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Visit an eco-friendly hair salon

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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.

Find it! Eco-friendly hair salons

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.

Glossary

  • 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.[1]

External links

Comments

09/16/2009
9:25am
RSR13

Hi, I just wondering if you know any Green Salon in Washington DC Metro area.
Please let me know, thanks

RR

11/04/2009
1:39pm
arenasalon

I just want to let you know that products like EcoColors and MOP are still not 100% eco-friendly. We are an eco-friendly salon and it took us months to find a product that is legitimate. EcoColors contains ammonia, and well over 90% of MOP products have parabens (carcinogens). Make sure you really know and research what is in your products!

04/19/2010
4:13pm
cloversalon

Just reading the article on finding "green" salons. We have a truly eco-friendly salon in Vancouver downtown called Clover Earthkind Hair Salon. We have done everything possible to make ourselves as environmentally friendly as possible in our industry, and we are continuing to improve. It is possible for all salons to do this and offer great service, and the day will come when all salons will join this trend. In the meantime, we will continue to do what we can.

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