Priding themselves in their selection of natural ingredients and a line of haircare products that actually work, John and Lotte Davis founded AG Hair in 1989. We sat down and spoke to Lotte, a marketing expert by trade, about the brand, how it came to be, and AG Hair’s incredible philanthropic efforts in Africa. Featured in our January box, AG Hair’s Cleansing Cream has quickly become a fan-favorite. Get your GLOSSYBOX here!
1. You and your husband jointly started AG Hair. How did you both get your start in the hair world?
My husband was hair dresser in Liverpool, England, in the 60’s and my background was in marketing an graphic design. We found an opportunity to have some products developed and we thought that this was something we wanted to do. We were both very entrepreneurial and wanted to combine our complementary skills. After trying for about a year, we realized the products from this manufacturer were horrendous.
2.What spurred you two to create a product line?
We needed to learn how to make our own products, which entailed having our own lab. So, with a $5,000 loan, we started pasting labels by hand. It was very mom and pop, but the products grew exponentially overnight, and from there on, my husband went on to make hundreds of formulations. In learning the truth behind formulations, John found plant-based ingredients that thickened products and felt good in the hair, we felt we could do something that was unique. After that, everything spread by word of mouth.
3. How did you decide on the formulations and what were the most important characteristics for these products?
Most haircare companies do not make their own products, they outsource. We are one of the only brands who make their own products and that has become a key differentiator for us. We tested like crazy with hair stylists, and still do today.
4. Why are naturally-derived ingredients so integral?
The number one thing about AG Hair is that we make products that work! This comes down to the quality of our formulations. Over the past 20 years we’ve realized that there are so many ingredients that are unhealthy (parabens, dea, etc) so our line is 85%-98% natural. We create a different standard of beauty, with an emphasis on hair that is natural and healthy.
5. The Cleansing Cream is featured in our January box. Can you explain what a hair wash is and why conditioner isn’t necessary?
To start, the Cleansing Cream is filled with 95% natural, plant-based ingredients. It has botanical cleansers in it that are non-foaming, but still loaded with conditioners. It’s great for any hair type and is best for that second-day hair that you can get immediately. It also helps to calm coarse/thick/full hair but leaves it totally clean. In addition, it’s great to use after you have a moisturizing treatment on your hair or after you dye it (dying opens hair cuticle). It [Cleansing Cream] closes the cuticle so your not going to lose moisture or color because it has a low pH level, whereas regular shampoo has a high level.
6. Philanthropy seems to be a very important part of your brand. Can you tell our readers about the project you’re currently working with?
We give a percentage of every product we sell to building schools for girls in Africa [in Kenya and Uganda]. Over the last 9 years it’s become such an integral part of our DNA. Philanthropy is really important to us! The organization we work with is called One Girl Can, and i’m the CEO and Founder. We’ve donated almost 3.5 million dollars since we started and as much as we enjoy being successful, we also feel obliged to give back.
I feel very strongly about gender imbalance. In Africa, it’s the worst for women. I wanted to help educate girls, and alleviate poverty through them earning their own money. We also mentor them and conduct workshops for goal-setting. We’re now on our 6th school, they have libraries, washrooms, etc., not just classrooms. To help them progress, we have secondary school scholarships as well as university scholarships so they have a chance of having a career.
7. Our readers must know… What’s your all-time favorite beauty product?
La Mer’s line of skincare!