As consummate hair professionals, we are accustomed to making others feel beautiful. But with rising environmental concerns, it is our social responsibility to turn our attention to preserving the beauty of the world we are living in – and becoming an eco-friendly hair salon is the first step.
How to Become an Eco-Friendly Salon
1. Only Sell and Use Recyclable Products
Did you know over 16 billion pounds of plastic leak into our ocean waters yearly?1 With the world’s population increasing, this number is only projected to increase. Plastic in our oceans is something to be concerned about not only because of its detrimental effects on animal life and vital ecosystems but also on our health.
Most plastics, recyclable or not, contain Bisphenol-A (BPA) and Phthalates.
These materials are known to disrupt the reproductive systems of humans, cause congenital disabilities, and in some studies even cancer and weight gain. However, some plastics are less likely to contain both Phthalates and BPA, and you can quickly identify them by looking at the recycle codes located at the bottom of the containers. To become an eco-friendly salon, you should put recycling at the top of your list and use only glass salon products when you can.
2. Offer Products with No Animal-Tested or Animal-Derived Ingredients
Over 100 million animals a year die from animal testing, and millions more are captured and caged for the sole purpose of animal testing. Not only is this cruel to animals, but this could also pose sustainability concerns in areas of the world where animals are captured. Disrupting the balance of nature in the name of animal testing is both risky and more expensive than non-animal testing. It is best to choose salon products that do not support animal testing, such as products endorsed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). For example, Simply Organic Beauty offers cruelty-free salon products that are recognized by PETA and has a strict company ethos that does not allow them to carry products tested on animals.
Supporting cruelty-free products not only will make you feel better knowing no animals were harmed in the making of your salon success, but you will be one step closer to becoming an eco-friendly salon.
3. Offer Truly Formaldehyde-Free Keratin Treatments
As salon professionals, we are no strangers to the controversy surrounding the popularity of keratin treatments. A lot of companies hide behind false claims of being formaldehyde-free, but in laboratory tests, many of these companies’ keratin treatments were found to have extremely high levels of formaldehyde. Before you fall for their false claims, ask for lab reports or request a sample to lab test!
Formaldehyde is found organically in nature but is a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing). Thus, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established regulations and limits on the emission of formaldehyde from some industrial facilities and required them to report the amount of formaldehyde used in their products.
Wouldn’t it be great not to contribute to air pollution, as well as offer keratin services that are safe for you and your clients? Simply Organic Beauty’s Smooth Rituals Keratin Treatment does not contain formaldehyde, parabens, and animal-tested ingredients.
4. Use Eco-Friendly Decor
We all want our salon to express our values, and of course, look clean and beautiful for our fabulous clients. And decorating our salon with eco-friendly decor is one way to show our green side.
What is eco-friendly decor? These are art or decorations that are recyclable, produced sustainably, and did not harm animals in its making. To compliment your eco-friendly decor, be sure to paint your salon using VOC-free paint! VOCs are known as Volatile Organic Compounds and are emitted as gas into the air. They are known to cause considerable health threats in those exposed, such as throat irritation, breathing issues, and possible carcinogenic effects in humans.2
5. Adopt Energy-Saving Practices
While there is no Greenstar salon equipment on the market yet, employing little energy-saving tips can help your salon conserve electricity and water. For example, using energy-efficient lighting like the GE Energy Smart Energy light bulbs, and regularly checking your sinks, pipes, and faucets allow you to save on electric and water bills. Using eco-friendly bamboo brushes and hair dryers is another way to cut down on energy costs and puts you one step closer to your eco-friendly salon goal.
Some salons have started to reduce their water consumption by mandating water-saving practices and installing water recycling systems. Re-using rinse water is one of the most common and effective water-saving practices in salons today.
6. Use Ammonia-Free Hair Color
Choosing to offer your clients ammonia-free hair color is one of the best things you can do for both their health and yours. Not only has ammonia been linked to many health issues, it also makes your salon an incubator for toxic smells and fumes.
Ammonia is used to blast open the cuticle so that the color molecules can reach inside the hair. Due to the corrosive effects of ammonia, the hair’s pH is then altered to an extreme and has a hard time closing; thus, locking in the beautiful color you just applied.
Fortunately, latest innovations have enabled us to harness the power of nature to create non-toxic salon products. Color lines that use certified organic ingredients, like Organic Way (Oway), have been made available in recent years. These are products that use ingredients grown without the use of chemicals and pesticides, making the color gentle and nourishing to the hair and scalp.
Choosing an ammonia-free color line will not only let people in your salon breathe again, but it will also make your color services more vibrant, long-lasting, and shiny!
7. Offer Products with a Negative Carbon Footprint
We understand that for a product to have a truly negative footprint is rare, but there are products at the forefront of sustainable technology. For example, Oway’s ingredients are grown and picked with zero chemicals in their biodynamic farms in Bologna, Italy! The packaging itself is 100% infinitely recyclable. They are made with eco-certified recycled paper, wood, aluminum tubes, and amber glass that you can reuse as reed diffusers, candle holders, storage, hand soap dispenser, and even plant holders.
8. Use Refillable Products
This may be another concept that is foreign to many salon owners and stylists. Truly, eco-friendly salons and companies are beginning to understand the value of plastic-saving techniques by offering refillable containers for in-salon products like back bar shampoos, conditioners, and styling products.
Simply Organic Beauty offers a Refill Station Program for their eco-friendly salon products, eliminating the amount of waste dumped into the environment. Also, the refills cost less than purchasing brand new plastic products every month, increasing your retail profits by 20%! Talk about eliminating waste and becoming an eco-friendly salon at the same time!
9. Wash Salon Towels Efficiently
Whether you wash your salon towels at home or in the salon, be sure to try these energy-saving tips. Try purchasing a Greenstar washer or dryer to conserve electricity and water. If that’s not affordable, use gentle and efficient laundry detergent instead. There are many laundry detergents on the market that use less water and soap to clean stains. Some clients are sensitive to towels that have been overly bleached and washed as well, so be sure to choose a more natural detergent. Also, only do laundry when needed. This way you conserve more money, water, and energy.
10. Organize Fun Environment-Saving Adventures with Your Fellow Stylists and Clients
Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world!
Most salons are closed on Mondays, so take advantage of this to create a fun event for salon owners and stylists. You can even invite clients to join you in an eco-friendly project once or twice a year. Go to a local park or beach and pick up trash! Have a vegan baked goods drive to generate income, and give some or all profits to your favorite environmental organization. Take pictures! Put them on your salon website or Facebook, and let current and future clients (and the world) know your salon is making a difference. Trust us, people will appreciate the good deed and take notice! The possibilities are endless for you and your salon to make a difference and change salons for the better.
1 World Economic Forum. The New Plastics Economy Rethinking the future of plastics. Available: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_New_Plastics_Economy.pdf
2 United States Environmental Protection Agency. Indoor Air Quality. Available: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq#Health_Effects