Many people think about having a beer after a long day. But Brad Pearsall and Sarah Duran think about beer, a lot. All day, in fact. That’s because this Asheville, NC couple are the founders of Bröö, a firm that sells hair care products based on the ingredients and benefits of beer.It was a conversation with Pearsall’s mom that got the idea brewing, so the speak, for these lawyers-turned entrepreneurs. Just like many other Americans, Pearsall and his wife were looking for personal care products that were less reliant on so-called traditional chemistries. They had been using items like sulfate-free shampoo, but didn’t like the trade offs in aesthetics, like a lack of lather.“I was lamenting with my mom, and she said, ‘why don’t you do what I did back in college?’” Pearsall said. His mother told him that back in her college days, girls were rinsing their hair with beer after a story surfaced about Jackie Kennedy using beer as a hair conditioner. Duran’s mother had done the same.So, Duran decided to give it a try (with a craft beer rather than your basic Bud)—and she liked what she felt and saw: soft, shiny hair.
And there was the light blub moment.
Pearsall and Duran began thinking of ways they could bring the “saloon to the salon” by blending beer with natural cleansers. With no chemistry experience, the pair found a cosmetic chemist and set out to craft a product that would be “clean enough to be accepted in an the naturals world, but with salon performance,” Pearsall told Happi.
After 50 different formulations, the team launched shampoos and conditioners sold in three variants: Volumizing Pale Ale, Hydrating Porter and Smoothing IPA.
Ingredients include hops flowers that release essential oils to nourish the hair and barley protein for body. As with many other naturals brands, there’ a growing cadre of free-from claims at Bröö too; the line is formulated without sulfates and, as declared on its website, there are no phthalates, parabens, silicone, quaterniums, dyes, sodium chloride, MEAs, DEAs, TEAs, PEGs, propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol or dioxanes either.
All of the shampoos and conditioners feature 100% natural fragrances. There’s citrus, ginger and lemongrass with a malt finish; vanilla, toffee and caramel notes with a chocolate and coconut finish; and an exotic blend of cinnamon, ginger and cardamom.
Today, the Bröö line can be in 1000 doors around the country, including nine of 11 Whole Foods regions, as well as salons and natural product retailers.
The company is ready to tap other areas of personal care too. There are body lathers ready for market (in citrus pale and oatmeal porter) and styling products are expected out soon.
With a staff of just four, Bröö is facing some big competition in the personal care space.
“We’re not P&G; we’re Brad and Sarah,” Pearsall quipped.