This week we had a "virtual" cuppa with Sue Campbell, Founder of Kind2, a sustainable haircare brand which makes high performing, plastic-free shampoo and conditioner. We first stocked Kind2's award-winning shampoo and conditioner bars in the Seekology shop and they were an absolute hit with our customers and team alike. Sue shared with us the importance of sustainability to her brand and why Kind2's products are different to others out there.
Firstly, how do you each take your tea?
I’m a coffee fan … freshly ground beans, double espresso with milk made with my ancient stovetop Bialetti.
Being Australian, and having lived in Hong Kong for so long as well as travelling the world, why did you finally settle on British soil?
I first came to the UK in 2000, on transfer with my employer and the allure of all the exciting things to see and do in London and across Europe kept me entertained. After moving to Hong Kong (again with a job) we decided to return to Britain because we missed the vibrant cultural scene and just weren’t quite ready to return to Australia. The business opportunity exists in the UK because of Blue Planet. The awareness of plastic pollution was really starting to gather pace here – people are looking for plastic free products and now, more than ever, ready to make the shift to a more sustainable lifestyle.
And tell us what prompted you to start your sustainable mission?
Living in Hong Kong, most weekends we went to the beach and were also lucky enough to travel all over the region. Seeing plastic pollution littering beaches, rivers and in so many remote locations was truly heart-breaking. I felt my individual actions of just making more conscious choices and recycling were not enough … and decided I could make a bigger difference in preventing plastic at source. I resigned from my job to start KIND2 because I felt so passionately about this and I still do.
Why did you decide to focus on haircare?
Early on, I decided that my focus would be everyday personal care products because pretty much everyone uses them, and so that’s where I could have the greatest impact. Finding out that shampoo and conditioner are 80% water was a revelation and that convinced me these products were ripe for innovation. When we started researching, most shampoo bars on the UK market at the time were soap and didn’t perform well in hard water, so I set about creating a haircare range that wasn’t a compromise.
What is it about KIND2 that makes you different from other brands offering similar products?
Our bars are pH balanced for hair and scalp, formulated specifically for hard water which means there is no transition phase or need for a vinegar rinse which you might have heard of with other bars. We’ve included generous amounts of plant-based oils that are beneficial to hair and actives which target specific hair needs. Plus, we only use natural fragrances and colours, as these are often irritants.
How do you respond to people who feel they won’t get the same results as regular haircare options?
Well, they haven’t tried KIND2 bars yet! Our bars are made from plant-based cleansing ingredients that are gentle, yet effective and balanced with oils that will make your hair soft and shiny. Many, like Argan and Macadamia are often used in greener liquid haircare products, so you’ll be familiar with them. It’s actually just real shampoo and conditioner without the water.
Not all shampoo bars are equal, and our advice is to look for products that are not soap based. Read the ingredients list and avoid anything that says “saponified oils” or sodium cocoate, sodium olivate, sodium castorate – this means it is soap which is to alkaline for your hair and will make it dry or waxy (or both, urgh).
Do you need the lather that most shampoos provide?
In a word, no. It’s part of what has been marketed to us for many years with terms like “luxurious foam”. Most extremely foamy products contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) which are inexpensive and harsh detergents that strip natural oils, create irritation, and can cause itchy scalps and more oil to be produced to compensate.
You’re probably already aware sulphate free shampoo is much gentler and lower foaming, but it still works to clean your hair. Our bars are sulphate free too, which means they won’t strip your hair colour or ruin your keratin treatment.
And what about value for money…?
Did you know liquid shampoo and conditioner are at least 80% water? Being waterless and highly concentrated, our shampoo and conditioner bars actually last a lot longer – so they save you money. Each shampoo bar lasts for the equivalent of 2 bottles and the conditioner bars closer to 3. We even have customers telling us they are still using a conditioner bar 8 months after they first bought it!
Like any product, there are a range of price points and these reflect the ingredients. We made the decision to use natural fragrances only and high-quality oils like Macadamia and Argan that are known for their hair enhancing properties. With highly concentrated bars that don’t contain water, you only use a small amount each wash
What other tips would you give those trying to live a more sustainable life day-to-day?
Focus on one area of your life at a time and decide what changes you can make and stick with. Is it fashion, food, bathroom or household? It can be overwhelming if you try and change everything at once. There is no need to go out and buy lots of new things, the most sustainable products are the ones you already have – finish them first and when you need to make your next purchase, replace with a more sustainable alternative.
What has been the hardest but most rewarding change you have made in order to support your mission?
Giving up the corporate job and jet-setting lifestyle of travel, five star hotels and exotic places. Living and working in Asia was a truly wonderful and amazing experience, but my life now is so very different. Some days I still miss it, but only a little bit and what I’m doing now keeps me motivated and excited.
Thank you, Sue! You can shop Kind2 solid shampoo and conditioner here.