From New York – The City Of Dreams: John Masters Organics Hair Care 1/2

Beauty | 24.9.2014 | Katja Kokko


A few days ago I found the post boy behind my door with a cardboard box in his hands. From the box came a breath of Manhattan air – and a bundle of haircare items from John Masters Organics. I let out a squeal of pure delight at finally having these long-awaited products in my hands.

I made my first acquaintance with this professional range about eighteen months ago when I was testing out some of its products, and took an instant liking to them. I’ve tested a few items throughout the spring and summer months, but only now have I gotten the chance to give the styling products a try. I thought I would thus divide my experience into two separate posts: haircare products and styling products.

Let’s go back to New York, however, and start with a look at the brand’s background.


John Masters began his career in New York in the 1970’s and, with a range bearing his name, has been among the world’s top hairdressers for the past 20 years. His brand is known throughout the world as the best and most respected natural haircare range, with its clients including celebrities like Jessica Alba, Nelly Furtado, Oliver Thornton and Alicia Silverstone, just to name a few.

In the 1980’s, beginning to realize the harmfulness of the chemicals used by haircare professionals, Masters took an interest in natural ingredients. The first two natural products were created in 1991, and his first salon in Soho, opened three years later, gained a reputation as having the freshest air in salon in Manhattan; treatments requiring the use of strong chemicals, like perms and hair dying, were not offered by Masters. The brand currently offers more than 45 products, including skin care, a men’s range, and even products intended for family pets and the home.

Masters’ dream is to be a pioneer in natural cosmetics, and to continue perfecting his products with the help of the ever-evolving natural cosmetic technology.


As the brand is American, its products differ from the Ecocert-certified products we have in Europe. These are the requirements for all John Masters Organics products:

1. All products must be made with 70-100% organic content

2. No sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, Diethanolamines (DEAs), Monoethanolamines (MEAs), or Triethanolamines (TEAs)

3. No GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism)

4.No animal testing

5. No artificial colors, fragrances or fillers

6. All plant extracts and essential oils must be certified organic whenever possible

7. All essential oils must be steam-distilled and not extracted with propylene glycol – which kills the effect of the oils

8. All plant oils must be cold pressed, not heat distilled – which kills the therapeutic properties of plant oils

9. All ingredients must be proven to be beneficial to the hair or skin

10. All ingredients must be harvested in an environmentally friendly manner (wind-crafted)

11. All ingredients must be bio-degradable as possible. (source)


For testing I was given the Evening Primrose Shampoo, the Citrus & Neroli Conditioner, the Honey & Hibiscus Shampoo, the Honey & Hibiscus Conditioner, a leave-in Rose & Apricot hair milk, as well as a leave-in Green Tea & Calendula Conditioning Mist.

Except for the hair milk, the Honey & Hibiscus conditioner, and the leave-in conditioning mist, I have tried or used all of these products before. Writing about haircare products lately has made more critical about my washing experiences. My hair has felt sort of heavy all throughout the summer, and I’ve been wanting to make it more airy, light, and sleek – qualities easily provided by synthetic haircare products.

The first contestants were the Evening Primrose Shampoo, the Citrus & Neroli Conditioner and the leave-in Green Tea & Calendula Conditioning Mist.

I am trying my best not to be too lauding or use too many superlatives, but as I can’t remember the last time my hair felt this good, this perfect, it’s a bit difficult. For the first time in months my hair is completely clean, smooth, light, and sleek – everything I’ve been missing, in other words. The difference is huge. The conditioning mist was the proverbial icing on the cake and (once I’ve used it for a bit longer and am fully convinced of its effectiveness) I think it will be added to my Beauty Guide.


The Evening Primrose Shampoo is suited for dry, normal, and dyed hair. It has good washing power, but again, it won’t make your hair rubbery. The shampoo is packed with nourishing, repairing, and protecting vegetable oils and extracts: comfrey leaf, lavender, nettle root, horsetail, chamomile, white tea, ylang-ylang, patchouli, geranium, evening primrose oil, borage seed oil, lemon peel oil, hyaluronic acid, and so on. The fragrance is aromatherapeutic, calming and pleasant.

Citrus & Neroli Detangler is suitable for dry, thin, and dyed hair. It can be rinsed out (which I did) or left in. You only need a small amount of the product to detangle and smooth your hair, without making them heavy. It is possibly the best conditioner I have ever tried – which is no surprise, as it’s received several best natural conditioner awards for being just that. It contains grape fruit peel oil, lemon peel oil, neroli flower oil, lemon grass oil; arnica flower, lemon grass, white tea, chamomile, marigold (calendula), fennel seed, and horsetail extracts, as well as hyaluronic acid. It has a refreshing citrus scent.

The Green Tea & Calendula Conditioning Mist is suited for all hair types and can be used on dry or damp hair. A light spray will protect and hydrate the hair. I love this mist and its calming scent; it gives the hair that magical, final touch that I’ve been missing. Here too the list of herbs is pretty delicious; broccoli seed oil, geranium, rosemary, cedarwood, green tea, chamomile, calendula, patchouli, ylang-ylang, nettle root, lemon, and grape fruit. How does that sound? Pretty gorgeous,right?


Next, I tried the Honey & Hibiscus Shampoo and Conditioner combo, as well as the leave-in Rose & Apricot hair milk. I got most out of the trio above, and these products are definitely best suited for dry or damaged hair.

The Honey & Hibiscus Shampoo is a reconstructing shampoo for dry, damaged, and color treated hair. Despite having used a tube of this richly lathering shampoo a year ago, I was still surprised by its consistency, which is almost on par with Tigi’s. Evening Primrose is far more suited for me, but if you have long, bleached, or damaged hair, this will be the perfect shampoo for you. Like the others, this product is brimming with garden and sea herbs: irish moss, kelp, bergamot, borage seed oil, honey, wheatgerm oil, hyaluronic acid, grape fruit, hibiscus, and carnauba wax.

The Honey and Hibiscus Conditioner is, likewise, a reconstructing conditioner for dry and damaged hair, and can also be used daily on very dry and color treated hair, or once a week as a conditioning treatment on normal and oily hair. I’m in the latter category as far as this product is concerned. It’s a very rich and creamy conditioner, and provides effective reconstruction. The scent is similar to other products – a john-masters scent, if you will. The list of ingredients might give a hint as to the origin of that characteristic fragrance: irish moss, kelp, beech bud, cupua seed butter, ylang-ylang, borage seed oil, wheat protein, tamanu seed oil, honey, patchouli, bergamot, white tea, hibiscus, chamomile, calendula, arnica, and silver linden.


The Rose & Apricot Hair Milk is a nourishing and protecting leave-in conditioner for dry and damaged hair. It can also be used as a styling product. The conditioner is moisturizing, defrizzing and adds shine. Apply a dime-sized amount of it to towel dried hair. As my hair is neither dry nor damaged, much less frizzy, I actually prefer the Green Tea & Calendula Conditioning Mist. This is definitely a rescue product for very dry, rough, and damaged hair. If nothing works on your hair, this will – especially if you pair it up with the Honey & Hibiscus conditioner. The scent is rosy, as the name might tell you, and besides rose oils, the product contains apricot kernel oil, orange peel oil, mongongo oil, cupua seed butter, shea butter, rose hip oil, chamomile, calendula, green tea, rosemary, and nettle root.

John Masters products are a bit more expensive than those from Neal’s Yard or Madara, but they’re not expensive. Formulas like these makes John Masters Organics’ reputation of pioneering natural haircare well deserved.

In part two, I will reveal whether John Masters’ styling products got me to finally ditch synthetic dry shampoo for good. Stay tuned!


This post uses affiliate links.

All products received for testing by John Masters’ importer EcoBeautyWellness.

Photos Katja Kokko

Translation Katja Nikula

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