Meet the Natural Products Advocate
With a hair styling pedigree to beat the band, Peter Lamas is an internationally recognized beauty expert who now helms a brand of natural hair and beauty products sold at specialty boutiques, natural health stores and Duane Reade in New York City. Peter’s career began at the renowned Vidal Sassoon salon in New York, where he worked under the tutelage of Paul Mitchell. From there he moved on to the celebrity-favored Kenneth Salon and ultimately to the Henri Bendel Salon, working again with Paul Mitchell. in the 70s, he branched out on his own and launched The Reapers salon, which eventually had three Manhattan locations. Peter’s clients have included Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Diana Ross and Jacqueline Kennedy, to name just a few, for whom he would design both hairstyle and makeup.
Today, Peter resides in Los Angeles, from where he runs Peter Lamas Products, which manufactures natural and 100% vegan hair-care, skin-care and body-care products.
More and more natural beauty products are entering the marketplace. Why is “natural” such an important category?
Consumers are more conscious about what they are putting in and on their bodies. Because of the heightened media coverage about the consequences of environmental pollution, harsh chemicals and unnecessary additives, today’s consumer is more aware about how their surroundings can affect their health.
Which common beauty ingredients do you feel are most dangerous and what substitutions can be made?
Petrochemicals – such as propylene glycol – are found in a variety of beauty products. This ingredient is primarily added to products as a moisturizing agent.
Sorbitol – a plant-based ingredient – would be a great substitute for propylene glycol. Sorbitol performs just as well and is all-natural.
Parabens, which scientists have found to be carcinogenic, are typically used as preservatives in personal care products. Caprylyl glycol can be a natural and safer alternative.
You can still find traces of lead content in darker shades of some lipsticks. Many women inadvertently ingest lipstick when they lick their lips, which could cause lead to buildup in their systems. Lead is usually used to intensity the color of a lipstick, but there are quite a number of vegetable and natural dyes that provide intense color naturally.
Please tell us a bit about your book “Dying to Be Beautiful.” How many other books have you written?
“Dying to be Beautiful” was the first book I wrote. At the time, there was limited information regarding the chemistry of personal care products. In knowing and understanding the hazardous ingredients contained in everyday personal products – from toothpaste to deodorant, shampoos and moisturizers – I felt the need to start informing the average consumer about what they were putting on their bodies. As we know now, the skin absorbs almost everything – it was critical for the public to know the truth.
In addition to “Dying to be Beautiful,” I have written three other books: “Beauty Basics,” “The Truth About Sun Exposure” and “Ultimate Anti-Aging Secrets.”
What lead you to develop your product lines?
Throughout my career I searched for products that were not only healthy and natural, but most importantly performed to a professional standard. In my search I could not find natural products that worked. I recognized the need to create products that were truly natural and organic but still performed to the highest standards.
In my personal life, I have encountered firsthand the negative effects that harsh chemicals can have. For example, a great friend and long time client of mine, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma – which was reported to have been triggered by her hair dye.
These reasons and many more inspired me to develop my own line of natural and organic hair and skin care products.
Which products are available at Duane Reade and why did you select them?
The entire Chinese Herbs Regenerating System and the Naturals Hair Care Collection are available at Duane Reade Drugstores.
Duane Reade’s interest to go “masstige” – prestige for the masses – gave us the opportunity to reach a broader audience. A large chain like Duane Reade allows us to get our products into the hands of people who may not have been familiar with our brand.
You’ve had an extensive and successful career as a salon owner and makeup artist. What looks will be on-trend for 2011?
The trend for 2011 seems to be short to medium-length hair styles. I’ve seen the Pixie Cut make appearances on a number of runways and magazines. The Shag and soft curls on short-medium hair lengths are also making a comeback in 2011.