I was recently asked in a DM what my favourite “green beauty treatment” is and if I could recommend a “green beauty spa or salon”. It caught me by surprise. I have been writing about sustainable beauty for a while now, and I know and use some really good earth-friendly products. But for some reason – and even if there was a reason it wouldn’t be a good one – I have not given professional products and treatments the same green once-over I’ve given many of my daily go-tos.
It’s no secret that most big industries can have a negative impact on our planet, and the hair and beauty industries are no different. They’re not only responsible for large amounts of waste, but also how that waste is ultimately disposed of, which is often problematic.
As much as I feel it is the industry that’s the problem, I also believe that we as the consumer have the responsibility to make better choices when it comes to spending our money. I simply don’t think there are enough people asking or demanding that salons and spas be more environmentally conscious.
So before you book your next treatment, ask the salon the following two questions:
1. What products are you using?
There are some incredible sustainable professional brands available on the market and you can ask your stylist or therapist about the brands and products they use and how sustainable they are. To help you out, we’ve listed some of our favourites used in professional settings.
Kevin Murphy, who only uses 100% upcycled ocean plastic for their packaging and have ammonia-free and PPD-free (a chemical that makes colour last longer) hair dye. They have also cleverly designed their packaging to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle in an effort to reduce waste from transport packaging. Clever!
Davines is probably one of the most eco-conscious haircare brands you will find. This fully sustainable Italian-born haircare brand is committed to doing their bit for our planet. Even the dyes used in their packaging are free of harsh chemicals.
Orly is a great cruelty-free nail brand that is also vegan. It doesn’t contain any of the well-known nasties like phthalates (DBP), formaldehyde and toluene, but you also won’t spot lesser known nasties like ethyl tosylamide and xylene in there. They also offer a great gel system, GelFX in a range of colours.
Esse is a certified organic and cruelty-free skincare brand that’s accredited by The Vegan Society. They are a fully carbon-neutral company that supports fair trade practices. Plus, their products are pretty incredible – focusing on the skin microbiome and creating an environment that promotes skin health and slows ageing.
1. How do you work to curb and dispose of waste?
Instead of going for a full head of highlights, ask if they offer balayage, a free-hand painting technique which is an excellent way to reduce the very large (and costly) amount of foil used in the dying process. Another useful way companies can be more eco-friendly is by installing water-saving nozzles at the wash basins. Ask about their recycling policies as a company, and if they encourage their clients to do the same.
Now, ask yourself again: are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I recommended that you look for a certified Green Salon. The Nordic eco-labelling system aims to ban all harmful chemicals in cosmetics. It was established in Copenhagen in 2006 and there are now more than 60 certified Green Salons in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and on the Faroe Islands. Yay! The salons are committed to at least meet Green Salon's minimum requirements. You can find a list of certified Green Salons in Norway here.