Jose Bryce Smith is the founder of Original & Mineral (or O&M as it’s more commonly known), which bridges the gap between luxury and natural in hair products and colours. We spoke with Jose about the philosophy behind O&M, why natural ingredients are becoming so important to the modern-day consumer, and the brand’s new CØR.color range for salons.
What was the inspiration for starting O&M?
Our vision was to bring nature and luxury together in a line of Australia-born hair colour, care and styling products that are safe, effective and beautiful to use. We had the first ammonia-free hair colour more than a decade ago, born in a hair salon. We felt that if we could create products that had no smell or fumes but were effective, natural, and luxurious; that other people would choose them too. More than a decade later, it’s becoming the norm to choose natural, low-chemical. Health is a new wealth.
What is it that you think people love about the brand?
O&M is Australian-made, it’s a fashion-conscious natural brand. The philosophy behind it as a 5-free formula with high-performing natural ingredients means that it sits in a luxury space – like us, we feel our customer is choosing natural but wants it to look and feel like a luxury. There is a shift towards integrity-led brands and we have always been very transparent about what we take out of our products and what we replace it with. We love O&M and we seem to attract people that understand our mission.
Can you tell me a bit about your new COR Colour range? What differentiates it from other colour products?
CØR.color is the future of hair colour. We have been saying for many years that you could colour hair without ammonia, PPD and Resorcinol and this is at the COR[e] of O&M and so hence COR colour was born. It’s our third generation of hair colour and our best-performing yet. We are focused on performance and results for hairdressers and we know that COR colour performs like conventional hair colour but has no smell or fumes. We believe that if hairdressers could colour hair without having to breathe in toxic chemicals, they would and clients would choose to have it on their heads, too. It’s been a long journey of testing, research and development and now it’s incredible to see how fast people are making the change and how quickly it is travelling around the world.
What do you think is driving the move toward more ethically produced, naturally-derived and environmentally friendly products in the hair and beauty industries?
Consumers are leading the trend for natural based products. They are very conscious of ingredients they purchase and use on a daily basis – health has become a priority. Data shows our customers want to prevent toxicity and unnecessary chemicals in their daily rituals and are increasingly aware of products that are not only effective on their hair and skin but are also environmentally friendly.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about natural products?
Many people still believe natural products don’t work as effectively or work as well as synthetic products. Naturals are biocompatible with skin and hair, which makes the ingredients gentler. Synthetic, as the name describes, are cheaper alternatives to natural ingredients. O&M’s natural ingredients are of superior quality sourced from around Australia and deliver premium results for our customers.
If you could let hair professionals know one thing about your brand, what would it be?
Science has recently confirmed what we always believed, that PPD is thought to be linked to cancer. O&M is PPD-free and has been for many years – PPD is particularly high in dark hair colours. We shouldn’t forget that the hair on our head touches the scalp directly and the area on your head is sensitive to any kind of product. COR.color has 106 shades within the range so colourists and customers will always be able to get their desired result.
What do you foresee as the next big trend in hair care?
Low-chemical, high-performing naturals, no animal testing, ethically-made products. O&M is now PETA-approved and the time is now.
#Repost @kohtanyawanichapong ・・・ ✨LORDE ✨gracing the pages of the new October issue of @vogueaustralia ❤️ P @nicolebentleyphoto F @kate_darvill H @kohtanyawanichapong #hairbykoh using @originalmineral M @victoriabaron @lordemusic #girlonfire #lorde #lordemusic #hairstylist #vogueaustralia #vogue #effortlesshair #love #nicolebentley
What’s next for O&M?
Global growth. Salons are at the heart of our brand and we will continue to grow our global following and luxury retailers such as Net-A-Porter, Selfridges, Neiman Marcus and Sephora (AUS, US and SE Asia) all stocking our product. We have a flagship NYC salon academy, which we also use for global training. We plan to open academies in AUS and the UK in 2018. Innovation is key to our global marketing plan – we will remain a haircare innovator with new category launches planned. And we’ll continue to invest in our creative network through a continued education process outlining why we are and will remain #1 in the natural hair care category.