Anne Veck and Keith Mellen share their ideas and explain how you can make an impact.
How bold will you go in your bid to become sustainable? These ideas may need time and money, but as Anne Veck and Keith Mellen, our 2022 Most Wanted Sustainability Heroes, explain, they’ll make an impact and save you money in the long run.
Increasing numbers of hairdressing brands are now offering safe, ethically and sustainably produced products and packaging, free of harsh chemicals and including organic and vegan products, it is certainly something to consider but the decision to change takes a lot of time and research. Fortunately, our reigning Sustainability Heroes have the right advice for you to start thinking.
Switching to vegan
Now, to make your salon vegan is a major undertaking. As well as being sustainable, you’d need to stop using any products that contain animal derivatives or that have been tested on animals. Firstly, shampoos and other hair care products can begin your initial research. Organisations like PETA are giving continual efforts in monitoring animal testing globally, which has produced some significant results, however, it is important to be aware of businesses and business practises ‘greenwashing’ – vague, bogus, and exaggerated claims. For example, regarding sourcing of palm oil, paper and card and testing on animals, with no acknowledgement of harsh chemical use or substitute ingredients that are just as bad.
Another extremely important part of your salon: your furniture. You can make conscious efforts to replace leather furniture with 100 per cent synthetic PU leather (polyurethane) or seeking out microfiber leather, which many claim its velvet-like qualities to be the closest possible match we may have to real leather. Other furniture, like sofas or chairs that may have fur or animal hair, could be replaced with animal prints as faux fur can often contain wool or animal hair.
Refreshments is something than may go overlooked as it is not directly related to your practice, but it certainly is to your service. Having a sustainability-conscious eye across all aspects of the experience your clients will have at your salon will make those details stand out from the rest. Offer refreshments that are fresh, avoiding processed foods or individual packaging. Alternatively, team up with a local independent business, bakery or individual, that can supply fresh products with a vegan option. This way, you can support their business, avoid buying into retail chain corporations and keep your salon sustainable.
Similarly, catering to vegans and giving your clients a choice is a starting point, and it may encourage your clients to consider the switch to ethical hairdressing. Stock vegan hair products. Several brands now claim most of their products are vegan and there are a few that are entirely vegan, but do consider the limitations (if any) of their colour products.
Promoting the idea and encouraging your clients through your own actions will provide them the awareness of a small step they can make which translates as a giant step for the planet.