Less is More: Nature Inspired Hair Care

by Inga Yandell

Plants are experiencing their due in recent times, modern medicine has returned to it’s origins exploring the theraputic applications of botanicals—take for instance BanLec lectin molecule derived from bananas which read the sugar code of sugar molecules that cover the surface of many viruses and cells. Still in refinement BanLec holds promise as an alternative to antiviral drugs, addressing the lack of effective flu treatments—working well against many viruses including rapid-changing viruses like influenza. Whilst scientists still don’t fully understand the mechanisms that the sugar code controls—they suspect it may be almost as powerful for controlling how our cells work as the DNA code inside cells.(1)

Plant-based nutrition is also on the rise, representing a resurgent interest in botanical superfoods and supplements—everything from performance enhancing mushroom coffee to adaptogenic herbs that aid recovery. Artistic and sustainable, plants are trending in culinary circles as well. Tomato sushi(2) and Plant Meat(3) edging their way onto the menu of michelin star restaurants is a sure sign that society welcomes a shift toward greener dining.

Cosmetics without chemicals! This is where plants truly shine, innovative skin and hair care products brimming with botanicals that go well beyond grandma’s hair wash rosemary tincture… the abundance of aromatic, regenerative formulas can be overwhelming. But it pays to read the labels, and understand the lingo—I recommend reading the new book by the editors of Goop(4) it reveals the loop holes in labelling and provides a checklist of harmful chemicals to avoid.

When it comes to labels I like the less is more approach, a philosophy shared by Dr. Doris Brandhuber, Chemist and Aromatherapist and Hannes Trummer, Artistic Director and Staff Trainer at a prestigious hairdressing chain—co-founders of ‘Less is More’ the first range of salon quality organic haircare and styling products from Vienna for the world. Established in 2006, Less is More introduced a palette of organic care and styling products combining functionality with simplicity and beauty, health and ethical concerns with aesthetic intentions. The innovative formulas exclusively contain natural and organic ingredients, chosen for their efficacy, purity and optimal tolerance by both skin and the environment: obtained from renewable sources, and from certified organic growers wherever possible.

Styled by nature, the first plant-based hair care range for high-end salons.

Dr. Doris Brandhuber’s fascination for creation, transformation and for designs and materials that shape the future led her to study chemistry. As a long-time yoga student with a deep passion for the environment, biomimicry was a natural choice of specialty. This interdisciplinary field systematically generates products with optimised benefits by emulating the structure and functioning of the nature.

The postgraduate chemist, who also worked as an environmental consultant, not only focused intensely on composition, but also on the health and environmental aspects of modern cosmetics. When Less is More was set up, it was clear that only the development of her own line would be able to live up to her ambition of providing healthy and honest hair cosmetics in the best possible way. The chemist declined a research fellowship at Yale and focused on creating formulations for Less is More instead. Today Dr. Doris Brandhuber is a trained aromatherapist and has extensive experience in the field of organic cosmetics.

Hannes Trummer opened a small salon with big ambitions in the centre of Vienna in 2005. Previously, he had graduated from the Master School of Painting in Graz and had worked successfully as Artistic Director and Staff Trainer at a renowned international hairdressing chain. His intensive study of the Feldenkrais Method (Awareness Through Movement) and his claim to focus on the client and the client’s needs prompted him to develop the Less is More idea: That the need for space to evolve is accommodated through a reduction to the essential.

The Less is More concept was implemented for the first time in the salon itself. This is expressed, for example, in the highly minimalistic architecture and store design with the client and the client’s mirror image serving as the only decoration. A calm and harmonious atmosphere makes it possible to find space and time to realise the personal taste of the client through an acceptance of the client’s own style, technical expertise and a fine sense of aesthetics. As CEO of minusplus, the flagship stores of Less is More, he was instrumental in the development of the minus plus method—a unique haircut and training concept for body, mind and soul.

Speaking to Bare Essentials the duo reveal the story behind their natural style and passion for plants.

What inspired the creation of your haircare range?

Hannes’ Less is More salon in Vienna and his work as a stylist, health and environmental concerns about existing haircare lines, a relaxed and natural approach to beauty, the beautiful natural aromas of the mediterrenean (rosmary, citrus notes, pine trees).

How does movement influence the health of our hair?

It improves overall health, reduces stress and these are important factors to healthy scalp & hair.

What are the unique ingredients in your formulas?

A bouquet of finest, carefully sourced organic botanicals: primal rock salt from Altaussee/Austria, organic beeswax and forest honey from Austrian nature reserves, demeter essential oils: geranium, rosmary, lemon, bergamot, orange, peppermint, fair trade, organic ingredients: mascobado cane sugar, coconut, sheabutter, rare organic essential oils: e.g. petitgrain mandarinier, elderflower, pure organic aloe vera leaf juice, organic hydrosols, extra virgin seed oils

Where are they sourced and how are they processed—why is this important?

The ingredients are sourced in Austria, in Europe whenever possible, from dedicated organic & biodynamic (Demeter) farmers. Processed as little as possible—to preserve precious bioactives & natural aroma.

How does stress and evironment effect our hair?

It can cause hair loss, dandruff… scalp is an important area of the skin for detoxing and reflects our overall balance and health.

What are your views on hair-loss prevention and regeneration?

Before taking in medical treatment ensure you have a healthy lifestyle (movement, food, sleep) and avoid aggressive shampoos & petrochemical styling products regular brushing with a bristle brush.

To encourage regeneration try a herbal scalp treatment like our Less is More phytonutrient hair root serum.

How do you see the future of personal care products innovating towards nature?

Bioeconomy, as response to key environmental challenges, is the pathway of the future in all sectors, not just a natural trend in personal care, which is just reflecting this overall movement towards sustainable production, renewable materials and lower environmental impact.

‘Less is More’ is reduction to the essential: Functional. Pure. Organic.

Online Shopping and list of Stockists lessismoreorganic.com.au or phone (02) 8765 1100

(1) Drug engineered from bananas shows promise in fighting deadly viruses.
(2) Tomato Sushi: A Sustainable Alternative to Tuna.
(3) Plant-based meat that matches steak for texture: ‘The technology is unique in the world’.
(4) Goop Clean Beauty, by the Editors of Goop (Hachette 2017, ISBN: 9780751568271).

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
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