When I moved to Seattle last fall, some things — the mountains, the consistently mild weather, the fact that you can compost anywhere — were super-easy to adjust to. But after leaving the hairstylist I'd been seeing for 10 years back in Wisconsin, it took me longer than I care to admit to accept that I needed to find a new place to get my hair cut.
But, eight whole months after moving, Yelp led me to Grow Salon. It had great reviews and another added benefit: it billed itself as an eco-salon.
So because today is Earth Day — and because I love my haircut and the planet, in no particular order — I sat down with Rachel Powell, Grow's coordinator, to figure out what goes into making a sustainable salon.
Rachel told me that Grow's effort to lessen their impact on the planet starts with the products they use.
"All of the products we carry here are sustainably produced," she said. "That means the packaging has to be post-consumer packaging, the companies we partner with have water conservation efforts; it's about finding the most sustainable thing on the market."
By carrying lines like Kevin Murphy and Davines, who use recycled and recyclable packaging, power their plants and offices with renewable energy, and donate to environmental charities, Grow is able to make an impact on more than just the local level.
"It's not about being 100% organic or natural all the time. Sometimes there are chemical processes that go into the products we use to preserve their shelf life," Rachel added, reminding me that a product being sustainably produced doesn't mean that it has to be made of wild-foraged herbs and coconut oil — natural isn't always better. But by paying attention to how large companies produce their products, and supporting the ones that do well, consumers can make a lot more impact than what any of us can do on an individual level.
Still, it's possible to find a salon that cares about the little things, too. I learned that Grow is a Green Circle salon, meaning they belong to a recycling program that allows them to recycle salon waste — hair foils, plastic product caps, plastic gloves, color byproducts — that wouldn't usually be accepted by municipal recycling programs. They even recycle hair clippings from the salon to be used in hair booms to clean up oil spills.
The last tip Rachel gave me was to look for a salon that offers a refill program that lets you bring in empty product bottles to refill them from bulk containers, rather than getting new packaging each time. Some salons, like Grow, will even offer a discount on refills, making it extra worth the while. I'm hoarding Davines bottles already.
- Would you ever try an eco-salon?
- Do you have any tips for how you make your beauty routine more sustainable?