How Could My Hair Appointment Be Unethical?
Written by Emily Seerup
It’s 6pm on a Thursday night – you’ve been looking forward to this for weeks. Your roots are out of control, your ends are like your best friends latest romance (split), and it seems like years since you rocked anything but a messy bun. Thank God for your hair appointment. Three hours later, you’re walking out with a spring in your step and a blonde, bouncy locks.
But what about everything you left behind?
We get it – when you think about areas of your life that could be made more ethical, where you get your hair done isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But toxic chemicals and exorbitant amounts of waste are the pillars the hairdressing industry is built on, and that’s only recently started to change.
Let’s break it down:
It’s estimated that approximately one million kilograms of aluminium foil is being sent to landfill from Australian salons every year. And that’s a product that’s infinitely recyclable! When you also factor in the colour tubes, tubs of lightener, bottles of shampoo and conditioner, styling products, broken electrical tools, and the HAIR – Wowee that’s a lot of waste.
That’s why Sustainable Salons was formed – a resource recovery program that’s making salon waste history in Australia and New Zealand.
Sustainable Salons provides salons with multiple bins for sorting their waste into, and then collects and repurposes each material to continue it’s lifespan – keeping everything in circulation.
Plastics are made into outdoor furniture, landscaping supplies and new product packaging. Chemical waste is sent to plants where they neutralise and turn it into recycled water used for roadworks and construction. Paper Products, Razor Blades and Electricals are sold for recycling, with the funds going to Oz and Kiwi Harvest – providing meals for the homeless. The coolest part? Hair Clippings are turned into hair booms – hair stuffed in stockings that go into the ocean and clean up oil spills!
Each client at a Sustainable Salon pays a $2 Green Fee which covers the running costs, meaning your dollar goes directly to keeping our planet clean.
You can use their handy locator tool to find a Sustainable Salon near you.
It’s become a confusing world to navigate when you’re trying to put your health first – there’s more ingredients on labels than stars in the sky. But when it comes to hair colour, there’s some really toxic baddies you should be keeping as far from your scalp as possible.
Your skin is your largest organ, absorbing up to 70% of what’s applied to it. So when traditional hair colour contains known toxins like ammonia and resorcinol, it’s time to reconsider where you’re getting your greys (sorry, natural highlights) covered.
So if it’s toxic for you, what about the planet?
Residual hair colour ordinarily just gets washed down the drain – out of sight, out of mind. And unfortunately it’s difficult to track just how much gets into our water systems. But with new research coming out all the time, we’re sure it won’t be long until we learn just how big of an impact it has. For us, toxic chemicals + going down the drain + pipe that leads to the ocean and all the fishies is a big no no.
So, Where Can I Go? Help, I Need A Haircut!
Never fear – sustainable and ethical salons do exist. They’re few and far between, but our favourite is just over the pond.
Bob is a natural and sustainable salon brought to life by two women who wanted to challenge the norm and create the answer to all the problems listed above.
A space that valued sustainability, ethics and health – but still delivered high end, beautiful hair at the other end. Check out their Instagram to see what all the fuss is about.
If you’re not in Melbourne, head on over to Sustainable salons to find one closest to you. If you are in Melbourne, what are you waiting for?