Master hair-colorist and herbal-chemist Bryan Thomson DiPalma is aiming to take natural, sulfate-free hair care to a new level with his new organic hair-care line (named, appropriately, Thomson DiPalma). We caught up with the hair pro to get the deal on what makes his heavenly scented products better for our hair, why women should consider making the organic-shampoo switch, and — obviously — how he acquired that fancy M.O.
The occupation "master hair colorist and herbal chemist" is an unusual one. How did you get into color, and how did you become an herbal chemist?
"When I first began hairdressing, I found I enjoyed the dramatic change that hair color creates more than cutting hair. I loved the science of it, and more than a few of my early clients always referred to me as a 'mad scientist!'
"I was always a believer in natural health remedies, as my mother used a lot of them on me as a child. I began to study more formally at the suggestion of my Chinese herbalist and acupuncturist, which ultimately led to my studying clinical herbalism to learn about all of the herbal healing traditions. While studying, I began making individual remedies for clients for their hair and scalp problems, so the more I learned, the more I was inspired to make products."
Is truly natural hair color really possible?
"Yes, there are truly 'natural/herbal' color products, but they only stain the outside of the hair strand, limiting results to slightly darkening hair or creating warmer or reddish tones. It isn't possible to lighten hair or blend grey in a way that is really attractive using natural color products."
Tell us what inspired you to create your new line, and what makes it stand out in the hair-care market.
"I had been making shampoos and conditioners for my family, and having a young son, I only wanted the best natural ingredients in his products as well. I believed it was possible to have both a healthy, organic, natural product free of synthetically derived ingredients, and one that created beautiful, healthy, shiny hair. I understand the science of hair from my 30-plus years of experience as a hair colorist and know how best to keep hair and scalps healthy through my training in herbalism. So, it was important to me to bring that knowledge to my own line."
What are your best tips for women who color their hair? How can they best maintain their shade and keep their hair healthy?
"My advice is always to avoid overindulging in the use of blowdryers, flat irons, and curling irons. Also, if you are a swimmer, coat your hair with conditioner before you swim as a barrier against chlorine or salt, and wear a hat in the sun."
"Remember that what you think of as 'dirty' hair is not really 'dirt,' just your scalp producing natural oils, and, by brushing your hair, you move the oil along your hair shaft to condition your hair and stimulate your scalp. Don't forget your scalp health is important for healthy hair growth!"
Thomson DiPalma Shampoo and Conditoner, $17-$20, available at Thomson DiPalma.
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