Swordfern Hair Emporium

Swordfern Hair and Beauty Salon in Cape Town

Get yourself pampered at this fresh
and funky eco-conscious emporium.
+27 (0) 81 538 3036
242 Lower Main Road | Observatory Observatory
[email protected]
Swordfern Emporium

Swordfern Hair and Beauty Salon in Cape Town

From their gender-neutral policy on all haircuts to their zero waste initiatives, Swordfern is a fresh and funky eco-conscious emporium that prides itself on inviting patrons to experience things a little differently.

HEAD’S UP: Swordfern Hair Emporium has relocated to a new space in Observatory/Salt River (242 Lower Main Road).

Since the first time CapeTownMag set foot in Swordfern, we have been impressed by both their professional approach to hair care, and their amicable attitude towards anyone who sets foot through their door. From the minute you sit down in your chair to the moment you step out of the salon you are treated like their favourite client, every time. At Swordfern it’s not only about getting your hair done, but also about walking away feeling you’ve had a wonderful, holistic beauty experience.

The positive energy in the salon is palpable, with a funky playlist setting the upbeat tone each day. This is the kind of place where you go in, chill-out, pamper-up and ‘treat yo-self’. Founder and owner Christelle Breedt-Shmidt says, “I want to nurture an environment that makes the team happy and that is as open as possible to anyone who walks through the door. I want it to feel like we’re a family and we’re creating something together”.

Swordfern (which opened in November 2013) is named after a resilient evergreen plant. The name reflects Christelle’s love for the environment and concern for sustainability. She prides herself on running an eco-conscious establishment as far as possible. Products used for both the hair and beauty treatments in the salon – think shampoos, dyes, serums and lotions – are environmentally friendly, and there is no trace of ammonia, sulphates or parabens in any of their products. What’s more, they are attempting to implement a #NoWaste policy, which sees everything from coffee grinds to water being recycled. The coffee grinds are creatively repurposed as a key ingredient in organic beauty scrubs.  Water is used sparingly. Which gives Christelle the perfect moment to mention the dry cuts on offer – where any client can opt for a #SaveWater option and get  10% discount on their cut. Specials on their cuts 


“We want to be as organic as possible, and every decision we make, in terms of developing the space or acquiring new products, is driven by that,” adds Christelle, who has been cutting tresses for over 15 years. Furthermore, as Swordfern’s website asserts, the team at the salon, “think nature and hair should be treated the same: with respect and care. [They] promise to go the extra mile to ensure that they are as kind to the earth and their clients as possible”.  

Swordfern Hair Emporium has moved to new premises – a double-storey establishment on the corner of Lower Main and Chatham Road in Obs. The space has a fresh and organic look and feel about it, with clean white walls, industrial concrete floors, free-floating shelves suspended on thick maritime rope, chalkboards with product and service details and, of course, plants everywhere you look. A brightly painted orange staircase connects the first and second floor. The second floor opens up onto a rooftop terrace, complete with artificial lawn (because the water crisis). Your experience at Swordfern is further enhanced by the wonderful beverages they serve – we’re talking Bootlegger Coffee and personalised beers and ciders. The drinks have been crafted around each the staff members, so look forward to quirky blends like Lucy & The Lesbians Ale, Lady Kingdom Lager, B-Sting Cider, and Danni’s Inferno Ginger Beer. And if that’s not your style you can always tuck into a Little Big Wines. These are all just examples of ways Swordfern adds unique touches to their offering and always goes the extra mile.

Swordfern offers a number of hair services, including ladies’ and gents’ cuts, full, half and patterned shaves, blow-drys, straightening, and organic highlights and colour treatments. There’s also cuts for teens under 18 and kids under 13. A list of beauty treatments are also available – manis, pedis and gelish. In their hair product range you’ll find top brands including L’ANZA, Kevin.Murphy, NAK, Elumen Philip Martins Organic Colour, PRAVANA, Manic Panic, Goldwell Green Range and NECTAYA.

What else do you need to know: Swordfern is now offering (and is one of the first salons in the city to do so) gender-neutral pricing on cuts. What does that mean? From 1 September they have been charging according to service/style not sex. Now that’s what we call #FairHair. They also offer 20% discount to all students. Have a look at their Wednesday 'Bring a Bro' special!

Tip: You can get your hands on some cool product while you’re there; Darkwater’s beard oil and coffee soap beard balm, or Airborne Roots air plants. Swordfern’s bottom floor has one wall lined with bookshelves, which serves as a book exchange centre, which means visitors are welcome to take any novel from the shelf, as long as they leave another one in its place.

The Bill: Due to their wide range of products it’s best to check out their website for details on rates.


Looking for a salon closer to you? Have a squiz at our overview of top hairdressers in Cape Town.


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