Smooth Operators at Maleni

Image source: Contributed

Tangles, tantrums and tears were the catalyst for hairdresser Krystal Boubaris to create Maleni – her own natural, organic range of kids’ hair care that’s packed full of nourishing Australian natives (and contains zero hidden nasties) for lovely locks without the hassle, discovers Rebecca Jamieson Dwyer.

For Krystal Boubaris, brushing her daughter’s hair was a nightly battle. “She had long, fine, easily tangled hair, and she would twist and turn and do anything to get away from the hairbrush – it wasn’t a pleasant experience for either of us!” Krystal recalls.

Desperate for a solution, Krystal scoured her hair salon’s shelves for something that would be gentle enough for kids but effective enough to tame those tangles and care for her daughter’s growing curls, but she came up short.

So she turned to the supermarket, where she was horrified to discover that even products marketed to children were often filled with sulphates, parabens, silicones and other hidden nasties that aren’t great for anyone’s hair or skin, let alone for our precious little ones.

“Many mainstream products are filled with synthetic ingredients that might feel nice on the hair, but aren’t hydrating it at all – they’re just a band aid covering up the problem,” Krystal says.

“Plus there’s lots of research that commonly used ingredients such as sulphates and parabens are harmful to our health. So I decided there had to be another way, and that’s how Maleni was born.”

Krystal worked closely with a formulating chemist in Brisbane to create a gorgeous, nourishing, cruelty-free leave-in conditioner packed with natural, organic and native ingredients such as Waratah, Lilly Pilly and organic avocado oil – trialling more than 10 versions of the product on herself, her four kids, and friends and family before she was 100% satisfied with the end result.

“The specially chosen natural ingredients mean our Hydrate Kids Leave-In Conditioning Detangler is really hydrating and moisturising, but it’s not heavy,” Krystal explains.

“I use it every day on my kids’ hair, and mine too, and it doesn’t leave any buildup or residue – just creates silky soft hair that feels as great as it looks. Plus it smells amazing!”

This salon-quality product can be used on little ones as young as six months, or as soon as there is sufficient hair growth, and has been known to work wonders on stubborn cradle cap, dermatitis and other dry skin conditions, thanks to the high levels of vitamin E and other anti-inflammatory ingredients.

And as well as being incredibly moisturising and promoting healthy hair growth, the product is rich in antioxidants, which helps to protect against damage from UV, chlorine and saltwater – ideal for older kids who’ll be moving from the sea to the sun to the pool and back again, all summer long.

Krystal’s eldest daughter is now seven years old, and the difference the Hydrate Conditioning Detangler and Maleni’s special rainbow detangling hairbrush have made is remarkable – not just to her tresses, but to her overall attitude towards haircare.

“She loves brushing her own hair now,” Krystal says. “Her and her friends all keep a bottle of the detangler and the brush in their school bags, and they’ll apply it after swimming and all brush their hair together. They get so excited about it, and it’s lovely to see them taking joy in that ritual.”

With plans for some exciting new product launches in the works, Krystal has brought her friend Alex Taylor on board as a business partner to help grow the brand.

“My background is in the disability and healthcare space, and I’ve owned my own business for six years now, so I bring that business brain,” Alex says.

“I love using Maleni on my own hair – it really helps tame my curls!

“I’m so excited to be part of this beautiful thing Krystal’s created, and am looking forward to helping us reach as many families as possible.”

Krystal and Alex share a common goal – to change the way you see supermarket hair and beauty products, and make an impact with clean and natural alternatives for your little ones, supporting healthy hair and skin development.

Maleni products are currently stocked in Krystal’s own chain of Omorfia salons located in Cotton Tree, Woody Point and North Lakes, as well as other salons and children’s stores across Australia and New Zealand.

Their website lists stockists and features an online shop for orders to be delivered to your door.

The brand’s logo is a rainbow featuring the colours peach, sage, mustard and pink, and Krystal and Alex plan to eventually launch a range of products for each of these four hues – targeting babyhood to the teenage years, with a focus on encouraging healthy habits and promoting the use of natural, organic hair and skincare from a young age.

The name Maleni might mean ‘little ones’ in Croatian (where Krystal’s family hails from), but this mission-driven business hopes to make a big difference to families across Australia and beyond – transforming tricky tangles into tamed tresses, and encouraging young people to brush-up on their self-care skills.

Hair’s to their success!


Wear a hat! This is one of the best ways to protect the hair from UV rays and prevent wind-induced tangles.

Get a trim at the salon! Trimming the hair encourages good hair health, reduces knots and prevents split ends.

Brush gently! Use a special brush designed to detangle fine hair, and start from the bottom, being careful not to snap the strands as you go.

Lots of hydration and moisture! It’s important to support your child’s hair and protect it against environmental damage from the sea, sun and chlorine. The Hydrate Kids Leave-In Conditioning Detangler contains vitamins, proteins, amino acids, magnesium, folic acid, copper and iron to leave hair feeling incredibly soft and nourished.

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