After just over a decade in business, BLEACH London has pioneered incredible change in the hair industry.
Though it had little more to show for itself than a pop-up salon at a WAH Nails in East London to start, BLEACH has fast become the UK’s go-to brand for creative hair color—both in-salon and at-home.
Which, naturally, it’s now looking to repeat in America.
This month, BLEACH is launching its very first US salon in West Hollywood, just a stone’s throw from The Grove.
Headed up by co-founder Alex Brownsell, who is taking on new clients for the first time in a decade, the new salon offers BLEACH’s full range of color services, exclusive treatments (including Brownsell’s “thousand-dollar bleach”), and a retail storefront to meet increasing demand from DIY home hair color customers.
“With limited access to salons in 2020, we saw a large increase of customers coming to BLEACH to use at-home kits and try experimental colour for the first time,” says Brownsell. This growth has continued into 2021, and we’ve noticed our community has become more willing to experiment.”
In 2020, BLEACH London saw a 600% growth in sales across its digital platform, selling one at-home Bleach Kit every 15 seconds.
Additionally, the brand also saw a 57% increase across their Super Cool Colour range, selling over half a million colors across the pastel, bright and vivid spectrum.
“I think that DIY kits and salon service sit side-by-side, but we started originally with the salon,” says model Georgia MayJagger, co-owner of BLEACH. “Alex made the products and used her own stuff in the salon before we expanded into the product range. We don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t have a bit of BLEACH.”
After meeting Brownsell as a teenager on one of her first shoots, Jagger became a friend, client, and eventually one of Bleach’s first investors.
“I would actually get my hair done at the first Bleach salon [in Dalston, London],” says Jagger. “I was a big fan of the brand, and then five or six years ago, Alex asked me if I wanted to become a partner with her and our other business partner, Sam Campbell. I obviously wanted to do it.”
She has remained an active partner over the years, supporting the brand’s growth, evolution, and bringing a wealth of global industry knowledge to the brand, both in front of the camera and in the salon chair.
“I think that Bleach has been successful in the UK because we really champion originality and the concepts of being different and creative,” she says. “I think there’s something for everyone at Bleach, whether it’s classic highlights or something really different. We’ve created a culture where people feel like it’s a safe place to express themselves.”
Jagger says the new salon has been years in the making, though they’ve kept its development close to their chests. “The design for the LA salon was inspired by Alex’s love of ASMR, so it’s going to feel interactive—in that when you walk into our shop space and salon, you will feel as if you’re going through the journey of the hair.”
This includes a sound bath of hair being washed and cut, ceiling projections that reflect the floors and BLEACH colors, and a discreet one-way mirror so salon clients will be able to see, but not be seen by, customers shopping in the storefront.
But there are only four chairs, however, meaning pricing varies between $500, $700 and $1000—whether you choose to see a stylist, senior stylist, or Brownsell—inclusive of consultation, products, treatment, trim and blow dry.
“During my time in LA, I’ve noticed people are more willing to try new beauty trends and experiment with their looks more regularly, so it feels like the perfect place to open Bleach in the US,” says Brownsell. “There’s an appetite for our experimental approach in the market, so we’re really excited to see what products prove most popular and the creativity that will come from a country as big and diverse as America.”
A country that already seems. infatuated with the brand, thanks to social media. BLEACH is currently the fastest growing hair brand on TikTok and its US following has grown organically through color-obsessed communities on Instagram and YouTube.
“We’re pretty excited about how we’re selling almost everywhere now, and in the US, so who knows what’s next? Maybe we’ll do a salon somewhere else…” Jagger wonders aloud.
“I’ve always said that I’ve wanted to do something in Tokyo, so I think that would be the ‘crazy’ dream for me, but for now we’re just really excited about coming to the US.”