Zenz has been around for nearly 20 years, but this Copenhagen-based organic hairdressing chain continues to revolutionize the business. About a month ago, I went to have my first ever organic hair treatment – and I was quite surprised. Here’s why…
The history of Zenz
Today, Zenz is the largest organic hairdresser chain in Denmark, and it all began 18 years ago with one woman’s vision. Anne-Sophie Villumsen is the founder of Zenz Organic. She’s is a hairdresser by profession, but had to deal with severe allergy since the beginning of her education in 1986. Her allergy disappeared when she went on maternity leave with her first child, but rapidly came back once she started working with chemicals again. She developed asthma and her daughter was also affected by these unhealthy chemicals, and so – with the coming of her second child in 1997 – Anne-Sophie decided to basically revolutionize the rather conservative hairdressing business. She had the mindset of a true Entrepreneur, and at the same time, she wanted to improve the work conditions for hairdressers all over the country. In 1998, the first Zenz salon saw the light of day. With a location in the heart of Copenhagen, customers began to notice the difference she made with her green approach and alternative products containing zero chemicals and zero artificial chemistry. It all culminated in the launch of Zenz Organic Products in 2010; a professional, Nordic eco-labelled hair care range, which also contains oils, botanical henna hair colors and mineral makeup.
Since 2005, Zenz Organic has received numerous prizes and awards for their work. Apart from improving the work and health conditions of both their own employees and the business in general, Zenz contributes positively to the environment by using organic products only.
Zenz’ eco-friendly approach is what made me notice them in the first place. I was curious to learn more about ‘the future of hair-dressing’ as I see it, especially because I’m pregnant and thereby wouldn’t consult a regular hairdresser (for coloring). So I made an appointment with the brand new Zenz salon in Lyngby, just North of Copenhagen. I was equally excited to meet the founder Anne-Sophie, who was also going to do my hair, and hear more about the concept in general – cause can it really be (cost)-competitive to run organic hairdressing salons in a time where budget-friendly hairdressers are located almost anywhere? And what about the quality? Are organic (and botanical) hair colors really as long-lasting as their chemical sisters? I was about to find out.
The philosophy of Zenz: to combine health, sustainability and ecology with natural beauty, without compromising!
My two-hour treatment consisted of wash, cut and coloring (highlighting stripes). I wanted it as close to my natural colors as possible, being light blond with warm under tones. After a very pleasant hair wash in a chair with integrated massage, the treatment could begin, and I was offered a treat from the ‘café menu’ – an organic selection of tea, coffee, juice and snacks. Anne-Sophie began telling me about the advantages of being a green, eco-certified salon and it seemed there were numerous. First of all, you avoid problems with allergy, eczema and breathing. Employees have fewer sick days, there are big cost reductions on electricity, water and heating…. and the local community benefits greatly by not having toxic chemicals in their water supply.
It’s my feeling that more and more people opt for green alternatives whenever they can; they just have to be visible, easily accessible and preferably affordable. As a former frequent (and satisfied) user of ‘regular’ hairdressers, I admit that I’d never considered the alternatives. I simply didn’t know enough about the subject. Today, I can easily say that I’m more open to greener alternatives whenever they occur – there’s no other way, really, if we want to help protect the environment just a little bit.
Two things: I was surprised how many damaging chemicals that are being used in the hairdresser profession as such and I was probably even more surprised how efficient these botanical, non-damaging colors can really be. Today, my hair looks just as healthy as when I stepped out of the Zenz universe one month ago, and I’m convinced that the green alternative is truly the best one. For me and for the environment.
Zenz are often hosting workshops to spread the word about environmentally friendly products and hair care without chemistry. I also love the idea of their ‘mother/baby afternoons’, where mothers are being pampered without having to worry about babysitters or chemicals.
Anne-Sophie’s 4 advices for beautiful and healthy hair:
- Use products with natural ingredients and lots of nutritious oils. We always recommend using allergy certified products that are better for your body.
- Use a protein cure once a month to prevent your hair from splitting.
- Eat fish oil and vitamins, or make an oil shot every morning before you have breakfast. Mix two table spoons of cold-pressed organic olive oil in a glass of water with lemon juice; it will make your hair shiny and beautiful!
- Only use natural hair colors that protects your hair – never permanent hair colors that damages the hair follicles and produce fragile hair.
For more information, go to www.zenz.dk