How-To: Go Green in the Salon

Look around any beauty salon. What do you see? Intricate workstations, inviting chairs, fancy lighting, eye-catching art and rows of powerful dryers. The truth of the matter is, almost every design element in a beauty salon has the potential to be eco-friendly.  “Choosing earth-friendly furniture, lighting and decorative touches might not seem significant, but in the long run can make a big difference to both your business and the planet,” says George Civello, president of Novvo Etopa, an eco-friendly furniture company. Even undetectable elements—be it the paint on the walls, the lacquer on the woods and solvents coating metals—can emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds that at high levels, can have harmful effects on people and the planet). “After designing our salons with a greener focus, I saw a difference in my staff. They were healthier and happier,” says Susan Haise, owner/CEO of Neroli Salon & Spa in Milwaukee, WI. “My advice to any salon owner wanting to go green, start small and keep in mind that what you’re doing is meant to make people—both your staff and guests—feel good.” Here, she reveals her best “going green” tips.

Illuminate smartly. Use as much natural light as possible. It’s more flattering for your customers, lowers your electricity usage and boosts natural vitamin D intake. Switch to “earth-friendly” LED bulbs, and try motion sensors, so you only use light when you need it.

Design with plants. It might be literal, but “going green” by adding plants filters carbon dioxide out of the environment and produces more oxygen. So everyone breathes easier.


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Furnish friendly. Look for furnishings that are made from recyclable metals and sustainably grown woods—both of which should be free from hazardous lacquers, resins, coatings or bonding agents. These “earth-friendly” pieces are healthier for the atmosphere, and tend to last longer—so you save money, too.

Stay local. Buying products that were made closer to home helps reduce the carbon footprint it takes to get the product to you.