Editor’s Spotlight

4 ways indie founders are approaching hair care

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

4 ways indie founders are approaching hair care
Startups and niche brands exist in every category and corner of the beauty industry today. However, hair care and styling brands don’t always get the same fanfare that innovative color cosmetics, skin care, and fragrance indies do. Here, Cosmetics Design looks at 4 distinctive indie brands with very different approaches to hair.

At this stage in the indie beauty movement, it can be difficult to establish what makes a brand unique. All four beauty entrepreneurs mentioned in this article might easily describe theirs as ‘a natural hair care brand’ but what makes each standout in the marketplace (and tradeshow) is more compelling than that simple label is.


Shiva Tavakoli and her brother founded Joon Haircare just over one year ago and draws on her family’s cultural heritage for ideas and ingredients.

“Jooh Haircare pairs ancient Persian secrets with modern chemistry,” ​Tavakoli tells Cosmetics Design in her Indie Beauty Profile​. ”We were inspired by summers spent with our Persian grandparents. Our grandpa ran a spice and herb exporting company, and our grandma used these same Persian ingredients in her cooking and beauty rituals.”


Alodia Hair Care has been around just a bit longer than the Joon brand. Dr. Isfahan Chambers founded her brand of kitted cleaning and styling products in May of last year. Her customer is between 23 and 55, values natural products, and has textured hair.

After formulating products that worked well for her and building out the brand, Chambers started selling at farmers markets. There, she “discovered…that many [women] were confused and overwhelmed when it came to selecting products for their hair care regimens,”​ as she explains in her Indie Beauty Profile​.

“And, once they selected products,” ​she says, “they did not know how to properly use them.” ​These in-person conversations with consumers, led Chambers to develop Style Kits comprising a full routine: shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and styling product.


Fairy Tales started as a natural lice-prevention product in 1999 has since grown into a full-scale hair care brand for kids. Led by Risa Barash, the brand retails online on sites including Amazon and Jet as well in thousands of doors at Target, Ulta, CVS, Wegmans, Meijer, Safeway, and more, according to Barash’s Indie Beauty Profile​.

“Fairy Tales was founded on the principal that we create products parents need, not just want. We are a problem/solution brand,” ​says Barash. “Each category we cover provides a purpose – head lice, swimmers hair, tangles, curls. We are also incredibly proud of our formulations. We are soy, dairy, gluten, nut, free as well as free of sulfates, parabens and we use only phthalate free fragrances.”

In sum, she believes, that Fairy Tales Hare Care “price points make safe, quality hair care for kids affordable to all.”


Ok. This brand isn’t really a hair care brand, but their approach to hair care is noteworthy. Ethique is indie brand, launched in 2012, that’s dedicated to eliminating plastic packaging and doing so by reformulating every imaginable personal care product in solid form.

As founder Brianne West explains it in her Indie Beauty Profile​, “We create solid, sensational beauty bars using only naturally-derived ingredients, cruelty-free practices, and compostable packaging. We’ve essentially recreated every product in your bathroom – from shampoo to serum to sunless tanner – in sold form.”

Ethique makes 8 different shampoo bars for various needs: damage control, frizzy hair, dandruff or scalp problems, etc. And the line includes 2 hair conditioner bars: one for dry, damaged or frizzy hair and another for oily to normal hair.



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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