By MATTHEW MCKEW
Hairdressing’s not something that immediately springs to mind when thinking of veganism,
but for one go-it-alone mobile hair stylist, it’s front and centre of her business.
Jenny Matiu went vegan about three-and-a-half years ago, and her lifestyle change put a spotlight on the career she’d been pursuing since the age of 14.
‘‘My brother has been vegan for 20-plus years, but it wasn’t until I came across a Sea Shepherd beach clean.’’
A few conversations later, the Queenstowner decided to put paid to meat and dairy.
But working in a salon, she found herself having to use products that involved animal cruelty.
‘‘There’s lots of reason to go vegan, and my main reason is definitely for animal welfare,’’
Until a few months ago, Chinese import laws meant cosmetics and shampoos had to be tested on animals, meaning many big-name companies routinely did this.
So six months ago, Matiu decided to take the plunge, go it alone and have full control over
the products she used.
‘‘A vegan hairdresser’s just a person who chooses to use nothing that’s been tested on animals, and that’s a biggie because a lot of beauty products — make-up, hair products, so many things we buy — have been tested on animals directly or indirectly.
‘‘It sat better with me, because my morals are now a lot more aligned with my work.’’
Finding a good range to work with has not been hard either, and she believes the products she uses are some of the highest quality she’s ever worked with.
‘‘A lot of my clients care, a lot of people are starting to care even if they’re not vegan themselves.
‘‘So the feedback’s been really good.’’
Many of her clients come from the resort’s close-knit and growing vegan community, while others just like the way she styles their hair and don’t set too much stall by her veganism.
Matiu promises no lectures during her hair cuts, though she’s happy to answer any questions, and says there’s been genuine interest from people to learn more.