John Masters started doing hair thirty years ago. Soon after he realized that a ‘green’ salon with environmentally friendly and nontoxic products would be a unique and beneficial business. To this day his salon is the only ‘clean-air salon’ in Manhattan (a city with hair salons on every block) and his organic hair products are adored by celebrities, hair stylists and the average consumer alike. I interviewed John to find out what products he uses, steal some of his favorite hair tips and learn what exactly inspired his organic vision… 

What inspired you to go organic?

It was simply an extension of my life. I began eating organic and leading a more holistic lifestyle. Doing hair in a conventional manner—using harsh chemicals and breathing in toxic fumes—simply made no sense. In 1987 I started using herbal-based hair color and stopped doing perms and relaxers from my NYC studio. Seven years later opened my clean-air Soho salon.

What are the products you can’t live without?

I love all my products, but the ones I use mostly are my shampoos (alternating formulas on different days), the Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructing Shampoo (once a week), and the Herbal Cider Hair Rinse & Clarifier & (once a week). And Mandarin Maximum Moisture (everyday for sure!).

Tell me a little about the organic ingredients in your products.

I formulate each product for a specific purpose. So the star ingredients are different for each one. We keep improving our formulas as new and better organic raw materials become available. And we will continue to be at the front of organic and natural ingredient formulation.

If you can’t get your hair colored at your salon in NYC, what do you suggest as a solution to natural hair coloring?

Do a little research in your area to find any salons that offer safer alternative color lines. When I started doing hair this way people thought it was peculiar, but now it’s a growing trend. If that doesn’t work, health food stores usually carry safer alternatives for hair coloring. Purchase a shade and ask your colorist to use it on you.

What’s your number one hair rule?

Never try to cut or color your own hair. Generally it doesn’t work out too well. Find a professional that you trust.

Okay, so leave that stuff to the professionals. What are some of your other favorite tips?

Most people shampoo too often, which dries out the hair. If you feel like this is you apply shampoo to the roots only and massage it into a lather. When you rinse, it will go through the ends and hair will be clean with less tangles.

If your hair gets limp when you condition it, but is dry when you don’t, simply reverse the process. Condition your hair first, then add shampoo over the conditioner, lather it and rinse. Your hair will get the nourishing benefits of the conditioner without the limp side effects.

It is also important to clarify the hair to gently remove buildup and leave it soft and shiny. I highly recommend my Herbal Cider Hair Rinse & Clarifier. It’s also perfect after any chemical service, such as hair color, perms or chemical straightening, as it returns the hair & scalp back to the proper pH level.

In what celebrity bathrooms will you find John Masters Organics?

My main goal is to help make the world a greener place. Some high profile celebrity supporters include Whoopi Goldberg, Alicia Silverstone, Kristen Davis, James Caan, Rosario Dawson, Liev Schreiber, Josh Duhamel and David Schwimmer

What’s your favorite award for your products?

Best New Organic Product Line for Europe in 2004 when we introduced the line in London. The award was presented by the Soil Association of the United Kingdom, the nation’s certification authority.

What would you say is your biggest achievement?

What I do is an ongoing process, and there is much still to do. This makes my biggest achievement one that’s yet to be accomplished. That makes life very exciting for me.