Hair Syrup founder, Lucie Macleod, shares with The Femme her journey to hair and career success
In only one conversation with hair enthusiast and entrepreneur Lucie Macleod, my entire understanding and mindset on hair care completely changed. As the founder of Hair Syrup, Lucie’s motivation to start her own hair care business stemmed from her own struggles with damaged and brittle hair. Personally, I can join Lucie in saying that my hair journey has been challenging. I can put my hand up and say that I am a self-confessed heat lover. For years, I was ironing out my naturally wavy hair with little protection and using products that were loaded with harmful chemicals. I was trapped in a perpetuating cycle that weakened my hair day by day. Only now have I started to appreciate my hair, and despite so many super groups of products and treatments, I’ve continued my struggle in finding what works.
Up until our conversation, I had never heard of a pre-wash treatment – and I don’t believe many have. After finding a very niche gap in the market that needed to be filled, it was Lucie’s mission to build a homemade haircare brand that not only worked but steered us away from the standard hair care routine we all know. “When you put a pre-wash treatment onto dry hair, it soaks up the product better than if your hair is wet. With dry hair, there isn’t any water to block the product so your hair will soak up the treatment more effectively,” says Lucie.
After sharing her hack with friends, family and then introducing it to Tiktok, it became clear that there was a demand for Hair Syrup on a tiny scale. But truthfully, Hair Syrup’s ultimate success was an unplanned triumph.
What was your motivation in starting Hair Syrup?
Hair Syrup was something that I used on my own hair. I actually posted a video on TikTok of me using it and then it went viral. I got lots of girls messaging me about the pre-wash treatment that I was using. When my hair was at its worst, I needed to do something about it. I tried loads of post-wash masks that would make my hair look nice for a day and not actually change the condition of my hair, so I did lots of research and stumbled across pre-wash treatments that you put on before you wash your hair. I was expecting to find loads of them available but there was nothing so I thought I would try my own and see what happened. There was certainly a fap in the market, so I decided to fill it.
How have your own struggles with your hair influenced the ingredients used in your products?
The products are completely free of any things like fragrances, alcohol, and preservatives. Yes, they’ve got a shorter life but that’s the price you pay on not having chemicals in the product. I just wanted something that was really back to basics and natural. I tried many complex and technology-driven products just didn’t do it for my hair so thought what’s the harm in trying something really simple, really clean, and non-toxic. I didn’t have anything else to lose.
What was the process like in formulating Hair Syrup and creating the perfect product that worked?
When I started out, not a single part of my brain was in business mode. I did so much research into every single ingredient that goes into the syrup and just found it fascinating. Then once I got my base recipe, I branched out to other products like something that would treat dandruff. From there it was a natural progression into something that could help other areas. There was definitely a bit of a trial-and-error process. I went to my local health food shop and bought lots of different oils before I decided on the final recipe. It was a very basic DIY to perfect something at home, but I think that’s why the brand is successful because the products are so genuine that I used on myself and my family. My motivation was never to sell but to actually help people improve their hair
Were there certain ingredients you wanted to ensure were in the formula? If so, why?
I was in TK Maxx with my partner and I was noticing that argan oil was one of the key ingredients in lots of products. I thought it was interesting how big companies were using natural ingredients to market, even though percentage-wise they were quite small. I started to look at my behaviours as a consumer and thought, the main reason why I bought this product was because it says it’s got argan oil or flaxseed oil in it, so I knew I wanted natural ingredients. I did some more research into argan oil and I decided that that was what I wanted in the product 100%. So, there I decided that argan oil would be a winner in the product.
Besides the actual products themselves, what are your core values in terms of manufacturing & packaging? Hair Syrup is carbon neutral, what does this mean?
The brand being carbon neutral means that I work with a company that decides how much carbon we were producing in all of our manufacturing, shipping, and distribution processes. I pay every month to have my carbon offset which means that for every piece of carbon I put out, it gets neutralized. One of the benefits of working with a neutralizing company is that as my business scales, the report scales with me so they’ll create another report as I grow. It doesn’t matter how big I go, my carbon neutrality reflects that.
Do you feel there is an importance for a hair company to cater to all hair types?
Because I’ve got straight hair, I think it’s important that I don’t claim to be a brand that specialises in curly hair. It’s something I definitely want to look into as my brand grows but I feel like that’s not my area to go into. As much as inclusivity is really important to me, I am also aware as a brand that there is no such thing as one size fits all. It’s pretty impossible to find something that works for everyone. As much I am striving to reach different areas of the market, I also know that it’s impossible to find something that everyone’s going to love.
What behaviours were you doing to your old hair that caused it to be damaged and brittle?
I used to pull a really tight elastic band into my hair and now when I see people do it, it makes me properly cringe. Not only would that give me tension headaches but when I pulled it out, I’d have hair fall and bits of hair-splitting off. I also never used any leave-in products and used heat on my hair all the time and never any protection.
What are your go to behaviours now to restore your hair’s health?
- Limit the number of times you wash your hair every week
- Limit the amount of heat you put on it, especially if you have damaged hair. Heat provides a false sense of hair health security so stick it out.
- Try out heatproof styles on your hair. I plaint my hair quite loosely into a bun.
- Use scrunchies and claw clips, never elastic bands.
- Use a pair of hair-dressing scissors to snip off any split ends you see.
- Find yourself a very strict and rigid routine.
“If you have a vision, just go for it, even if people try to scare you off.”Lucie Macleod
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs, like yourself, wanting to start a business?
The biggest piece of advice I can say is that you need a clear vision and product idea. It’s such a long process that if you don’t have a product or service that you 100% invested in, all of the hard work won’t come into play. So, if you have a vision, just go for it even if people try to scare you off. And just know that social media is your best friend when it comes to marketing.
What ventures are you working on next?
I am working on two new products right now since last September. I don’t want to give it away but as a hint, I’m going to say ‘Harry Styles’. Also, in the next couple of months, we are working towards working with subscription boxes and hopefully get stocked in local shops.
Never anticipating for it to grow into a business this wide scale, Lucie continues her mission to help others achieve their hair goals and spread the word about the importance of pre-wash treatments.
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