Exclusive Interview with Olivia Crighton of Glasshouse

Fusing her love for anything creative and hands-on with a passion for looking after the environment, Olivia Crighton has built herself a reputable and respectable business in one of London’s most creative communities. By extending her own personal values beyond her daily life and integrating them into her business, Glasshouse Salon caters for like-minded individuals […]


Fusing her love for anything creative and hands-on with a passion for looking after the environment, Olivia Crighton has built herself a reputable and respectable business in one of London’s most creative communities. By extending her own personal values beyond her daily life and integrating them into her business, Glasshouse Salon caters for like-minded individuals who enjoy taking the time out to care for themselves at no cost to the environment.

It’s true: successful people are always healthy. That’s not only pointing the finger at what’s on their plates each evening, but also looking at how they spend their time and energy. Due to a highly demanding schedule, Olivia makes sure she keeps some time aside for herself too, whether that’s filling up on green smoothie or walking through the local galleries, there’s a conscious decision to mindfully put back in what has already been exerted.

Attracted to London in the same way that most young kiwis are, Olivia set off on her travels abroad with the intention of creatively expanding and growing. London, with its progressive attitudes and rich cultural history, offered a plethora of opportunities and like-minded people and, well, the idea of returning home again hasn’t quite yet bared its head…

I’m interested in Glasshouse’s situation inside Netil House, described as a ‘creative community’. Can you tell us about this space and what makes it so special being here?

Netil House is a unique setting, and I was thrilled when the opportunity arose to make Glasshouse a part of the community. I didn’t want a conventional shopfront, rather, I wanted a private and intimate space that could feel like someone’s living room. The building is home to a wide variety of tenants: personal trainers, massage and holistic therapists, creative studios and offices. I love having such a diverse range of talent close by, especially when it allows me to discover like-minded brands and people, such as our new neighbour The Acey — a sustainable clothing online shop with some great brands and a shared ethos. The building is also home to a roof top bar and organic cafe with 360 degree views of London which has just re-opened for the spring and summer months.

When did you open the doors of Glasshouse? And what was the motivation for doing so?

I started working with more natural and organic hair products when I moved to London in 2008. I wanted to use something safer for myself, and in turn for my clients. The colour product, Organic Colour Systems had already been around for 20 years, but I noticed a huge interest and demand for hairdressing that puts the clients health and hair condition first. My first five years in London were spent freelancing as a stylist, working on editorials and doing education work for the company. It got to the point where I couldn’t keep up with the demand on my own, so setting the salon up was a natural next step.

The Glasshouse-experience looks like such a treat! What are some of the treatments/services you and your team pride yourselves on?

We’ve seen a real increase in blondes this past year, and some of our most popular services range from a subtle balayage to platinum blondes. One of our specialties’ is creating pastel shades such as warm peach and soft pinks. We hand-blend custom colour pots using a treatment base for clients, so they can top up their colour at home between appointments. Our treatments reconstruct the hair using organic wheat and quinoa protein as well as natural moisturizing ingredients like comfrey, chamomile and aloe vera extracts. They’re great for strengthening limp, porous or dry hair. Condition is extra important for achieving the best possible results with our colour work, enabling us to be flexible and creative with what we do. I like to think our approach is quite holistic, and we take into account the wants and needs of our clients when it comes to maintenance, style and condition – not just how the hair looks on the day they visit.

The natural and organic approach seems to filter across everything you do, both in salon and personally. What are your reasons behind this, and how do you practice these day-to-day?

In terms of mind and body, I learnt after burning out a few years back to try to take care of myself in ‘the way nature intended’. I had started to develop a lot of allergies and was regularly unwell. I had to re-assess my diet and lifestyle. My ideals are an organic, plant-based diet with plenty of gentle yoga. I have a few regular therapists I visit for massage, acupuncture and energy healing, and have now completed my Reiki training Level Two, this was to incorporate my own healing practices into daily life. It’s been something I have always wanted to do for myself but the timing had to be right. I don’t always find that perfect balance, and time is always of the essence, but I do what I can and always aspire to do more for my mind and body. I find when I’m in a good place with myself I can better look after my staff and clients.

I also tend to have a ‘natural’ approach when it comes to all things hair and beauty, and I love the idea of multi-use products. It’s great to be able to stock up on kitchen cupboard essentials that can double up as beauty treatments like the ones in our ‘fix yourself with nature’ series. My favourite is the avocado and oatmeal mask. I also use shampoos that are gentle enough and the right pH to use as body wash like our Organic Colour Systems care products- they are all sulphate and sodium chloride free.

With such knowledge of the beauty industry, what is your personal beauty regime like?

What works for me is a simple cleanse, tone and moisturise routine using gentle and natural products wherever possible. Again I always go for brands that are SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) and SLES (sodium laureth sulphate) free. I’ve used mineral makeup for more than 8 years now, and have recently discovered so many exciting new brands of natural and organically based cosmetics that I’ve begun to experiment with. In terms of makeup, a few favourite brands are Ilia, Bellapierre, Kjaer Weiss and RMS. My new hero product is RMS Living Luminizer, it’s a beautiful highlighter that’s not too sparkly. RMS products are coconut oil based which makes them extra hydrating. With my hair I like to mix things up between a little Sans [ceuticals] Nourishing Hair Wash and Hydratant and Organic Care Systems PowerBuild range. I also incorporate weekly reconstructive treatments to keep it looking full and shiny. At the moment I’m platinum blonde and it just wouldn’t be maintainable without a little extra work in my beauty routine. For a treat I sometimes end my workday with a hot bath, some essential oils; Ylang Ylang, lavender and grapefruit is my favourite combo and a generous helping of Dead Sea salts, it really helps out tired muscles and aids the body’s detoxification process. I love Sans [ceuticals] Activator 7 Oil for a little post bath hydration.

Can you share one of your most favourite vegan recipes?

If I’m feeling like something a little comforting, but still quick and easy, I go for Chloe Coscarelli’s Fettuccine Alfredo. Her recipes are so accessible and never leave you feeling like you’re missing out!

Fettuccine Alfredo


1 pound fettuccine (I use brown rice spaghetti)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup raw cashews*
2 cups water
2 teaspoons white miso paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish


Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Add fettuccine and cook till Al dente. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and let cook until soft. Add garlic and let cook few more minutes. Remove from heat.

In a blender, combine onions and garlic, cashews, water, miso paste, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process on high until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

Toss hot pasta with sauce until evenly coated. Adjust seasoning to taste. If sauce gets too thick, add a little water, 1 table spoon at a time. Garnish with parsley and serve. *(if you’re not using a high powered blender cashews are best soaked over night first).

I hate to be a cliche, but my vegetable of the moment is Kale, it’s a side for most of my home cooked meals and this one is no exception.

If you have out-of-towners in salon, what do you recommend they eat/drink/see/hear/play locally?

If you’re lucky enough to visit on a weekend we are neighbours to three markets: Netil Market, The School Yard and the renowned Broadway Market. Traders consist of a variety of locally sourced and produced artisan food, lifestyle, florist, fresh farm produce, jewellery and vintage clothing stands.

The area has is no shortage of pubs, bars, cafes as well as London Fields park- one of the best spots to people watch in London. For sustenance I love The Laundry restaurant and bar, it’s a beautifully designed industrial setting. Their current menu has a Japanese influence with light and tasty dishes such as sesame udon noodle and rainbow barley salads. And if you’re feeling like something healthy and refreshing G&T Organic shop and coffee house have founded a new cold press juice range The Hive wellbeing. I’ve just done my first ever juice detox on their ‘Green Cleanse’ and can highly recommend it! They also stock carefully sourced organic and Italian cupboard essentials, counter top sweets and sandwiches with plenty of vegan and allergen free options.

What has been grabbing your creative attention lately? Any books, films, or music that you’re currently loving?

I draw inspiration from a lot of different areas in my life. London is an incredibly inspiring place to live, the amount of free galleries, exhibitions, and museums to visit is almost overwhelming. The exhibition’s I most recently visited here were at Somerset House; Guy Bourdin’s Image maker and Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie, and The Advent of Punk. It showcased a series of iconic and previously unpublished photographs through his time with Deborah Harry in the band Blondie, she’s a big Glasshouse muse of ours. I also recently visited The Museum of Modern Art in New York. My favourite pieces were Pablo Picasso’s Boy Leading Horse and Meret Oppenheim’s Fur covered cup, saucer and spoon 1936. In terms of books I often don’t read as much as I would like, but tend to devour books on trips and long weekends away. My favourite authors are Douglas Coupland and Margaret Atwood.

I also draw a lot of creativity and inspiration from collaborations. I recently worked on a project with British accessories designer Ally Capellino where we paired deep and pastel shades of hair colour with still-life images for their SS15 collection. Sometimes however, I feel the most creative when I’m out of London, on a country ramble or visiting the seaside. I love the feeling of space and fresh air, the quiet helps me come up with and process my most influential creative thoughts.

And lastly, do you have a tune you love to start the day or opening the salon listening to?

We currently love the tracks on No World by Inc. and The Movement’s self-titled album.






Images by Jessica MacCormick