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Local product line grows
Sanzi Hair Care signs with first large dealer


When Robin Sanzi lightly suggested that her husband, Rob, create his own shampoo, she had no idea how much those simple words would affect the couple’s life.
Rob, the co-owner of Expressions in Hair, in Suncrest, with his mother, Fran, comes from a long line of hairdressers, so he knew a thing or two about what’s in shampoo and conditioner.

“Every product that we had in the salon, he would know every ingredient that was in the product, what it did, what he would put in to make it work better,” Robin said.

And he wasn’t happy about the products on the market. In fact, he expressed concern about the amount of ingredients and chemicals in them, so when Robin suggested he create his own in 2008, it wasn’t long before Rob was experimenting. But it took about two years of research and development in labs and with chemists before the Sanzi Hair Care shampoo was ready to be sold.

“It took us that long to perfect our original product, which was originally designed to be a sulfate- and paraben-free shampoo that was completely color-safe,” Rob said.

Customers at Expressions in Hair loved the shampoo so much, they started asking about conditioner. Then, once Rob and Robin created the conditioner, a whole line of products was born. All of them share a similar “white citrus unisex scent,” Robin said. 

Sanzi Hair Care is made up of eight products: An 8 ounce and liter size of shampoo, an 8 ounce and liter size of conditioner, smoothing cream, gum paste, hair spray and body butter. Two more products are in research and development, and Rob expects to release them later this year. 

“When we originally sought to create our shampoo, I can tell you what one of my customers said, and she said it better than anybody,” Rob said. “She said, ‘Rob.’ She goes, ‘You didn’t set out to change the world. You just set out to create a shampoo that didn’t suck.’ ”

That one idea has become a product line that has been touted in 32 national trade magazines — soon to be 33 — and Rob said the couple just signed with their first large distributor. Sanzi is also being sold in six states, including California and Florida.

Debbie Caruso uses Sanzi Hair Care products in her business, Capello Salon, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“I went to a hair convention in Orlando (a few years ago), and I was searching for organic products,” she said. “It really amazed me that [the Sanzis] were the only ones there.”

She uses the conditioner often as a leave-in, she said, and the gum paste is a big seller.

“It’s not for everybody, but it’s for a large percentage of people who buy it,” she said.

Here in Morgantown, Bonnie Carlson, a client at Expressions in Hair, uses the line, especially the shampoo and the body butter.

“I like [the shampoo]. It just makes my scalp good. It just works,” she said. “It really is a nice product. I use the body butter, and I love the body butter.”

While Carlson didn’t buy the product based on it being organic, she did appreciate that it was paraben-free. Parabens are a class of preservatives widely used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.

“They’ve worked really hard with this line. It’s been quite an endeavor,” she said. “It’s just a nice line. I haven’t had anything that I’ve used that wasn’t up to quality.”

The products range in price from $18 for the 8-ounce bottle of conditioner to $38 for the liter of shampoo or conditioner. The customers keep coming back for it, Robin said, because it works and it’s safe.

“There’s a lot of organic products out there,” Robin said, “but they’re not high-performance. This is a high-performance organic line.”

And while they say they’re not at the level of Paul Mitchell or Pureology yet, the couple is starting to see a light at the end of the hair care tunnel.

“I’d like to thank our clients and people that really believe in the brand, because they’ve really helped us continue to push it forward,” Rob said.

“We really want other people to use the product, enjoy the benefit of it hair-wise, as well as health-wise, because it’s not so much what’s in our product that makes it great; it’s what’s not in it that makes it special.”

Sanzi Hair Care is available at Expressions in Hair, 2 Suburban Court, and online. The owners say the product line is organic and sulfate-, gluten-, paraben- and phthalate-free. Info: or 304-598-3993.