Interview with Christine from Lalemana – Barcelona’s sustainable hair salon

For some places, it only becomes clear how sustainable they are after a deeper look. Lalemana is one as such. A hair salon in Barcelona focused on quality, but definitely also sustainability. We had an interview with founder Christine, to get to know more.

Hi Christine, can you tell us a bit more about yourself and about how Lalemana started?

My name is Christine Petras, 38 years old, born and raised in Germany. After my basic hairdresser studies in Germany (they are already quite good as you can imagine) I started travelling and studying more about different hairtypes like afro or chinese hair, which is really different to our European hair. Also about hairstyles, because tastes changes from culture to culture as well.  Since 2008 I form part of an international hair artistic team, with whom I create two collections a year for further education. And finally in 2010 I opened the doors of my beloved salon LALEMANA.

I have been doing hair since I was 14, so basically I found my passion on an early age and kept studying since then about everything one can do with hair: color cut; different hair types from afro to chinese hair 😉 Apart from that I became Mum at a young age (24) which made me conscious about food, the environment, education systems, etc. .So when I founded my business I combined both, to say… I wanted to create a place of beauty respecting everything and everybody in a sustainable way!

Why did you choose this city?

I find Barcelona one of the best cities to live in worldwide. To start with, we are in Europe, where I find democracy is celebrated in a fantastic way, free education for everyone, same rights for women and men and nearly no racism. In Barcelona you can see all types of skincolor or religion living together in peace and learning from and enjoying each others’ cultures. Barcelona inspires!!! As seen as a cool city it attracts a lot of people from all ages, but still a lot of young people with lots of new ideas and projects which enhances you to constantly renew or rethink your initial ideas. Geographically we have a beautiful beach that we can use AND mountains to enjoy in summer and winter….there are no environmental catastrophes, like earthquakes or Tsunamis and the climate is soft, not too cold, not too hot all year long. Last but not least: the people and their way of living…enjoying life at terraces, tapas, fiestas, it all forms part of the culture where we spent a lot of time out of our homes, having a good time with others of our community.

What do you offer?

We offer everything from assessment to haircuts, from root colors to more sophisticated color techniques, Make up day and night, wedding specials and we have new art expositions every 3-4 month. Apart from the in-salon work, I do further education due to my work with the international hair artistic team of Hair Construction.

How do you focus on sustainability?

Me as a salon owner I do everything to do better everyday. Since the beginning we did recycle and used water in a responsible way. Later, we changed our shampoos and finishing products to an Italian brand called Davines. This brand was founded in the 80s and keeps surprising us everytime with their compromise to nature, society and beauty. We would still work with Wella colors at this time, which as a German company were really trustful in their production process and outcoming results. Unfortunately they got bought by Procter and Gamble, and as we know, the bigger the chain the less they care. So in the end I finished our contract with Wella not because the product changed, if not because of their business philosophy. These are the things that had the biggest impact, but you also have to question the little things, like getting rid of teabags using refillable and reusable teabags. Apart from that we collaborate with the sustainable fashion industry doing hair and make up at catwalks for “La Asociación de moda sostenible” or photoshoots with “Move to slow fashion”. We also donate cut off long hairpieces to “mechones solidarios” who does wigs for children suffering cancer. Once a month I even work one day as a volunteer for them. Next project is to have the first refill-shampoo-bar in Barcelona. This way we avoid more plastic trash and costumers save a little money. 😉

How is the sustainable scene evolving in Barcelona?

As I travelled a lot for work, I have to admit that it is still lightyears away from the northern European countries, but indeed the best in Spain. You have plenty of recycle spots, veggie or vegan restaurant, sustainable clothes, bike-ways and a really good working public transport system. I do believe that the easiest way to change a society is through their children, so to improve they should do more in schools. Once we have conscious kids they will show their parents 😉

Do you feel that people are more into sustainability?

I do believe that we are living in the era of consciousness, where people are questioning common processes, and look for a better way, healthier and more sustainable, but I admit that there is still a lot of ignorance. Still I feel proud of each and everyone that helps pushing towards a better world. In terms of haircare we enhance our customers to think about the damage that not sustainable products provocate rinsing them through the drain. By creating the first shampoo refill bar in Barcelona, we also want to give a cheaper option as we all know that sustainable products are a little more expensive!

What are some of your major challenges?

I think I speak for all self-employed people in Spain, when I say that it is hard as a little business due to high costs and tax system. Creating a sustainable business on the other hand is relatively easy. Just take it step by step, don’t try to fix everything at a time! In the end, slow changes are usually the most constant ones!

What are some of your favourite areas in Barcelona?

Our street called Daguería is one of my favorite ones, as still in the city center but not surrounded by big companies. All shops offer high quality on fair prices. You find from clothes to jewellery, little things for your home, a local cheeseshop, etc. Other lovely areas are Raval for being so multicultural and bohemian or Gracia feeling like a little village in the big city.

What are some of the sustainable shops and projects not to be missed in the city?

Okay, hope I don’t miss anybody:
Asociación de moda sostenible de Barcelona (on their website you can find everything related to fashion);
Move to slow fashion (online store with more than 50 sustainable brands);
Sylvia Calvo (one of the designers and for a long time director of asociacion de moda sostenible, her brand making beautiful clothes out of coffee bags, she made it to fashion week Australia and has several interviews and ted talks online);
Hermanos Sabater (natural soap shop next to Plaza Sant Felip Neri);
Cometa Pla (Good healthy food on a fair price at Calle Cometa);
Flax and Kale or Teresas Juices (I think everyone knows it already);
Home on Earth;
Colette (handmade jewellery made out of antique lace in Born);
Barcelona Seaglass (jewellery made out of seaglass, but from Castelldefels).

Thanks a lot for sharing your story, your innovative work and the great tips!!

For more info about Lalemana, check our review.

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Good Goal is an independent guide to sustainable hair salons and other sustainable places in Barcelona and various other European cities. We visit every place ourselves and only list the most innovative ones. Our guide is made so that everyone can easily find the sustainable options, those that benefit local people, sustainable innovators and that show you the real and local side of the city. To keep yourself updated, please like our Facebookpage