Haircuts have always been a struggle for me, a source of stress when I walk into most salons, knowing the hairdresser will take a deep breath inwards before they spend the rest of the afternoon taming my locks. My hair is long, thick and dark and it takes a lifetime to dry and style. I’ve avoided journeying away from my all-one-length, blunt cut since I got a bob at age 10 and spent years growing it out.

And yet! This spring, I wanted a drastic trim. Something to shape my hair whilst keeping to my very limited wash-and-go styling routine. Something that would stop me from scraping it back into a high ponytail and dreading my post-wash, frizzy days. So one sunny, mid-week morning, I ventured to East London for what I’m terming “my drastic haircut”, seeking out the professional help of Buller & Rice’s co-founder Anita Rice in its newly opened salon in Wanstead.

The hair specialists known for their early adoption of earth-friendly hair products (e.g. no chemicals!) have been on our radar for a while since the opening of its first salon in Newington Green in 2018, but the company has since seen exponential growth over the past few years (despite the pandemic), so I was intrigued to check out their latest outpost for myself.

The Wanstead store expands the world of Buller & Rice even further, part-concept store part-salon the destination is worth a visit just for its cute curation of homewares, natural wines and @real_housewives_of_clapton approved snack selection – think Perello-olives and Torres truffle crisps – but aside from all the East London bells and whistles, the team give a brilliant haircut and co-founder Antia’s attention to detail is meticulous.

I opted for a wispy fringe complimented by soft, lightening layering. Anita hacked off nearly five inches but I wasn't pining after my lost length, instead embracing my new bounce. She used biodynamic OWAY products, which filled the washroom with zesty notes of lemon, orange, and grapefruit, alongside spicy scents of cinnamon and star anise, but also kept my new locks gleaming for days afterwards. My hero product was the Silk’n Glow Serum, an anti-frizz remedy for dry, and porous hair, that instantly relaxed my fuzz and gave me immediate (non-greasy) shine.

From my sleek new cut to the artisan (East London-based) crockery that I sipped my OWAY peppermint tea blend from, every detail was accounted for – the whole experience a continuation of what the brand has stood proudly for since its foundation.

Because caught up with Anita after the cut to find out more…

How has the world of sustainable hair care evolved since you started out in the industry?
When I started hairdressing, the conversation around sustainability or regenerative farming was non-existent, I am fortunate enough to come from a country where we spoke and addressed recycling much earlier on than in the UK and other markets. New Zealand has a strong sense of environmental well-being and constantly talks about keeping the country green, so I have always had a sense of understanding of the importance of this. Throughout my years of hairdressing, this conversation has slowly started to come to play - the first step being back to basic ingredients and using natural products in haircare which in the early days was colouring and flavouring. I remember a big company bringing out a range that smelt like blueberries and raspberries and that was really the first step about 24 years ago!

Whereas now, it has become more and more important, not only regarding the ingredients used within but the packaging that has become the newest conversation regarding sustainability and the quality of the ingredients and how it is produced through correct farming methods. We focus mainly now on how higher quality the ingredients are and giving the best performance to reduce the amount needed to be used, giving a much higher concentrated and ethically produced products, with packaging that uses bi-product or 100% recyclable or circular in its life span. These are the things that we look to as a salon to have with the ranges that we use. The conversation around carbon has also increased over the last year or two and we are now looking at how to offset our carbon net - something that is as equally as important as regenerative farming and packaging solutions.

Since you opened Buller & Rice in Newington Green in 2018 you’ve opened another 2 salons. Tell me more about how the brand has grown…
Buller and Rice has naturally progressed as the years have gone by and we are now seeing a much larger appetite for the type of focus that our business thrives on - creating a relaxing and calming environment for local neighbourhoods and becoming part of the community. Word of mouth and conversation around ethical beauty and sustainable hairdressing has become at the forefront of people's minds when chasing a salon, which underpins everything that we do.

What are the most popular styles at the moment?
We are seeing a huge influx of copper hair, so for colour - soft golden peachy tones, or deep red and copper - we are seeing this on all hair lengths and fun that people are now exploring with these shades. Haircut wise we are still heavily seeing all of the bob variations, coming into the summer people want a fresher, bolder look that they can style without having heavy lengths over the hotter months. We are also seeing a lot of short textured crops - think 60’s soft waves but worn really short - an early Goldie Horn mixed with Halle Berry’s legendary crop.

What are Buller & Rice’s plans for the future?
World domination…. We will be hosting events to open up the conversions of regenerative farming, not only within hairdressing but within food too to help educate our communities. To showcase the importance of this across all levels. We will also be developing our lifestyle brand - Life and Wine - which is our concept store in our Wanstead salon - a space to showcase local curators and makers. Watch this space...

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