Many people, including hairstylists, are surprised to learn that the cosmetics industry is not regulated by the FDA.
This means that haircolors and personal care products do not go through any kind of governmental approval process.
There are more than 10,500 ingredients in beauty products men, women, and children use everyday. Did you know that only 11 percent of these ingredients have been tested for safety?
Of the beauty products tested by the Environmental Working Group, 33 percent were found to contain ingredients linked to cancer, 45 percent contain ingredients that may be harmful to the reproductive system or to a baby’s development, and 60 percent have ingredients that can disturb hormones.
Are there any alternatives? Yes. Several companies now adhere to scientific guidelines considered to be nontoxic set by the European Commission which does research and regulate the cosmetics industry. The first qualification for a “green” hair salon is one that uses nontoxic haircolors and personal care products. Whatever we put on our skin and scalp is absorbed into our blood stream.
By using nontoxic products, we eliminate the harm some of the chemicals in traditional colors have been proved to cause to us and to the environment as they are washed down the drain.
At Nori’s Eco Salon, we use a line of nontoxic hair colors made in the USA called Ecocolors. They produce terrific results, and our clients are very happy to know we are using nontoxic products. They can even smell the difference.
Nori’s Eco Salon is LA’s first “green” hair salon. We are a family owned salon that was founded by my mom, Nori, over two decades ago; and along with my sister Roza, we have been providing hair care to the community ever since.
Another aspect that makes a hair salon “green” is one that is built using healthy and sustainable building materials. A couple of years ago we decided to move to another location within our shopping center and took the opportunity to create a salon that fully represented our commitment to our collective health and the well being of our fragile planet.
We used denim jean insulation, no-voc paint, natural linoleum floors, refurbished furniture, and an extraordinary new material made from old newspapers called Paperstone for our counter tops. Having a “green” hair salon also incorporates “green” lifestyle choices such as recycling, using low-energy lighting, purchasing carbon offsets, and printing our brochures on recycled paper using soy based ink.
What can you do? As a first step, you can become aware of what you put on your client’s hair and scalp by reading the labels. Review the ingredients in a product safety data base such as Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep (www.cosmeticsdatabase.com) or Environmental Defense’s data base (www.scorecard.org). Take a look at your salon – are you recycling your magazines and bottles? Are you using environmentally friendly products? These are just a couple of suggestions for ways we can all make our industry a healthier place to work and to bring to the salon choices that promote a “green” world.