The Department of Brands’ Bex Gold on Making Hair Dye Safe for the Planet


Bex Gold didn’t set out to conquer the hair world when launched her ethical hair brand, Brite in 2012 and subsequently founded its parent company, The Department of Brands. She simply wanted to make cruelty-free and vegan hair products more accessible to the masses. And yet nine years later, Gold now sits at the helm of the aforementioned ethical beauty multi-brand group which includes Brite, KYN, Bar None, and Spot Medic — all of which have achieved major success with retailers and consumers globally.

The Department of Brands founder, Bex Gold

Now, the New Zealand-based entrepreneur is making waves in the hair industry once again with the recent launch of Brite’s new natural hair color line that’s derived from plants, Naturally Brite Hair Color Made from Plants —the first-of-its-kind in mass production. The Tease had the pleasure of speaking to Gold to learn more about this innovative hair color line as well as her partnership with Target and what we can expect next from Brite.

The Tease: Tell me about your background. How did you go from founding a cleaning brand called Cinderella to getting involved in the hair space as the founder of The Department of Brands?

Bex Gold: I was in my 30s and starting my life over in London after a long-term relationship ended. In a category controlled by large brands, I saw an opportunity to introduce fun and innovation into the space. With a focus on creating vegan, cruelty-free, high-performance salon quality products at an everyday accessible price point, Brite Hair was born. 

Like Brite Hair, many of the brands under The Department of Brands portfolio are vegan and cruelty-free. What made you want to focus on this segment of the haircare market?

Gold: I started working with clean eco-cleaning products in my 20s. I was living in a sustainable straw bale house in a rainforest in Queensland, Australia and I saw the direct impact of the products that I purchased at the supermarket on the environment through the grey water. After moving to London and working in high street product development, I saw the opportunity to combine ethics and fashion to create high quality, accessible products to meet the needs of today’s rapidly evolving Gen Y & Z consumer.

How did you come up with the idea for Brite’s Naturally Brite Hair Color Made From Plants?

Gold: Honestly, I wanted a simple and safe way to cover my pandemic greys, and I had a feeling others felt the same way! I like the idea of henna, but felt it was too complicated, so we worked to create an easy yet effective formula.

Naturally Brite’s formula is the first pre-mixed natural formula available to consumers anywhere. What went into developing this groundbreaking formula?

Gold: There was an increasing demand for clean, natural ingredients, especially from Gen Z. Part of the problem with boxed colors is the chemicals used, especially PPD (paraphenylenediamine). They told us they wanted something more natural —a quality product that was plant-based and affordable. So, I looked at henna. Henna is by far the most superior hair color pigment. Henna coats the hair, gives gradient, unmatchable color, depth of pigment and shine that other dyes cannot. It is by far the superior way to color hair. 

However, there are a lot of cheaper henna products on the market that are full of nasties and don’t work. The problem with henna is that it is almost too natural and can be hard to mix and apply. I definitely wanted to create an experience of semi/demi-permanent, so I created a way to mix henna pigment in a pre-mixed base, which is a groundbreaking new technique for boxed hair color.

In your opinion, what sets Naturally Brite apart from other henna hair dyes on the market?

Gold: Naturally Brite is a 100 percent plant-based semi-permanent hair color that’s infused with conditioning henna. The groundbreaking, pre-mixed formula is designed to color and strengthen your hair at the same time, leaving it feeling stronger and looking vibrant.

How does Naturally Brite work to make the at-home hair dying experience easier for consumers?

Gold: There are four different ways you can apply Naturally Brite to your hair based on your hair type, length, and needs. This makes the process much easier. You can apply it directly from the tube, paint it on the free hand (similar to a balayage or highlights), dilute it with water (which makes it easier to spread), or mix it into shampoo!

Naturally Brite launched at Target earlier this year. How did the partnership with Target come about and what makes them a good retail partner for the brand?

Gold: The buying team at Target is amazing — they are really insightful and forward thinking. We worked together to find a way to bring plant-based pigments to mass retail. We ensured that we used clean pigments free from metallic salts and we premixed the pigments to reduce the labor intensiveness involved with powdered henna.

We take all the learnings and insights and continue to innovate to bring products that are new and different to the category and that we hope customers fall in love with.

What inspired Brite’s most recent launches Briteplex and Coily Bleach kits?

Gold: We wanted to provide consumers with an easy to use at-home hair bleach that actually helps protect and repair the hair as it lightens! Briteplex is our bond-building treatment that repairs the hair bonds that are commonly broken while bleaching.

Where do you see the future of Brite headed?

Gold: We’re continuing to expand our retailers, ranging from Nordstrom to Walmart, creating a very unique dynamic as the products are available in both prestige & mass markets. We’re constantly brainstorming and playing around with different formulas based on ideas and customer feedback, so the options are endless!

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

To learn more about Brite and it’s full range including Hair Color Made From Plants, Briteplex, and Coily Beach kits, be sure to follow @britehair on Instagram or visit their official website.

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Camille Nzengung

Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor at The Tease, where she covers all things hair. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches. Send her a pitch:


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