Sphaera founder Ali Johnson on her new clean-beauty haircare bars

Soon after my sister-in-law Suni Hermon and I launched our first range of Sphaera cold-process soap bars in 2015, customers started asking us for solid-state shampoo and conditioner products as well. Combined with our interest in new ideas and production processes, those early enquiries inspired us to create a fully resolved haircare solution — one that meets high standards of clean beauty and sustainability, is a pleasure to use, and delivers tangible results for the look, feel and health of your hair. Three years of research and development later, we’ve now released our new haircare collection.
Many of us are becoming conscious of our impact on the environment and looking for ethical products that don’t compromise on performance. Suni’s and my first goal for these new products was to formulate premium shampoo and conditioner that we loved, then translate that into bar form, without losing any of the good stuff. This involved extensive research into many areas, including the latest in green chemistry, and the needs of the hair and scalp microbiome.
At Sphaera, we believe washing your hair is an opportunity to have a quiet moment to yourself in a busy world, and beautiful products you can use with a clean conscience can enhance that precious time. With that in mind, as well as offering great results, it was important to us that our haircare be enjoyable to use, so we considered all aspects of the bars very carefully. 

ABOVE Sphaera’s expectation-exceeding shampoo and conditioner comes in Balance & Volume, Hydration & Shine and Nourish & Restore formulas. The ones pictured here are the former, enriched with an alchemic blend of activated charcoal, passionfruit seed oil and rice protein to exfoliate and refresh the scalp, balance oil production and enhance your hair’s shine, bounce and volume.

After much testing, we settled on a distinctive puck shape that sits comfortably and securely in the hand and supports the bars to dry well between uses. But the evocative effect of fragrance on memory and mood has always fascinated me, so my favourite part of creating these new products was definitely the scent profile. Balancing the interaction between the beneficial, therapeutic aspects of the essential oils while offering lovely scents, the resulting custom botanical blends infuse this new range with an uplifting mix of bright citrus notes grounded by warm, woody undertones.
We enhanced the bars’ advanced formulations with effective natural plant actives such as hibiscus flower, quinoa protein and green tea extract, each of which provides their own unique benefits. In three options to suit all hair types, the shampoo bars have a satisfyingly rich lather that gently cleanses while respecting the hair and scalp’s pH balance. A choice of three different conditioner bars offers light to deep conditioning depending on your needs.
Suni and I crafted this collection in our Wellington studio. What we decided to leave out is as important as what we put in, so it’s free of sulphates, silicones, soap, palm oil, phthalates, parabens, and artificial colours and fragrances — and it comes in home-compostable packaging.
Products for the hair and body are something that can easily be changed in our routines to reduce our use of plastics. They offer so many added benefits, including being biodegradable, super-concentrated and long-lasting. Formulating this collection has been such a privilege and taught us so much about truly sustainable practices, our community of friends and customers, and the possibilities of conscious green beauty products without compromise. It’s our hope that this new generation of shampoo and conditioner bars will inspire more people to make the switch to sustainable haircare — while enjoying gorgeous, healthy hair, of course.

Photography Grace Gemuhluoglu and Sphaera

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