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Mordechai Alvow, who owns the Yarok Beauty Kitchen in New York, is a celebrity hair stylist whose clients include Naomi Watts, Melania Trump and, most famously, Real Housewives of New York City star Aviva Drescher. Yet he is probably most impressive, at least to us at Truth in Aging, for his commitment to using products that do no harm. Several years ago, while working at a swank Manhattan salon, Mordechai began experimenting with his own concoction of natural, oil-based products that give a healthy boost to hair and scalp. Yarok, which means “green” in Hebrew, is the result of those early formulations. Read on to learn more about Mordechai and his eco-conscious hair care collection.
When and why did you become a hair stylist?
I was born in Tel Aviv and grew up in Jaffa, “the city of oranges” in Israel. The first time I remember dressing someone’s hair was at 7 years old. When I visited my aunt, my cousin would let me brush her floor-length hair. Then I went on to my grandma’s hair, who often wore a braided chignon; I would let her hair down and braid it again for her. I also practiced on my brother’s hair, and then my mother’s (she once ended up with pink hair – not by choice). I have always been drawn to all forms of art (paintings, ceramics, even cake designing), but hair was the one craft that stayed with me. While still in Israel, I worked for a well-known hair stylist and alongside fashion photographers. Later, I took a course at the Vidal Sassoon academy in London, and then moved to New York, where I worked at small European salons. I continued doing editorial work to keep my creative juices flowing, and still do today.
Tell us about the ingredients you use in Yarok hair care products.
My goal was to use botanically derived ingredients. I will not use any ingredient that contains GMOs (genetically modified organisms) or is processed with unnatural infusions or altered by chemicals. It was important for me to know and understand the benefits of all the ingredients in my hair products. I wanted them to have the same performance as products formulated with synthetic ingredients, and at the same time be able to repair your hair and scalp.
Why was this goal important to you?
I have an appreciation for nature. I wanted to bring my passion to fellow stylists who could teach their clients how important healthy products are, not only to us but to the earth as well. After all, everything we use goes back into the earth.
What is your definition of healthy hair and scalp?
A healthy scalp should have a light pink color and should not be dry or scaly. Healthy hair has natural volume and shine with no split ends. I would rather see healthy hair lacking in style than see a stylish cut on hair that is damaged and dry.
If you could use only one of your products, which would it be – and why?
Yarok Feed Your Youth Hair & Scalp Serum ($26 in the shop). It’s our signature product. The scent of the sweet and bitter orange oils brings me back to my childhood.
Can you tell us about any new product developments?
I’m working on new products for different hair types, starting with products for curly hair.
Ingredients in Feed Your Youth: Avocado Oil (rich in vitamins A, D and E, high in essential unsaturated fatty acids), Apricot Kernel Oil (rich in essential fatty acids like oleic and linoleic acid, high in Vitamins A, E and C), Wheat Germ (rich in vitamins E, A, D, proteins, lecithin and squalene), Ylang Ylang, Yarrow Oil, Orange Blossom Oil, Bitter Orange