21 April 2024

Green – But Also Salon Business Friendly

We take a look a 4 in-salon green incentives which can not only help the environment, but also benefit your business without breaking the bank.

Do you ever feel like you just want to be left alone to manage your salon as best you can? Running a successful hair business is challenging at the best of times – it requires huge resources of time, effort and commitment, not to mention a team of hair artists who remain both creative and enthusiatic. It can therefore feel quite irksome when ‘shouty’ people on social media are constantly telling you you’re not green enough; you’re not protecting the environment; you’re not working in a sustainable way; you should be recycling more efficiently. And then they start lecturing us about our carbon footprint. But what do they really know about what YOU do, day in and day out? 

Since global warming became such a hot topic a few years ago, I’ve spoken to countless hairdressers and other people working in our industry about this subject. Without exception, everyone appears to be mindful of the peril our planet is facing and sympathetic to the need for each and every one of us to do our part. So let’s look at a few simple ways of how being more environmental will also benefit our businesses:

Water, Water Everywhere

Hair salons use a lot of it, of course they do – and it’s warm! Is there a viable alternative to water that clients will be happy with? Of course not. And how many clients do you hope to book in for a follow-up appointment in 6 weeks’ time if you start rinsing them off in cold water? None. So there we have it – warm water is staying put. It very expensive to heat water though and often the consumption is metered as well,   so being more efficient in the way we use can only be a good thing for both our pockets and the environment.

Clients may have washed their hair in the day or two before visiting the salon, so there’s no harm in making a habit of asking them if they require one shampoo or two. It’s also easy to leave the water flowing between washes, which can be very wasteful. Other suggestions I’ve heard concern regulating the water flow more efficiently at the tap – and perhaps checking that the nozzle on the shower head has an aerator to help reduce consumption.  For example, L’Oréal Professionnel has just launched Water Saver, it’s  first showerhead leveraging patented water fragmentation technology to reduce water flow at the backwash by up to 69%. 

What’s In a Product?

It goes without saying that there are literally thousands of substances and chemicals in the world which are harmful to human beings, animals and the environment. All our reputable product manufacturers in the UK do make a concerted effort to keep them to a minimum, but how can you perform a chemical reaction on the hair such as a colour treatment without…um, chemicals? So here again, we need to keep things in perspective. Whether it be a colour, a treatment a styling product, or a finishing product, it’s about feeling reassured that the products you’re using are ‘clean’ – i.e. they don’t contain anything known to be harmful, such as any of the real nasties like  parabens, silicones, sulfates, pesticides, or some petroleum derivatives. 

Wash Day

Rita Ora, Getty Images

An established alternative to terry towels in many UK salons are eco-towels. You might have difficulty working out which version is more economical to use, as the cost in detergents, energy and waterof washing and drying traditional towels is tricky to calculate. Eco-towels are manufactured using a number of different by-products like wood pulp or bamboo pulp, so in that respect they’re very environmentally friendly. They are single-use so very hygienic, as well as being very absorbent and in most cases 100% biodegradable. One of the most popular choices in salons is Scrummi, a company which has been providing salons and spas with biodegradable single-use towels since 2010. 


This is the big one for many salons. Recycling is the environmental issue that most salon clients can engage with – probably because it’s one which they have to deal with themselves on a daily basis. Recycling can also have a huge visual impact on clients, as throughout their visit they surrounded by object like bottles and packaging which may or may not be destined for landfill.

Green Salon Collective is an organisation with the goal of recycling the unrecyclable within hairdressing. Their philanthropic outlook has led to the launch of a host of altruistic new initiatives, supporting even more good causes, including Haircuts for Homeless and Mossy Earth. As well as their charity partnerships, they have also undertaken research projects to bolster their values of sustainability and support for the hairdressing community. Topics include investigating the true cost of disposable towels, and most recently how hairdressers can influence consumer behaviour. Initially created to transform recycling within hairdressing, Green Salon Collective have already saved 200 tons of waste from going to landfill through their professional salon network and recycling at industry events. 


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