Eco-friendliness and sustainability have been buzzwords in the salon industry over the last decade, but being green is now more than just a trend. It’s becoming a responsibility.

Why salons are going green (and making money)

Over 1.5 million kg of foil and colour tube waste went to landfill in Australia alone last year. And while there’s not yet an industry-wide push to green up salon operations, going green at salons is becoming more and more common all over the world.

These businesses, along with organisations like Sustainable Salons, are taking matters into their own hands, and leading the way towards an environmentally friendly hair industry.

It’s hard to change your ways overnight. We get so used to using the same products and the same methods. After all, they work! But just because something’s not broken doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. Incorporating sustainability into your salon is becoming easier, more profitable, and more important.

So why should you go green?

More money

One of the biggest misconceptions is that going green will cost you the earth. Nope!

Many eco-friendly steps simply involve being mindful: turning off a light, or unplugging appliances that aren’t in use. These habits are free – and will actually save you money in the long run.

Eco-friendly products have, in the past, been more expensive. However, with the demand for more environmentally friendly products growing, prices are becoming more competitive. In time, the days of charging more for eco-friendly products will diminish entirely.

More clients

Going green is a great marketing opportunity. You’ve now opened up to a portion of the population that you were missing before: pregnant people, people who favour sustainability in their purchasing decisions, and people who are sensitive to harsh synthetic chemicals.

Sustainability is its own reward: it can pull in new clients, without turning off any current ones. Win-win!

More responsibility

Using eco-friendly products and practices contributes to keeping our air cleaner and our land healthier.

One of the biggest movements in the beauty industry is developing better green technology for packaging. Some of these changes include using biodegradable materials, using less plastic, and even printing in soy ink.

By purchasing eco-friendly products for your salon, and recycling as much as possible, you do a part in taking responsibility for the future of our planet. Not bad for a day’s work!

Tips to go green

First of all, let go of the idea that you need to leap fully onto the green side and become an eco-warrior. If you’re ready for that, great! If not, start small. Take stock of your salon and work in some simple habits to green up your salon.

After all, small habits are doable, right?

1. Embrace the cloud

May we introduce you to your new best friend, the cloud? If you’re not already in the cloud, you should give it a shot. Timely’s in the cloud! You can take appointments, store customer notes, send reminders and follow-ups, and more, all without a paper diary, sticky note or postcard. It saves you time, and some trees.

There are plenty of applications that can simplify your life and reduce your paper usage, like Xero, Colorista, and MYOB.

2. Re-think your lights

Energy-saving lightbulbs like LEDs can be a controversial topic in hair and beauty salons. Your lights need to be

  • bright (or dim) enough for you to do your best work
  • flattering enough to show off a client’s hair or skin
  • true enough to show colours properly

So you may decide that LEDs aren’t the right move for client-centred spaces, especially if you can rely on natural light instead. But that still leaves your waiting areas, your front desk, and any back-of-house spaces. LEDs cost a bit more at the shop, but since they last about 60 times as long, you’ll save that money in the long run.

Aside from this, simply remind staff to turn off lights in staff rooms, or vacant treatment rooms! Only have a light switched on when you really need it. If you’re ready to get fancy, there’s always motion-triggered lights, which will automatically shut off if the room is still for a certain amount of time.

3. Conserve water

Check your salon for leaks. Slow drips can contribute to tons of wastewater per month, which is damaging for the environment, and your pocket. Have a plumber check your taps and washers to make sure they’re up to scratch – if there’s an issue, the plumbing bill will pay for itself in no time in the money that you save further down the line.

For hair salons, water efficient products like EcoHead Shower Heads are a great investment to conserve water, which saves you energy and money.

4. Check your flow

It’s not just water that leaks! Cracks in your building can let air flow in and out of your salon without you even noticing. If you live in a climate with cold winter or hot summers, this can have a big impact on the amount of energy you’re using to heat and cool your space – and the amount of money you’re spending on it.

The obvious places to check are your windows and doors. Some of these leaks you’ll be able to handle yourself, if you know your way around a caulking gun or feel comfortable applying foam or vinyl weatherstripping. Other checks like your ceiling, ventilation ducts, and electrical outlets will probably need to be done by a professional.

5. Reuse, reduce and recycle

Equip your salon with good recycling systems to better organise waste paper, glass, plastics, hair, and foils. Ideally, find out whether there are companies like Sustainable Salons in your area so you can be sure that your waste is being disposed of sensibly, and in a way that can be beneficial later in its lifecycle.

6. Choose eco-friendly appliances

If you can, try to purchase appliances with a good energy rating. Energy-smart appliances conserve more energy and water than standard appliances. Using natural detergents with your appliances will also help alleviate environmental pollution.

Most of us can’t just go splurge out and get a new washing machine, dryer and coffee maker as soon as we realise that our current one isn’t up to snuff. But when it’s time for a replacement, keep this tip in mind!

7. Fewer, bigger loads

Only press ‘start’ on your machine when it’s full. This is a simple way to save water and energy, and reduce CO2 emissions. This might mean investing in a few more towels as you figure out your new laundry schedule, but you’ll get back the money in your power bill.

There’s no planet B

Sustainability is the way of the future. In fact, many people believe it’s the only way forward. Being eco-friendly has moved from a fringe movement to a responsibility. But if that sometimes feels all a bit overwhelming – new product lines! carbon neutral furniture! natural light only! – don’t let it turn you off, or put it into the ‘too hard’ bucket. Being eco-friendly is more achievable than ever nowadays!

Contributing to a better environment doesn’t always have to be about sweeping changes.

And the benefits of going green far outweigh the effort you put in. Not only will you be contributing to a healthier environment, you’ll be saving money and welcoming new clients. Not a bad result from a few easy new habits, right?