Surprising Ways to Make your Salon More Sustainable

Published 25th Apr 2024 by Josie Jackson

We are all aware of the need to turn off the plug switches when not in use, to switch to a eco-friendly energy supplier and use biodegradable towels, but here are some more surprising switches that could help your salon be more sustainable.

Sustainability Stats

  • 82% ‘try not to be harmful to the environment’ whilst 59% actively ‘choose recyclable packaging’.
  • 68% of consumers support businesses that benefit the environment.
  • 64% of consumers like idea of shops with sustainable products.

Source: Mintel 2022 Sustainability Barometer (16,000 respondents).

Eco Balayage

It’s true what they say about small habits leading to big changes. Now you can create a more sustainable industry through daily practices with the new Revlon Professional Conscious Balayage technique. It sees the colour or pre-lightener placed in a strategic way onto the hair, in order to create the typical balayage dimension without using foils.

Clean Formulas

We’re all on high alert for cleaner colour formulas. Goldwell’s Topchic Zero is a drain safe formula that is up to 98% biodegradable. All Topchic Zero products are climate neutral. How? Kao Salon Division has reduced its carbon emissions from raw materials, packaging, production, transport and disposal and by compensating the unavoidable ones to zero through carbon offset projects in cooperation with ClimatePartner. 

Bin It Better

The key goal of the Green Salon Collective is to recycle and reuse salon waste, focusing on specialist items like hair and metal. They use hair in over 10 different ways, including cleaning up oil spills, and donate all of their profits from recycling metals. They also compost salon towels and generate energy from chemical waste and PPE, so by getting involved with initiative such as this, you'll be well on your way to helping your salon become more sustainable.

Start You Sustainable Journey

If you’re looking for a tailored plan to support carbon reduction in your salon then signing up to the award winning Net Zero Salon Initiative is something to consider. This industry-first tool has been created by climate experts Net Zero Now in partnership with L’Oréal Professional Products. The tool guides salons through the process of calculating, tracking and reducing their carbon footprint. Salons are given a tailored action plan with carbon reduction targets, with the ultimate ambition of becoming a certified Net Zero Salon. Available on L’Oréal Partner Shop. 

Refill and Recycle

We’ve seen food shops offering refill bars for customers, and it’s great to see the hair world joining in too. Authentic Beauty Concept introduced Refill Bars in 2020 – the refill bottles which clients can buy are made from 90% Post-Consumer Recyclable plastics and they can be reused at least five times, generating a saving of 83% less plastic. The Refill Bars use five litre bottles – made from 50% PCR – as the main container and the pump for refiling is also reusable. It’s a great way to check in with your client between appointments, as well as showing your commitment to sustainability.

Colour Check

It’s tricky to recycle hair dye, or even get rid of it easily - posing a challenge to every salon hoping to become more sustainable. Mostly, it’s rinsed into our water system or put in the bin and sent to landfill. One solution is to mix only the colour that you need rather than a set amount regardless of hair type or length. Tim Howard, chief innovation officer at Vish explains: “More than 6 million kg – 15 million lbs – of colour is wasted by stylists each year. Cut that and you don’t just protect the planet, you are also protecting your profits as that colour has been paid for by you. Research shows that the average salon spends £15k on colour that ends up as waste.”

Recycle, recycle, recycle

The national recycling scheme ‘Recycle My Salon’ aims to reduce the amount of aluminium colour tubes, foils, aerosols, and cans going to landfills. The scheme is run on a not-for-profit basis in association with the HBSA (Hairdressing and Beauty Suppliers Association). Used aluminium products are collected in recycling bins in the salon which, once full, are collected by their recycling partner First Mile (they will pick up a full bin of used products from any UK postcode!) The products are sorted, baled, and recycled. Recycling packs of five bins, one lid and 25 recycled sacks are available from wholesalers or directly from the Recycle My Salon website.

Courses that Care

From the company behind Leaf Scissors (who plant at least 10 trees for every pair of scissors sold) comes Shift Academy. Offering courses that are about sustainability and personal growth as well as hair education, for every subscription that is bought ten trees are planted. Will you help the company in their goal of planting 1 million trees by 2025? 

Every Drop Counts 

We all know that water consumption in salon is unavoidable for most client services, but by installing showerheads such as the L’Oréal Professionnel Water Saver, salons can reduce water flow at the backwash by up to 69%*. This innovation leverages patented water fragmentation technology - highly precise jet collisions within the showerhead break the water into 10x smaller drops.** Available on L’Oréal Partner Shop.

*Average difference vs 26 French salons' pre-existing non-water saving, standard shower head. Water flow is the amount of water passing through a pipe during a set period of time, measured in litres per minute. Water flow reduction may vary depending on location. Compatibility requirements apply. 
** Instrumental test, compared to metric drops 

Furniture Focus

A great way to help your salon become more sustainable is to think about the furniture filling your space. Unlike some interior products, Takara Belmont’s furniture and equipment is designed to last – both visually and functionally. National Sales Manager Katie Wrighton explains: “With every product manufactured to best-in-class standards, this philosophy is also supported by an established service culture. Salons choosing Takara Belmont have the added reassurance that parts, service and support will always be on hand.” When inferior equipment breaks down, salons not only suffer financial loss from breaks in service continuity, they often need to replace equipment because parts and servicing aren’t accessible, but that’s not the case with Takara Belmont.

Ocean Plastic Problem

A hundred tons of Ocean-Bound Plastic has already been collected thanks to social enterprise Plastic Bank. The group has collected 100 tons of Ocean-Bound plastic and in 2022, Davines strengthened its commitment to the cause: for every Davines product sold, the same amount of plastic will be removed from the environment. Davines will mark their 40th anniversary by doubling their campaign contribution (€50,000) to Pennsylvania-based Rodale Institute, the pioneer of Regenerative Organic Agriculture. Plus don’t miss debuting April 2023 for Earth Month, the Grow Beautiful limited-edition tote bag made with Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) cotton. 

Powder Power

Combining breakthrough clean formulations with sustainable, innovative packaging, L’ANZA T.R.U.E. Clean Shampoo & Pure Conditioner are packaged in bottles made from 96% OceanBound Waste Post-Consumer Resin (PCR). In Clean Shampoo using a powder-to-lather formula, L’ANZA was able to significantly reduce their carbon footprint by reducing the dimensions and weight of cargo, just by removing water. In the Pure Conditioner, they incorporate sustainably sourced upcycled ingredients for a zero-waste beauty experience. 

weDo/ Care

The weDo/ pledge to retrieve eight plastic bottles for every product sold has now prevented over 20 million plastic bottles from entering the ocean, thanks to their ongoing partnership with Plastic Bank. Plus, the story continues for Wella Company's weDo/ and their Advocate for Positive Change actress Phoebe Dynevor, as they joined forces in March for a clean-up on the shores of France.

Smart Services

A new Clay Additive from FFØR has launched which, when blended with FFØR's High:Lift Lightening Powder, changes the consistency to enable freehand colour techniques, without the need for foils. Professionals can balayage away with this new product safe in the knowledge that it's reducing waste, plus it's vegan, cruelty free, PETA approved and made in the UK too. Looking for even more content to help your salon become more sustainable? As part of HJ's Sustainability Week, we have an array of articles to help get you going. You can see everything that's coming up this week by checking out our official schedule.

Education is Key 

Regardless of where you are in your sustainability journey, knowledge is power. By upskilling as a team you can ensure that your salon remains consistent in your sustainability efforts and act as one voice when advocating for sustainability amongst clients. As part of their Hairstylists For The Future programme, L’Oréal Professional Products have created a free, e-learning plan to support upskilling across water, waste and carbon footprint. These mobile-first, interactive modules take less than 10 minutes to complete- making them easy to access by anyone, anywhere. Start today on L’Oréal Access.

Today's Sustainability Week content is sponsored by L’Oréal Professional Products. 

Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 25th Apr 2024

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

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