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4 Greener Beauty Treatments

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Look for tell-tale signs of an eco-friendly salon.


Summer’s the time to look our best — more bare skin for warm-weather fashion, a new hairstyle for vacation, a pedicure to show off flip-flopped feet. Are you seeking out the greenest options for your salon treatments?

These days, the environment is top of mind among many stylists, aestheticians, and salon owners as they seek out more natural treatments, sustainable products, and environmentally responsible facilities. Next time you need to book a treatment, seek out some of the following features for an experience that beautifies you while minimizing its impact on the environment.

Hair Care: For haircuts and color treatments, look for salons that use responsible products: ones that aren’t tested on animals or derived from animal ingredients (Organic Color Systems is one such brand). Salons that use keratin treatments that don’t contain formaldehyde, or hair color without ammonia, are also likely to be concerned about the environment.

Facials: Look for treatments that contain organic ingredients, especially when they’re pure ingredients like fruits, vegetables, milk, and flowers. Another option to ask about when it comes to your spa products is paraben-free. Parabens are an ingredient that prevents the growth of bacteria, and they are believed to be endocrine disruptors. An environmentally responsible spa will also incorporate sustainable practices into its operations, such as minimizing water and detergent usage, using energy-efficient lighting and heating/air conditioning, and using earth-friendly cleaning products.

Manicures and Pedicures: If you’ve ever been turned off by the overwhelming chemical smell when you’ve stepped into a nail salon, you’ll understand why more and more salons are turning to greener, less toxic products (A 2007 Time magazine article named nail salons one of the worst places to work because of the harmful fumes). An environmentally responsible nail salon will use low-VOC, low-chemical products, have good ventilation, and will be wise with its water conservation (some salons even offer water-free pedicures). Familiarize yourself with eco-friendly nail polish brands to watch for at the salons.

Hair Removal: Whether you do hair removal at home or at a salon, seek out greener methods. If waxing is your preferred mode of hair removal, avoid paraffin wax, which is petroleum based, and seek out reusable wax and applicators. Sugaring is an even eco-friendlier option for hair removal, and is no more painful than waxing.

How are you going to green your summer beauty routine? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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About the Author
Jessica Harlan
Jessica Harlan
I love finding new ways to green my family's life as painlessly as possible, and sharing those ideas with folks who want to do the same. more