April: The Sustainability Issue

In the past 25 years the earth’s temperature has significantly increased—creating extreme weather conditions, drought, a rise in sea levels, an increase in ocean pollution and further shrinking polar ice caps. The cause being fossil fuels, deforestation, industrialization and pollution. You might ask yourself: “What does this have to do with me? I’m a hairstylist and business owner.” But the truth of the matter is, these environmental changes are affecting everyone—and the beauty industry can make a big difference. 

The average beauty salon produces over 1,800 pounds of waste per year. But, that number becomes significantly lower when salon owners recycle hair clippings, foils, chemicals, paper, plastic, batteries and lights. Even small changes can make a huge difference—switching to LED lighting, conserving energy on appliances and collecting chemicals to be redirected and filtered instead of washed down the drain. Green Circle Salons (greencirclesalons.com) is not only a community of eco-friendly, green-minded salons, but also a comprehensive recycling and reuse program that helps reduce waste in an industry that produces a lot of it. Founded by Toronto salon owner Shane Price, Green Circle Salons wants every salon in North America to be fully sustainable by 2020. “After partnering with Green Circle Salons we eliminated 90 percent of our salon waste—it was fulfilling on so many levels,” says Carla Gentile, co-owner of Harper Salon in Los Angeles. “It’s becomes second nature, and our clients love that we’re doing our part to keep the planet beautiful.” 

With environmental concerns strongly at the forefront of consumer and stylists’ minds, the beauty industry is starting to “lean green.” Daniela Ciocan, marketing director, Cosmoprof North America (CPNA) reports that she’s seen an increase each year in the number of exhibitors displaying natural products. “Professional distributors and chain salon owners are successfully combining eco-friendly products with high performance-driven formulas—and they’re winning favor with consumers and stylists alike,” she says. This “green initiative” has become so powerful that in July, CPNA will introduce “Discover Green,” a special area for companies dedicated to green, eco-friendly, clean organic and/or natural beauty products, at its annual trade show in Las Vegas.

Beauty professionals need to protect the environment for so many reasons—be it professional, personal or spiritual. “As stylists—and innately creative people—the natural world gives us artistic inspiration and personal rejuvenation,” says celebrity hair stylist Marie Ferro. She felt more at one with nature, and appreciative of the planet, after going on a trip to Africa with life coach and best-selling author Martha Beck. “Everything is interconnected. Making conscious choices affects everyone around us,” she says. “In Africa, an environmentalist said something that stuck with me—‘you can’t eat money.’ And, in the simplest way, he couldn’t be more right.” If we want healthy clients, healthy co-workers and even healthy companies, we have to invest our efforts in a healthy planet.

Read more on sustainability:

Sustainability: Behind the Brand

Sustainability: Living Well 

Sustainability: Find A Yoga Practice 

Read more on