NEW YORK — Designing an all-natural hair care line hasn’t been the biggest challenge in Gene Martignetti’s life.
Watching his son battle leukemia twice within 10 years, then suffering from congestive heart failure himself at age 48, was.
But Martignetti, 50, whose son is now a healthy college student, said as a result he lives every aspect of his life with “a passion toward health.” That includes a desire to combine his knowledge of the beauty care industry — his resume includes launching and re-launching brands by companies such as KMS, Graham Webb and Brocato — with his new lifestyle. “In a small area like hair care, I’d like to set the tone to support healthy products,” said Martignetti. The result is Simply Organic, an organic, salon-only hair care line based on the benefits of olive leaf extract. The olive leaf, according to Liz Williams, Simply Organics’ vice president of communications, can provide “amazing restorative healing and preventative properties. It’s long been known as a topical treatment, but lately people are learning olive leaf extract can infuse wellness from the inside out.”
Shampoos and rinses have been designed for three hair types: dry and chemically treated hair, fine hair and normal hair. A rejuvenating sealer is also available, as is a nutritional supplement that carries a patent. None of the hair care products contains sodium laurel sulfate, a lathering agent used in about 90 percent of soaps and shampoos which Martignetti’s explains has been identified as a potential carcinogenic if used in high quantities. The Simply Organic brochure addresses use of these ingredients in a more blunt manner. “Because of our lack of understanding of these ingredients, we contribute to the erosion of our health by slathering our hair and skin with dangerous chemicals and digging our graves with our teeth,” the brochure reads.
By “breaking the cycle,” Martignetti said, “we can get the mainstream into the organic market.”
Since October Martignetti has sold the salon-only line to more than 100 salons in Minneapolis, Arizona, Los Angeles and New York. Some New York salons offering Simply Organic include Salon AKS, Damian West, Salon Insitu, Minardi and Anthony de Franco.
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Organic products don’t come cheap. Shampoos retail for $21, conditioners for $24 and the sealer for $21. The supplements retail for $34.95. But Martignetti said some salons are opting to offset the higher cost of the products by charging a bit more for an “organic shampoo.”
“You’d be surprised how many customers will pay a couple of dollars more for an organic service instead of regular shampoo service,” Martignetti said. “And plus, it’s better for them.”