As I understand it, hair salons are pretty toxic enterprises on many counts. Are there any efforts underway to green up that industry?
—Paula Howe, San Francisco, CA
Hair salons have long been criticized for the pollution they generate. Traditional hair dyes and many shampoos contain harmful synthetic chemicals that are routinely used on customers” scalps—and then washed down the drain where they can accumulate in waterways, soils and even our bloodstreams.
While there doesn’t appear to be an industry-wide, coordinated effort to green up these operations, green-friendly salons are popping up all across the country, leading the charge by taking matters into their own hands. A simple Google search for “green hair salons” followed by your two-letter state abbreviation may well turn up one or several within driving distance.
Not surprisingly, Southern California seems to be ground zero for the green hair salon movement. For example, Beverly Hills” Shades Hair Studio prides itself on its chemical-free atmosphere. Spurred on by her own health problems related to working with conventional hair dyes, owner Susan Henry—so-called “colorist to the stars”—first created her own line of natural hair colors that contain no harmful ammonia, and then transformed her Shades salon into a model for environmentally friendly hair care.