When I first trained as a hairstylist over 24 years ago, environmental awareness was something that salon owners did not really focus on as a real priority – what difference would it make to go more eco-friendly? The truth is, we are living in a new age of digital awareness of health, wellbeing and environmental awareness. We are seeing more clients turning to eco and naturally aligned brands, vegan diets and products as well as environmentally aware practices. In short, why should this be any different when it comes to your hairdressing salon?
I first started being more aware of the impact the beauty industry has on its environment over a decade ago when I started to work with Aveda cosmetics, and since then I have not looked back. Being aware of the impact every one of our 44 employees has on the environment as well as the health of fellow colleagues and clients has become a huge passion of not just myself, but the whole team. Here are some of the ways our team work to create a more healthy and eco-aware business within our salons at Edward James.
We focus on recycling:
We focus on retailing hair products and professional products that use recyclable or contain very high levels of post-consumer recyclable plastic in their packaging. We set the team recycling goals and make sure that we link team rewards to this. Through our induction process we educate our team on the facts about plastics; most plastics, recyclable or not, contain Busphenol-A (BPA)and Phthalates, which are known to disrupt animal life, vital ecosystems, the systems of humans, cause congenital disabilities, cancer and weight gain.
No animal-tested or animal derived ingredients
Many of our clients and team members are animal lovers and pet owners, so it makes sense to support animal welfare and this follows through in our choice of salon products that we use and retail to clients. 100s of millions of animals die from animal testing every year and this can be stopped simply by refusing to sell and use these products.
Eco Friendly Interior
We focus on using natural materials such as wood and slate for the fitout of our interiors, as well as paints that are low in VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which are known to cause breathing issues as well as more long-term health problems. We aim to include recycled materials within the salon, including tree-trunks and reclaimed wood, which adds to the eclectic feel of the design.
Energy Saving Practices
Lighting is such an important aspect of the design of our salons; it affects how clients look in the mirror and most importantly how their hair colour looks. What we do ensure is that all of our lighting is low-voltage eco-friendly lighting and we set out lighting on timers so that we are not wasting electricity, especially for water heaters and air-conditioning units.
We also train our staff on energy efficient measures with the salon and that water consumption is something we are all aware of. We have installed water saving shower heads in our salons to reduce water wastage, but without affecting the quality of water pressure so that clients still receive a great shampoo service.
We use A+ energy efficient washing machines and tumble dryers to conserve electricity and water and only use gentle and efficient laundry detergent, which is both beneficial to the environment and air quality for clients and staff. There are many laundry detergents on the market that use less water and soap to clean stains and some clients are sensitive to towels that have been overly bleached and washed as well.
Team building projects
With all of our team day meetings we include a section on environmental awareness. This may involve going to a local beach or park and picking up rubbish, organising a fun-run for Water Aid, or doing a bake sale within the salons to raise money for an eco charity. We are also involved with the National Trust in tree plantation within local forest locations. The most important aspect is getting the whole team involved and also sharing our activities on social media to show that we are making a difference, and hopefully inspiring our clients to do the same.
Salon air quality
For our team and clients, it is important that their salon environment air quality is clean and well oxygenated, and for this reason we invest in maintaining plants within our salons. This not only creates a relaxing and more holistic environment, but also means that we are not using cut flowers in the salons which often increases the use of pesticides within our water.
In addition, we have recently installed air filtration systems to improve air quality and air flow, and have banned paraffin wax candles in our salons, which have been proven to cause breathing and health issues.