In OWA Haircare’s Vision For Future Showers, Water Comes Out Of Shower Heads But Isn’t In Shampoo
The future of dry shampoo is in the shower, at least according to OWA Haircare.
The yet-to-be-launched brand has a vision to remake liquid hair-care products in dry powdered formats and the funding to bring that vision to fruition. It’s secured $200,000 in pre-seed capital from RIT Venture Fund I LLC, which is connected to Rochester Institute of Technology, where OWA Haircare CEO and founder Kailey Bradt received undergraduate and graduate degrees.
“It’s great to see the university supporting alumni. They’re really pushing entrepreneurship, and I’m thrilled to be one of their first big investments,” says Bradt. “I’ve been talking about this product for over two years now, and I can’t wait to see it come to market. Getting it in the hands of people is so exciting. I’m hoping we can create a new wave in the hair-care space.”
Expected to be released in the fall, OWA Haircare’s debut product will be Moondust Hair Wash. The product works by customers wetting their hair and hands, sprinkling one gram of powder formula into their wet hands, applying the wash to their hair and lathering. It’s designed to be a mild cleanser suitable for all hair types, and relies on minerals and plant-based ingredients.
“We aren’t restricting ourselves to just shampoo and conditioner. We will have a hair mask and a styling lotion. Everything will be delivered as a powder,” says Bradt. “It’s completely free of any added water, and everything is going to be travel-friendly. It has a lower impact on the environment, not just because of what’s in the packaging, but because of how it gets to you and where it comes from. We aren’t using artificial colors, silicones, sulfates or parabens.”
The idea for OWA Haircare sprang from Bradt’s heavy travel schedule while on staff at a Los Angeles startup. She was annoyed that clunky hair-care bottles cluttered her luggage and, to avoid them, she tried a shampoo bar, but wasn’t a fan of the experience. Bradt pondered what a convenient alternative could look like and, simultaneously, worried about the environmental toll of beauty products. Most shampoos contain 70% to 80% water. OWA Haircare contains none. The brand gets its name from an acronym for out of this world amazing.
OWA Haircare’s wash will be housed in a 4-oz. bottle made from recyclable material, and there’s enough powder in the bottle for 65 washes. In contrast, Bradt estimates an 8-oz. bottle of liquid shampoo nets about 16 washes. Moondust Hair Wash will be priced at $27. “It offers the most value to the type of woman who has a very busy lifestyle and isn’t home much, but wants to have a great shower wherever they go,” says Bradt.
Environmentally-minded consumers could also be potential targets for OWA Haircare. Bradt stresses the environmental impacts of its products are significantly less than standard haircare. There’s the fact that the brand’s products don’t depend on water, of course, but she points out behind-the-scenes factors lead to its softer ecological footprint, too. OWA Haircare’s products don’t require manufacturing processes that are as energy-intensive as the processes required to make liquid haircare, and they’re lighter to ship than their liquid counterparts.
“When you manufacture liquid shampoos, they have to be put in a huge vat that’s heated and cooled. One process I saw took 12 hours. That’s a lot of energy,” says Bradt. “When it comes to shipping the product, think about how much fuel it takes to ship large volumes of shampoo. We are creating a lightweight, concentrated and compact shampoo that takes a lot less energy to get to customers, and we use ingredients that are mostly biodegradable.”
At the outset, OWA Haircare will only sell online. Bradt reasons it can best educate consumers about its products through direct-to-consumer platforms. Beyond its own website, Bradt believes television home shopping could be a compelling channel for the brand. “We really want to make sure that people understand it,” she says. “When they try it, most people say, ‘Wow, this is easier than I thought it would be.’”