Since her early childhood, Ruth Robalino was frequenting salons twice a week with her mother who loved to treat herself to a blowdry (we’re all for it). For as long as she can remember, Ruth was always styling friends’ and family members’ hair and by age 15, she’d landed herself a job working in-salon after school and on weekends.
By the time her school chapter came to a close, Ruth’s days consisted of working full time as a hair specialist. She’d probably politely decline the title, but it was clear there was a ‘hair hustler’ on the rise, with any spare time she had being used to study the field, and getting senior stylists to teach her all they could after hours. At just 24 years of age, she took the next huge leap in her career and opened her very own salon space.
This passion and drive for hair styling, hair health and education has been with Ruth since the very beginning and led to a journey of constantly finding new ways to look at and discuss all things hair-related. It was only a matter of time before she would launch her own brand, offering a fresh perspective on what it really takes to achieve dream hair.
We went behind the scenes with our founder to share her inspirations, learnings and story of delivering a product used and recommended by salon specialists across the country.
Why did you create Aéde?
Hair has quite simply always been my passion. I obviously love the art and creativity but the ability to transform a client’s hair and therefore transform the way they feel about themselves, well...there is just no feeling like it. Aéde was driven by this same desire. I had seen some of my clients suffer from hair loss, thinning and shedding over the years and I wanted to be able to offer a solution to these issues. My clients were coming to me for answers and there was nothing on the market that as a professional, I felt comfortable recommending.
For years we had been looking to topical solutions and while these definitely have their place, I realised we needed a new solution that addressed hair health from the inside to deliver incredible results. This led to us creating a bespoke formulation that did not compromise on quality and deserved its place on a salon shelf, being recommended by the people who know hair best. I feel absolutely blessed to have created products that I am proud of and love merging these two worlds, allowing for a completely holistic experience when it comes to haircare.
How is Aéde different to other hair health supplements?
Aéde supplements are designed with a professional angle in mind. The key factor for us was being able to create best-in-class supplements that hair specialists themselves would recommend. Therefore, quality, purity and efficacy were paramount for us when creating our formulations. Our supplements are Australian-made and have a higher amount of active ingredients than other products on the market, each backed by scientific research and carefully formulated to deliver incredible results for our consumers.
What are some common misunderstandings about supplementation?
Fortunately I think the complementary medicine space has come a long way in terms of people understanding its need and benefits. With more and more information at our fingertips we have become more open to various alternatives and realised the importance that the right nutrients and vitamins can play in our bodies and significantly change the way we feel and function. Like all good things, consistency is key when it comes to supplementation as well as understanding your body and your individual needs.
What inspires you most about the hair space?
I have been lucky enough to have worked with some incredible people over my career, those who have educated me as well as those who I have educated. As Aéde is stocked in some of the most prestigious salons across Australia it has given me the opportunity to meet so many incredibly talented individuals in the hair space. It is amazing what talent some of these people bring to the industry, not only through their creativity on a salon floor but through their relationships, work ethic, passion, drive, and business acumen.
What has been inspirational for me is seeing how far we have come in terms of education. Education is such a passion for me and to watch the digital space transform the way we share our knowledge as an industry is truly something special that I think can transform brands and individuals.
How do you feel the intersection of hair and wellness is changing the hair industry?
I am seeing a huge shift in creating an experience for customers that extends beyond what happens in the chair. Salons are embracing a holistic approach, drawing on interiors that evoke a feeling of calm, focusing on consultation and ritual, as well as using and recommending products that look after hair from the inside out, both in-salon and at home.
Aéde’s core values are honesty, quality and self-love; what are some of your personal values?
Loyalty, honesty, compassion, work ethic and family.
What does the word ‘growth’ mean to you?
I believe growth is a process of understanding oneself and pushing to reach your highest potential. Whether that be personally, emotionally, or professionally it is a desire to improve and a willingness to make changes. I am a mover and a shaker and those who are close to me know that I find it challenging to sit still. I really do think that this stems from a deep desire to grow in all areas of my life. I put an immense amount of expectation on myself to continuously improve on my behaviour, learnings, actions and my life as a whole. I want to experience life - the good and the bad - because I truly think this is what makes us grow.
What are some of your go-to wellness rituals?
My husband was one of the first people I had known who practised meditation daily. I was in awe of how he could switch off and be transported to a place of tranquillity and quiet. It took me another 15 years to embrace this practice myself and implement it into my daily routine but it has truly transformed the way I function. As I mentioned, I am always on the go and find it difficult to switch off so this practice is a gift to myself, a few moments to give my mind some care.
I think it's really important to treat yourself with things that make you feel good. For me there are a number of things that I call on to keep my mind and body feeling on point. Movement, massage and kinesiology are those little rituals that I make sure I fit into my life. Oh, and nothing beats a weekly blow dry!
Based on your own journey and all you’ve learned, what words of wisdom would you wish to share with your younger self?
I do often ask myself this question. I think it’s hard to pinpoint just one thing as I think I have changed so much as I have gotten older. I found it difficult when I was young to accept help from others, always wanting to do things on my own and learn the hard way. Over the years I have become more aware of my desire for perfection and what that does to my mindset. No one is perfect and if we could do absolutely everything on our own, there would be no room for growth. I have learnt (ok, i'm still learning) that surrounding yourself with others who are stronger in the areas where you aren't is what it's all about.
Portrait photography by Colby Milano.