Why Shampoo? Why Natural? Why Now?
Normally when describing the mission of this company, to provide healthy, safe, natural shampoo alternatives in the market, whoever we are talking to doesn’t need to ask the above questions, we just see it on their face as they say “Shampoo?!”
It’s a perfectly fair position to have, it does seem pretty random. To help shed light on that, here is the story of how this little shop came to be.
Once upon a time in a town not so far away…
In 2015 Pure Rescue founder Thomas Hillard was taking a much needed sabbatical after nearly 10 years in the technology industry. Having worked long days at various startups, ad agencies, and digital consulting firms, from cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Berlin, Thomas was exhausted and aware that the years of time mostly at a desk had taken a toll on his health.
While rebuilding his spirit, and reducing his waistline, he began to dig in deep on topics like physiology, nutrition, and wellness. It was also at this time that he discovered the dirty dozen ingredients in the cosmetic industry, a list of harmful if not potentially carcinogenic ingredients which existed frequently in abundance in many common household cosmetics.
Thomas had grown up working an organic produce section in his local health food store; organics, local and seasonal food were not a mystery to him. Neither was the idea of natural alternatives for hair and body care, but he hadn’t known enough to question the safety of what didn’t seem on the surface to be a problem. So when he heard a podcast with a formal cosmetic industry executive coming clean on all the nasty tricks and methods used to cover up the dubious side effects of the ingredients of products like body wash, hair dye, and shampoo, the alarms were going off loud and clear.
It was not a surprise unfortunately, that yet another group of businesses couldn’t be trusted, but where were the alternatives? A person who doesn’t want to eat vegetables grown with pesticides can buy pesticide free produce organic shops.
The hunt for natural shampoo
The mission was easy enough, find shampoo without harmful chemicals, in fact, just find shampoo without chemicals. Afterall our hair isn’t so demanding, it gets a bit greasy overtime, and we need a gentle soap to remove the grease. Ok maybe a nice texture and fragrance to boot, but really something that in it’s basic form can be made from baking soda, or combining oil and lye (as has been done for over 4000 years), doesn’t need to be so complicated. Or does it?
There are many “natural” or “organic” or “health focused” shampoos on the market, but the problem is if you flip over the container and look at the ingredients, the list is usually something like this:
AQUA/WATER/EAU, CAPRYLYL/CAPRYL GLUCOSIDE, PANTHENOL, METHYLPROPANEDIOL, PEG-15 COCOPOLYAMINE, SODIUM LAUROYL OAT AMINO ACIDS, XANTHAN GUM, LACTIC ACID, PHENOXYETHANOL, QUATERNIUM-80, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, DISODIUM EDTA, MANNITOL, XYLITOL, LINALOOL, RHAMNOSE, BENZYL SALICYLATE, CITRIC ACID, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, FRUCTOOLIGOSACCHARIDES, SODIUM CHLORIDE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, FRAGRANCE (PARFUM).
The above list is from a so called all natural product made for men with dry skin “prone to dandruff”. It may very well do the trick, but how are we to know that all of these chemical names add up to something that is 100% tested, carcinogen free, and can be used 2-3 times a week if not daily?
Back to our story… Thomas flipped over bottle after bottle of shampoo reading the ingredients. Going from one store to the next he became really frustrated, looking up the long latin or chemical compound names didn’t always proof to build confidence. Finally, not reassured by any of the retail options available he found some home made shampoo recipes and resolved to use these less opaque methods until he could find a safe way to wash his hair.
The natural home made recipes (mostly based on baking soda with jojoba oil, herbal tea and vinegar) lasted until during a trip home Thomas visited the health food store he used to work at in Palo Alto. Methodically walking through the body care section as he always did on such trips, Thomas checked again for any natural shampoo on the shelves that was all simple natural ingredients and he finally discovered one. The plant based natural shampoo as it declared itself contained 10 ingredients in all, each one from a plant or fruit that was not processed, hydrolyzed, compounded, or synthetic. The ingredients were things like lime and other citrus, pineapple, water, apple, and a surprising new name in the list: Soap Berry. He took the interesting new shampoo home to Berlin and excited to use what he had discovered.
Though it wasn’t exactly like normal commercial shampoos in texture, and smelled… well a bit more natural, it left hair clean yet not stripped of oils, there was no reaction in the skin around the scalp, truly gentle and yet doing exactly what it was supposed to. The search for natural shampoo was over!
A mission to share the safe shampoo with the world
Back in Berlin Thomas went back to work (he has a new job at this point in time), literally forgot about the epic search he’d gone through, not to mention the return to washing his hair with a slightly more socially acceptable shampoo recipe. But one thing still was hard to forget, every time Thomas needed to buy more plant based shampoo, (his wife now also used it semi-regularly) he had to buy it when home in California. It was towards the end of 2017 when Thomas began to speak to the suppliers of these plant based shampoos, learning about cosmetic regulations in the E.U., Asia, and North America, and searching for a viable product that met the requirements he’d always had, and could sell where he lived in Berlin, and eventually through an online shop.
This story brings us now to the present time. When a few products exist, totally natural, organic, animal testing free, and no long scary chemical names in the ingredients, and Pure Rescue was born to help people who, like Thomas, believed they shouldn’t need to put harmful chemicals on their head, and skin, just to remove a bit of grease.