salon three years ago, he fell in love with the philosophy of Davines, and he believes this philosophy extends throughout the entire Davines community. Essential Haircare has given Davines stylists like Kurtis a new reason to be excited about the brand, and has reinvigorated this feeling of community.
“Our clients are part of our movement,” says Kurtis. “That’s what separates us from others. Concepts like Essential Haircare deepen our relationships with our clients to a level where our retention is higher and our footprint in the community is better represented.”
Blood Runs Deep
Ask any Davines salon owner, stylist or client, and they’ll tell you there’s definitely something “special” about the brand. Whether it’s the family-owned component, their commitment to the environment, their unique aesthetic or their desire to support local communities, everyone agrees there’s something about the brand’s philosophy and beliefs that you just “get.” Look at what people are saying about Davines on social media and you’ll see words like “soul,” “culture” and even “movement” used to describe the rise of the brand.
“You know when you meet somebody and you just click?” asks Kurtis. “It’s like you feel you’ve known them from a past life—like you have a soul contract with them in some capacity. That’s what it feels like with Davines, because it’s deeper than most product lines. It’s because everything they do comes from such a deep place.”
As Davines continues to grow, the mission remains the same—to offer a humanistic approach to business, to inspire and be inspired by its multicultural fabric of hairdressers and to sustain beauty in all of its forms.
“Davines is not about surface level beauty,” says Kurtis. “They really are about the movement to make this world a better place through beauty. And that’s pretty rare.”
To learn more about Essential Haircare, visit behindthechair.com/davines.