For South Africans Debbie and David it was “Elizabeth Street or bust” when they opened their eco hair salon this summer.
Issy’s Salon offers eco-friendly hair styling, using products free from parabens or sulphates. They also work with biodegradable plastic.
The pair met while working together in South Africa. David still lives there, splitting his time between clients in Cape Town, Jo’burg and now, for five days every month, Belgravia.
Debbie, meanwhile – a specialist in balayage and free-hand colour – moved to London several years ago and is at the salon full-time.
So why Belgravia?
“It was basically Elizabeth Street or bust for us,” says David.
“I can’t believe how blessed I am every time I walk down the street.”
Debbie “fell in love with the artisan feel of the area, especially with the independent brands on Elizabeth Street”.
Another draw was the fact that the street has committed to going plastic-free by 2020.
The salon uses professional products from hair-care company Davines.
It also retails the family-owned brand’s at-home products, which are perfect for the eco-conscious consumer.
“The Davines factory is completely run on solar power, and they plant trees in Costa Rica and Sicily to offset their emissions.
“I personally planted 200 trees in Iceland when we went there for a conference last year,” says David Gillson.
He is pictured top with Debbie Postiglioni (right) and Isme Rossi (left) the investor and the salon’s namesake.
And it’s not a case of just jumping on the green band wagon.
“We first started working with the brand 15 years ago when, especially in South Africa, no one was talking about sustainability.
“So we were really ahead of the game then, and now lots of other brands are trying to use products free from parabens or sulphates and work with biodegradable plastic.”
Helping women in South Africa
The pair also support charities for women.
“We’re going to be working on a project for women in South Africa who are in need of bras.
“Clients will drop them off here, and when I travel back I’ll bring them to the charity directly,” says David.
“We also support a charity that provides girls in townships with hygienic menstrual cups, otherwise these girls would be missing school.”
The salon itself is getting a mini makeover in August. It will close for a couple of days to modernise with new basins and a proper mani-pedi station.
And, of course, they’ll also be improving their sustainability credentials in the process.
“We’ll have eco-friendly shower heads to use less water. Plus all our towels are actually disposable and biodegradable, because it’s better for the environment.”
Issy’s Salon, 36 Elizabeth Street.
- This article was published in Belgravia magazine.