Anne-Sophie Skjødt Villumsen is the mastermind behind the haircare and (now) make-up brand ZENZ. What’s so special about ZENZ? Simple, they care. During her time as a trainee hairdresser, Anne-Sophie began to develop allergies to traditional haircare products, and as a result, sought to develop products that she could use. Once she realised there were other people with the same problems as her, but who also did not want to comprimise on their haircare, Anne-Sophie launched ZENZ in 2010.
Specialising in eco-friendly, organic products such as oils, botanical henna, mineral make-up, suncare and skincare, the ZENZ portfolio is a large one. I sat down Annie-Sophie to discuss her passion for haircare, ZENZ’s new make-up line, the environment and education.
How have your allergies changed your skincare and haircare regime?
My allergy made me study ingredients and taught me everything I know about the beauty industry and its’ downsides. Before my allergy, I did not think about what was in a product, but only about the function. After learning what beauty products consisted of and how much unnecessary chemistry there was in the world that can cause so many problems, I became conscious. Today I always research what’s in the products I use or recommend to others.
What made you take the step into the make-up world?
Since I was a little girl, I have always loved fashion, hair and make-up. When I was 7/8 year old, I practiced on my little brother, and then later on my friends and family. I think it’s fascinating what you can create with the right make-up or hair – make people younger or older, make them soft or give them more edge. In the world we live in today, people are often judged at first sight on Facebook, Instagram or when you meet them, first impressions mean a lot and hair and make-up have a huge affect on this. Therefore, it was natural that ZENZ also made make-up products so we had a complete portfolio of healthy and sustainable products.
Your mineral make-up is made from vegan, natural ingredients that are sustainable and beneficial to your skin. What’s your favourite product from the new range?
Veganism is a natural part of being sustainable and conscious consumers who wish to preserve the planet for our descendants, ask for it. Vegan make-up is all well and good, it’s also important to make sure we think about the other things like additives, preservatives, essential oils and perfumes. My favourite products are the powder foundations Grace no. 230 and Norma no. 22, as well as the mascara Thelma no. 60 and the blush Olivia no. 41, which I use as both eyeshadow, lip colour and on my cheeks.
What’s your favourite ZENZ product for your hair?
For washing, I prefer Deep Wood no. 07, and soon we will release our new Treatment Shampoo Rhassoul no. 16, which I absolutely love. For styling, at the moment I prefer Salt Water Spray Orange no. 15 and then Copenhagen Hair Powder Pure no. 89 for ultra-smooth hair. Both products create volume and a bit of resistance to my hair!
Your products are all-natural, not tested on animals and come in biodegradable packaging. How important is it for you to run a company that is conscious of its’ environmental footprint?
At ZENZ, our mission is to work for a healthier and more sustainable beauty industry, and therefore we work to the UN’s goals for sustainable development in everything that we do. It’s important to us that we are healthy, natural and sustainable, and we want to be a leader in these areas!
ZENZ haircare products and yourself have won multiple awards, congratulations! How does it feel knowing that your products are helping people with allergies not compromise on their haircare?
It’s so lovely, and confirms that our passion is appreciated by other professionals and influencers in the industry. Every day i’m see how important it is to work with and help hairdressers with allergies, as they have customers with the same problems. There are also so many women who’s appearance is their job and need to have products that look after their bodies inside and out.
How have you found running your own hair salons and teaching others?
I have learned treatment methods that can replace the traditional chemical products with healthier options and still work! I have made my own ZENZ courses and taught others, based on the experiences I have had myself. It has also taught hairdressers from all over the world who want to work in a healthier way.
What’s your favourite ZENZ haircare product combination?
I use our Oil Treatment Deep Wood no. 99 many times in a day, as face serum, hair oil, intense treatment and as a make-up remover. Combined with our anti-ageing face cream, it’s essential! But our Copenhagen Hair Powder Pure no. 89 is also a must for me every day.
Focusing on change and sustainability has led to some amazing charity work by ZENZ. What made you want to do charity work and help young women?
Doing charity work and helping others, gives me so much happiness and peace. I run ZENZ together with my husband and business partner Jørgen, and he suggested the project #zenzstøtterpigerne (#zenzsupportsgirls) in Kampala, where we help young women to get out of prostitution and into education. The project makes so much sense as there is still so much to fight for when it comes to women’s rights across the world, so the fact that we can help people out of the slums while educating them giving them independence makes all the difference. We have also worked with Project Homeless in Copenhagen, who provides food and support for homeless people.
What’s been the best part of the charity work that ZENZ does?
It’s hard to say, but making a difference is very important to us. I think there are so many places we could make a difference in, if we only had more than 24 hours a day!
ZENZ products are available to purchase at selected hair salons worldwide.
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Tags: organic haircare, ZENZ
Sophia is our Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director. She works as a freelance photographer and graphic designer, and is based in Reykjavík, Iceland.
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