Over the past few years, the hairdressing industry has become much more environmentally conscious. Hardly a week seems to go by before another eco-friendly haircare product is released onto the market and, here at the LHAA, we think that’s fantastic. But how possible is it to run an eco-friendly hair salon? After all, there’s a lot more involved than just reducing the amount of chemicals you apply to your client’s hair, there are also operational considerations like how much electricity and water you use and how much packaging youthrow away. No matter how hard we all try, running a successful hairdressing salon while also being kind to the planet can seem like an uphill battle.

Still, even though a completely eco-friendly hair salon might seem like an impossibility (at least for now), there are small simple changes all salon managers can make to help keep our environment clean and green. Here are our five favourite ones.

Go biodegradable

Conventional cotton towels take a lot of energy to clean, can carry cross-contaminants if they’re not washed properly, and are easily ruined (especially during colour work). Biodegradable towels are designed for one-time-only use (no washing = no wasting the energy generated by a washing machine) and, because they’re generally made up of 100% natural products, they’re easily recyclable – although check with your local authority first because recycling rules vary in different parts of the country and some council depots might not be equipped to deal with them. Also, because you won’t have the expense of laundering them, biodegradable towels can often save your salon money across the course of the year. 

Alternatively, be more energy conscious about the way you wash your cotton towels (only wash them when necessary) and use natural detergents whenever possible.

Be more energy efficient

Take a look around your salon and you’ll quickly see lots of ways you can reduce your energy and water consumption. Eco-heads fitted to taps in basins can cut down water waste and energy-efficient lighting can cut down on energy bills. Installing a water recycling system can be a big help too – a lot of salons are re-using their rinse water to save water, reduce costs and be kinder to the planet.

Only use recyclable products

We all know how bad plastic is for the environment and also for our own health. Always check out the recycling codes at the bottom of the packaging and use glass or recyclable paper or wood packaged products whenever you can. Don’t forget that many products can be purchased in reusable packaging and re-filled at a discounted cost to reduce waste. 

You could also re-use the packaging in other parts of the salon, maybe as containers for plants or flowers or as reed diffusers and candle holders. Recycled products can also look great in window displays, with the added bonus of accentuating just how eco-friendly your salon is. Oh, and one other thing – the foils you’ve used can often make great scrap metal.

Choose chemical-free treatments

From formaldehyde in keratin treatments to ammonia in hair colouring, there’s always been a lot of debate about the chemicals that are used in the hair industry. Thankfully, more and more manufacturers are creating product that either removes chemical ingredients completely or reduces them substantially. Not only is that good news for the environment, it’s great for you and your clients too. So, do your research. Support keratin treatments that are truly formaldehyde-free and stock up on hair colour that isn’t loaded with toxic (and nasty smelling) ammonia. Where hair treatments are concerned, lots of exciting environmentally-friendly innovations are taking place. As salon owners, it’s our duty to support them whenever we can.

Be versatile and vegan

With more and more people tuning into the ethical and healthful benefits of a vegan lifestyle, there hasn’t been a better time to make your salon vegan-friendly. Vegan hair products will make your clients’ manes look and smell fabulous (unless they’re fragrance-free, of course!) and they have the added bonus that they’re cruelty-free and organic. Oh, and if you’ve heard the rumour that vegan hair dyes aren’t as effective as conventional hair dyes – think again!The advances in vegan hair product have been amazing, and your customers will love that you’re not subjecting their lustrous locks to a barrage of unnecessary earth-harming chemicals. 

Don’t overlook the fact that veganism can involve other areas of your salon too – from the drinks and snacks you offer your clients to the furniture they sit on. Veganism isn’t a trend, it’s a way of life that’s becoming increasingly more popular. If you want to show your customers how dedicated you are to the environment and their wellbeing, becoming an eco-friendly vegan salon is definitely the way to go!

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