PARIS – Celebrity hairstylist James Pecis is launching today Blu & Green, a clean hair care brand with newfangled product formats, such as concentrated shampoo and conditioner in tablet form, coming in sustainable packaging.
Wellness of people’s hair and the environment have been at the core of his product development, as Pecis sets out to redefine hair care.
He’s crafted runway and campaign looks for fashion houses such as Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Jacobs, and hairstyles in editorial shoots at the likes of Vogue, i-D, Self Service and The Wall Street Journal.
While he was working with beauty brands including Oribé, Kérastase and Moroccanoil, people would ask if he ever wanted to launch his own line.
“I always replied ‘no,’ because I personally think there’s enough beauty lines out there, that we don’t need any more – both in hair and makeup,” said Pecis.
However, he and his family surf and spend a lot of time at the beach and in the sea.
“Over the years, I find myself collecting so much plastic in the water and on the beaches,” he said. “Then I go and do a show, and at the end, we’re getting rid of 60-plus bottles of products.
“It’s hard for me to live this life where I’m trying to be environmentally progressive, and then I’m going to work and I’m part of the problem,” said Pecis. “So, I thought if I can create products to use on a professional level that are high-quality and not just another granola brand, and I could do it plastic-free, that would be the ideal situation.”
Blu & Green – whose name nods to Pecis and his family’s affinity with nature – ticks the boxes of must-haves for beauty brand entrants of today, including an eco-conscious formulation and packaging design that is also aesthetically pleasing.
Pecis’ business partner for the new brand is his wife, Kim Norcott.
Prestige hair care is a rapidly growing beauty category. Last year, its sales increased 14 percent, versus mass-market hair care’s 6 percent in the U.S., according to Circana.
Pecis included a solid oil billed to melt on hands, and a weekly repair cream mask for deep moisturizing, in Blu & Green’s launch lineup.
Product formulations have premium plant ingredients and some bio-engineered compounds, such as coconut fruit powder, panthenol and saccharomyces ferment.
Blu & Green’s formula ingredients eschew sulfates, GMOs, parabens, petroleum, cyclic silicones, synthetic fragrances, phthalates, SLS/SLES, PEGs or other harmful additives. Everything is vegan, cruelty-free and does not contain known toxins.
Pecis approached a few different laboratories. “Most labs actually don’t want to innovate,” he said. “They want to [put] 10 products in front of you, you pick the products, [add the fragrance] and call it a day.”
However, a lab was found Stateside specialized in clean beauty.
“They were into the challenge,” said Pecis, who worked for about four years to develop a highly effective dry-format tablet that crushes in one’s hand and foams under water. “It has a really beautiful lather.
“Then, we had to figure out the packaging side of it, so we did a deep dive into materials,” he continued. “We looked at the most innovative material, from psyllium, mushroom, cork and bio-plastics.”
Finally, the hairstylist homed in on what he considers the most environmentally progressive, easily recyclable materials to use – tin and aluminium. “Those can be recycled an infinite amount of times,” said Pecis.
All of his brand’s light, compact packaging is plastic-free. The shampoo comes in thin little tins each holding 50 tablets. For most hair types, one tablet is used per washing.
“It doesn’t weigh anything,” Pecis said of the container that thereby reduces the carbon footprint of transport. “For retail, it hardly takes up any space, because it’s so small. It’s easier for a salon to take in a new line because it’s not taking up a bunch of space fighting with the competitors.”
It was tricky to conceive a tablet strong enough to withstand travel but also easily crushable during use.
“I have a very high standard of what I want for work,” said Pecis, giving the shampoo as an example. “I wanted something that would be super, super moisturizing to the hair, but not weigh anything, so that when the hair is washed it just feels very, very clean.”
He has used the shampoo on the full range of hair types, from fine and straight to dense and curly.
Price points for Blu & Green products run from $32 for a 2-oz. tin of conditioner or shampoo to $38 for a 150-ml. repair mask or solid oil.
What’s the biggest challenge Pecis foresees? Shifting people’s lifestyles.
“Anytime there’s a new innovation, a new way of doing things, it’s hard to get people to change their habits,” he said, adding that educating consumers and retail partners is key.
Retail-wise, Blu & Green at launch is focusing on direct-to-consumer through the brand’s own site, bluandgreen.com, and a highly select group of salons.
Pecis plans to continue concentrating on creating products he needs for work. Up next should be a concentrated shampoo and conditioner in a 100-ml. paint tube-like container, as well as a dry shampoo and texturizing dust.