Is Your Salon Helping, or Harming, the Environment?

salon help or harm environment
Tracey Lydiard
Marketing at Timely
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Beauty comes at a price, and at the moment it’s an expensive one for our environment. Hair and beauty salons have a huge impact on the health of our planet, and the way they’re run makes more of a difference than you might think.

Think about this question as you read on: is your salon part of the solution, or part of the problem?

It’s no secret that the hair and beauty industries produce a lot of waste. Most industries on that scale do. It’s the type of waste and how it’s disposed of that’s the problem. Many salons use and sell products containing extremely toxic chemicals, with much of it going straight down the drain.

The solution is rather simple. It’s not difficult to understand, and it doesn’t require huge effort. You simply need to care.

To help you out, we’ve boiled the issues around salons and the environment down to 3 main problems, and they’re all easy to overcome.

nail polish environment

Problem #1 – toxic products

Just because a label says natural, it doesn’t always mean it’s safe. Formaldehyde is a natural substance, but also a known carcinogen. It’s also a common ingredient in keratin treatments. Not only is it dangerous to use on yourself and others, but the damage it causes doesn’t stop when it washes down the drain.

Microbeads are another highly destructive ingredient found in a tremendous amount of beauty products. They’re tiny plastic balls that are added to things like facial cleansers for exfoliating or polishing purposes. They can even be found in some toothpastes. They are normally less than 1mm in diameter and they don’t biodegrade. They find their way into rivers, lakes, and oceans very easily. From there they end up harming marine life, and can even get into drinking water. Microbeads are considered such a blight on our environment that in some countries they’ll soon be illegal.


Many all-natural рrоduсtѕ offer thе same bеnеfitѕ without leaving a harmful footprint оn оur environment. Microbeads for example, are easily replaced by sand or husks. It’s not hard these days to avoid products that can harm the environment. Just do a bit of research on items that you buy, and try to use and sell all natural products at your salon.

environment landfill

Problem #2 –waste disposal

Over 1.5 million kg of foil and colour tube waste was dumped into Australian landfills last year. This is despite aluminium having the ability to maintain its quality after being recycled many times over.

Next time you’re in the salon, count how many plastic bottles you can see. Salons churn through a lot of products and even if you’re throwing empties in the correct bin, a lot of energy is used to recycle that plastic.


Recycling aluminium foil can be done with only 5% of the energy it takes to create. Companies like Sustainable Salons exist primarily to help salons manage their waste in an effort to become more eco-friendly. Even hair can be recycled into useful products!

There are multiple companies out there that offer refilling, or even recycling services for their products. Having one refillable bottle rather than constantly buying plastic ones, is a great way to reduce waste. Remember that glass bottles are also more easily recycled than plastic.

attitude environment

Problem #3 – attitudes

The greatest problem our environment faces is the attitudes of those who don’t care. It’s easy for many to ignore environmental issues. We often don’t see the immediate effects of our actions, or rather, inaction.

Salon workers get more up close and personal with their clients than most other professionals. They chat with them, share opinions, and even advise on their daily routine. Your regular clients trust you. If they see that you care about the environment, they’re more likely to follow suit.


Recommend all-natural products, encourage proper waste management, and spread the word about living a sustainable life. Going green opens up your salon to a whole new customer base – those who care.

Running a sustainable salon helps you look more professional. You’ll be relating to your clients on a more personal level and best of all, you’ll feel good about running your business. With a few changes in habit, you can even save money.

Now ask yourself again: is your salon part of the problem, or part of the solution?

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