Eco-Friendly and Organic Beauty Salons: A Growing Trend

We all know going green is good for the planet, but could it also be the key to personal health and beauty?  Environmentally-conscious beauty is a growing trend that's inspiring many beauty salon owners and customers to embrace eco-friendly products and services.  But what does "natural beauty" really mean?

Let's start with some basic definitions:  

While there is no official definition of what "natural" means, the FDA refers to natural ingredients as "ingredients extracted directly from plants or animal products as opposed to being produced synthetically."  

The National Ingredients Resource Center says natural ingredients are:
·    Grown, harvested, raised and processed in an ecological manner.
·    Not produced synthetically.
·    Free of all petrochemicals.
·    Not extracted or processed using petrochemicals.
·    Not extracted or processed using anything other than natural ingredients as solvents.
·    Not exposed to irradiation.
·    Not genetically engineered & do not contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

Organic means ingredients are grown without pesticides and chemicals and usually certified by an organization such as the United States Department of Agriculture.

Eco-Friendly means "not harmful to the environment."

Why go natural? Because the chemicals used to create and market cosmetics and hair care products might be harmful to your health as well as the health of the planet. Many standard ingredients and processes are being linked to skin irritations, allergies, autoimmune disorders, and even cancer.  They're also filling up our landfills, air, and waterways with toxic ingredients.

That's why eco-friendly spas and products are cropping up all over the world. Many new salons are built using recycled materials, reclaimed wood, solar and wind-powered energy sources, and services that minimize resource consumption. Some even offer super-eco services like waterless pedicures.  Others offer non-disposable cups, organic food and drinks, and garden-type atmospheres for hanging out while waiting for your color to process.

As consumers become increasingly aware of the dangers of parabens, silicone, BPA, and other synthetic chemicals and plastics, the beauty industry is booming with products like Opi and Zoya's lines of DBP, toluene, and formaldahyde-free nail polishes. Many beauty salons replace chemically-harsh hair coloring, straightening, and perms with natural and organic processes.  They also offer natural/organic shampoos, conditioners, dyes, styling creams, and cosmetics including Davines and John Masters product lines.

You don't have to purchase products at the spa, however, to give natural beauty a try. Garnier offers their latest, greenest line of PureClean® hair care products in grocery stores. Cosmetic retailer Sephora offers approximately 1,400 products that use natural and organic ingredients with limited chemical content.  

The containers that cosmetics are sold in are important too. Burt's Bees natural cosmetics and skin care products are working towards 100 percent post consumer recyclable packaging by 2020. Garnier currently offers some products in 50 percent post-consumer recyclable plastic bottles.  

What's one more way beauty salons are saving the environment? Thousands of hair professionals help clean up oil spills by collecting hair clippings and donating them to organizations that make hair booms (nylon sleeves stuffed with human and pet hair to absorb oil).  

How do you find an eco-friendly salon or products? A quick Internet search will turn up lots of beautiful options in your area.  Ask for references from friends and salon clients and be aware that just because it says "natural," doesn't mean it's always better for your health. Go with products and spas with solid reputations.

Food and Drug Administration
Organic Cosmetics

Natural Ingredient Resource Center