GreenYour Hair care
Visit an eco-friendly hair salon
Green hair salons not only use and sell chem-free shampoos, conditioners, and color treatments, they often practice waste-, energy,- and water-conservation. Traditional hair salons use a lot of water, energy, and chemicals in their day-to-day operations, so choosing an eco-friendly alternative the next time you need a cut and style may have more of an impact than you realize.
How to find an eco-friendly hair salon
To find a chop shop offering eco-cuts and coloring in your neck of the woods, you may have to do some legwork as the trend has yet to hit big stateside.
- Inquire at salons in your area: Perhaps the easiest way to find a green salon is to call or visit some in your area and ask questions about what they're doing to reduce their environmental impact. Questions to ask include:
- Do you use and carry eco-friendly products? Traditional permanent hair dyes, shampoos and conditioners, and other salon staples often contain a bevy of questionable chemicals that can cause health problems and environmental damage. Ask what natural and eco-friendly hair products and treatments the salon carries and uses in-house.
- Do you employ water-saving practices, such as reusing rinse water? Salons obviously require a massive amount of water to wash and rinse you hair, as well as tools and equipment. Some salons have started to reduce their water consumption by mandating water-saving practices and installing water recycling systems. Reusing rinse water is one of the most common and effective water-saving practices in salons today.
- Do you use energy-efficient equipment? Although ENERGY STAR hairdryers and curling irons are not yet a reality, seek out a salon that restricts its energy use by employing energy-efficient lighting, graywater heat recovery systems, and energy-saving equipment. Even better, ask if the salon is powered by solar or wind energy.
- Do you recycle? In addition to ensuring that the salon you choose recycles their plastic bottles and other supplies, ask if they use products housed in eco-friendly packaging, made from recycled-content materials.
- Do you use natural cleaning products and laundry detergents? Methods used by your salon to clean laundry, instruments, and building structures should also be green. Ask if they use natural cleaning products, laundry detergents, and pest control techniques.
- Do you offer other eco-friendly services? If you're looking for a full-service salon, offering services such as waxing, tanning, and mani and pedis, ask if eco-friendly options are available for those services as well. Hair salons and spas often come hand-in-hand, so after that wash/cut/style session, you can unwind with a green facial, massage, or another treatment.
- Look online: GreenYour's list of eco-friendly hair salons is just a taste of what's available. For other online resources, check out companies like EcoColors, Aveda, MOP, and Innersense, which provide search engines making it easy to find salons that use and sell their green goods. Other safe bets are user recommendation-driven guides like Citysearch and Yelp. Also try your luck at Spa Index or allure.com's Salon & Spa Index.
Find it! Eco-friendly hair salons
Sure you can get a range of top of the line services at San Francisco's Descend Salon. What sets this beauty parlor apart? The use of natural products is a start. But Descend steps it up a green notch by recycling hair clippings that are later transformed into absorbent mats used in oil spill clean-up efforts.
Live in the Boston area and need a bang trim or blow out? Fresh Hair offers a range of services with an eye toward the earth: natural products are used, hot water is heated by solar power, and most materials used in the salon are recycled.
Described as "part basement alchemist, part organic innovator," John Masters is a leader in the natural beauty world. His 100 percent wind-powered SoHo salon is NYC's only clean air salon. All colors are ammonia-free; no other chemical treatments are offered.
Get your green beauty on at Philly's Juju Salon, a member of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia that's powered by PECO Wind. All products and treatments are nontoxic and all-natural.
The mission of Nori's Ecosalon? "To provide excellent services using non-toxic hair products in a 'green' environment in accordance to the principles of sustainability." Nori's is indeed on the cutting eco-edge with energy-efficient lighting, recycled denim insulation, low-VOC paints, and natural, biodegradable products used in treatments.
...Salon Eco's more like it. This Chicago hair salon and day spa boasts impressive green cred. Echo follows the LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) business model, uses organic product lines, such as Aveda, and operates in a green space with recycled vinyl flooring and more.
Since 1996, Salon Le Terre has been cutting and coloring the hair of greenies in the Minneapolis area. The salon abides by eco-business practices like energy conservation, the use of postconsumer paper products, thorough recycling, and contributing to local organizations like the Green Institute.
In the 90210 and on the prowl for green glam? Shades is an ammonia-free salon owned by Susan Henry, the creator of a popular line of chem-free hair care products, survivor of ammonia poisoning, and colorist to the stars.
Sprout, an eco house o' beauty in Charm City, offers cuts—"from Vidal Classic to Rock Star"—and color—"from blonde to black to in between" in a green space with reclaimed wood and bamboo floors that's free of chemical products.
In the past, New Jersey was a state known for hairstyles of considerable size. Nowadays, thanks to Verde Salon, eco-coiffures are a reality. The vision of renowned stylist Kevin Gatto, the salon boasts low-VOC paint, bamboo flooring, ENERGY STAR appliances, recycled wallpaper, and eco-friendly hair products, natch.
Visiting an eco-friendly hair salon helps you go green because...
- It means you receive beauty benefits that are more energy- and water-efficient.
- It results in aesthetic transformations that are less chemically intensive.
- You support a progressive business (often a small, independent business) that's making the shift toward sustainability.
Permanent hair dyes, shampoos and conditioners, and other salon staples often contain a bevy of questionable chemicals that can cause health problems and environmental damage. A recent study by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection concluded that the wastewater being emitted from salons is more industrial in strength than other wastewater sources. They now encourage salons to use only non-hazardous, nontoxic substances. Many salons are voluntarily cleaning up their acts by choosing eco-friendly products, such as Atlanta's EcoColors Salon, which lowered chemical usage by developing its own low-phenylenediamine (PPD) hair color. PPD exposure is linked to a number of health problems, including eye irritation and tearing, asthma, renal failure, vertigo, and coma in humans.
Water and energy consumption (especially for heating the water) is also relatively high in beauty parlors. To combat this problem, one Aveda salon in Madrid installed a water recycling system that reuses rinse water to flush toilets. Similarly, Boston's Fresh Hair installed solar panels and a graywater heat recovery system to reduce their carbon emissions and save money.
- para-phenylenediamine (PPD): A chemical used mostly in dyes and as a photographic developing agent. Exposure is linked to a number of health problems, including eye irritation and tearing, asthma, renal failure, vertigo, and coma in humans.
- Matter of Trust
- Sprig - Lustrous Healthy Hair (in the Color You Want)
- TreeHugger - Elle Eco Salon & Spa Rolling Through Southern California
- Environmental Working Group - Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database Before you pick a new salon, check out where their house hair care products rank on the hazard scale.