SOJOURN Vanity Fair Magazine
Not only is it unlikely that your shampoo and conditioner will fall into that pH range—“I don’t care what product you test on the marketplace, they all start at 6.7 and up,” Elan says—but it would also be surprising if you could find the P.H. level listed at all. But it didn’t always used to be that way.
“Back in the 80s, every single shampoo was in the range of 4.5 to 5.5—every single one,” Elan says. He’s sitting at the glamorous Peninsula Hotel, in Midtown Manhattan, sipping a soy latte, exuding an understated, quiet cool. “And then someone said, you know, it’s too expensive to keep it in that range; you have to do double the time in the tank, add citric acid, all this stuff. So someone came up with a marketing segue: ‘pH balanced.’ Which means nothing. They started taking the pH off the bottle, saying the product is ‘pH balanced,’ but it could be balanced at a 9, a 10, whatever.”
So why should you care?
Furthermore, Sojourn contains cystine amino acid, which is one of the main building blocks of the Keratin complex. The combination of Keratin cashmere and cystine amino acid prevents hair breakage and split ends.And that’s not all. The products are also 100 percent biodegradable with a net-zero environmental impact, and contain no sulfates, formaldehyde, denatured alcohol, parabens, salt, or artificial colors or dyes—things Elan coins “junk artificial stuff.”“I think there is a lot of unfinished business in the hair industry,” he says. “There are still a lot of things going on that can be improved upon, including products and education.”Given all of the genuine transparency in his business practices, it might come as a surprise that the only thing about the product line that seems to be not out in the open is Elan’s connection to the Sassoon fame: the bottles simply say “Elan S.” on the top of the lids. (He calls his line Sojourn because it means a “journey” in French. “It is about taking responsibility for your sojourn in life,” Elan says. “Taking responsibility for the products you use.”) He’s also a partner in about six salons, including Mizu in Boston and New York. None of them bare his father’s name. He likes it like that. He’s on his own journey.“There’s this picture—I was like 10 and my dad dragging was me to shows in Poland,” Elan continues. “He would take me around quite a bit. I’ve always been in and around [the hair industry]. I dabbled in a few things after college, but I was like, Oh, forget it, and I went back in. I love it. I just love the energy of being in the salon.”
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