WEB EXCLUSIVE! Eco-beauty insiders share their thoughts and tips on the green movement.

A collective cry is growing in fervency. It’s the sound of the green movement, and it’s more than a passing trend. As part of the beauty industry—an industry that contributes to pollution daily—you’re positioned to lend your voice. Greening-up your salon, recycling at home, passing on eco-tips to clients—every proactive task you undertake lends resonance to this call.

Photo credit: Eryk Fitkau
For beauty manufacturers with a true (read: non-exploitive) green bent, standing out amongst those who simply want to capitalize on the organic/natural wave has proved difficult—but worth the battle. These same eco-beauty innovators share their insight to encourage you to join in on the movement, and elevate this cry to an unavoidable roar.

What does it mean to be green?

Beth Bewley, Eufora cofounder Any time we can reduce the waste the company produces, we do. Office lights are all on timers; we use energy-conserving light bulbs. We not only provide recycling opportunities for our staff and recycling bins for all of our salons, but we also use recycled materials and renewable resources whenever possible, such as in our salon displays, which are made out of bamboo. To Eufora, being green is simply this: Anytime a company can “do better” in conservation of materials or reduction in company waste, it’s a positive contribution.

Lorraine Massey, cofounder of DevaCurl To be green is to be self-aware and knowledgeable about the world around you. It all starts with you. For example: not eating processed foods, always recycling and not using harmful products. Then, when helping the green global causes, they become more meaningful because you’re not simply talking the talk, you’re walking the walk.

Dr. Bernard Gram, creator of Skin1 by Dr. Gram Being green means that future generations behind me will be able to enjoy the earth as I have. Playing outside is the greatest therapy ever!

Steve Goddard, CEO of Pravana Naturceuticals There’s no real, formal definition of “green”; the term means something slightly different for each individual. However, I believe that people commonly believe being green means doing things—taking action. In our case, that would be creating products and services that are safe and good for the wellbeing of our environment, salon professionals and their clients.

Wayne Grund, president of Surface Quite simply it means to do what is right and be aware that we are merely the caretakers of this earth for the next generation. We all have a responsibility to leave the earth and the people on it better than we found it. I didn’t always think like this; becoming a grandfather really made me stop and think about the difference I can make.

Mary Muryn, creator of Spa Magic Being green means living by the questions: Are my actions harmful to the environment? Do the products I use support the environment or harm it? To be green is to be aware that we as individuals can and do make a big difference every day in our world. Consumers are a powerful group. Our choices can change the world.

Kayla Fioravanti, formulator and creator of von Natur Being a green company involves decisions on every level of your organization. Not only does your product need to be environmentally conscious, but all of your business practices—paper, lighting, recycling, energy, waste, ingredients, and more—must put the welfare of the environment above profit.

Ron Krassin, Zotos International president and CEO We believe that as manufacturers, we have an urgent responsibility to reduce our usage of precious resources and our impact on the planet. We are committed to sustainability and to reducing our carbon footprint; using packaging made of up to 70% post-consumer recycled materials and increasing transportation efficiencies to reduce oil consumption (more than 40,000 gallons!) are two critical contributors to this goal.

Laurent D., creator of Privé and Concept Vert To me, being green involves the small steps it takes to do your part to help the planet. I look to be a leader for other stylists in this industry by practicing what I preach. Launching an eco-friendly line has been a challenging task, but if my clientele reciprocates by bringing back the Concept Vert bottles to be refilled and doing their part as well, I will look at the launch as a success.

Why is going organic/green/natural important for the beauty sector and beyond?

Shel Pink, founder and vice president of SpaRitual We need to do business responsibly by minimizing negative environmental impacts, and by thinking consciously, on a global level, in terms of social action. We can’t live inside a vacuum; we’re all connected. Our actions have far-reaching effects on a local and global level.

Ulrike Jacob, CEO of Lavera We all know the benefits of eating organic foods: fewer toxins, no genetically modified ingredients and more flavor. Choosing organic beauty products brings the same advantages; they work in harmony with the body’s natural functions to promote health and radiance. In addition to the benefits they reap for our personal health, organic farming methods also have tremendous advantages for the environment. Through using natural fertilizers, they greatly reduce the amount of toxic chemicals, such as synthetic pesticides and herbicides, released into the environment, and the volume of those chemicals that appear in the water supply. The less aggressive, intensive farming practices of organic agriculture also help safeguard the quality of natural resources.

Guita Dovas, CEO of OloffBeauty, makers of Aéto Because beauty products affect us all in one way or another, it’s time for our industry to invest more in research and fully support the use of sustainable ingredients for a healthier lifestyle. Beyond beauty, manufacturers in every field must lead the way in formulating green products to allow customers to make the right choice at prices that are affordable. Going green is everybody’s responsibility—not just the beauty industry’s. We have to pay increased attention to the way we treat our habitat in order to ensure the survival of mankind.

Grund A green world begins with creating the awareness of how an individual stylist and salon can make a difference. Little things don’t mean a lot—they mean everything! These little things add up to something big! Wash your towels in cold water, use organic cleaning supplies, keep your electric appliances turned off when not in use—the list goes on.

Muryn The skin is the largest organ in the body; it can absorb up to 60% of what you put on it. Any toxic chemicals found in skincare products can end up in the bloodstream. The sooner that everyone realizes what detrimental effects the manufacture and consumption of chemicals is having on our environment, the higher level of health and well-being people will experience.

Bewley Part of the responsibility of product manufacturers is to make sure products not only perform well, but that they do not cause harm in the process. Choosing a product manufactured by a company that is truly committed to its publicly stated philosophy of creating products that are healthy and kind to people and our planet is one way that consumers can help protect themselves and the environment.

Gram The beauty industry should step up as a leader in adopting green practices. Nearly everyone uses beauty products, which gives us an opportunity to lead by example through the implementation of green practice standards.

Krassin Manufacturers consume 30% of the nation’s total energy and, to us, that’s unacceptable. That’s why we’re committed to energy and water conservation (our factory in Geneva, New York, has reduced its energy usage by 70% and its water usage by 5% per unit), among other broad-based eco-initiatives. We realize that beauty begins in the hands of hairdressers, but on a global scale, we’re all responsible for the beauty and sustainability of the planet.

Dr. Linda Miles, L. Ac., D.O.M., vice president of derma e Natural Bodycare The power of nature is amazing, and we often can’t re-create that complexity and balance by using only synthetic ingredients in beauty care products. Nature provides us with healing agents that are superior in performance when compared to chemical alternatives. Natural ingredients contain an incredible array of active compounds plus various other phytochemicals that contribute to the healing power of the herb and help negate side effects. These powerful ingredients stimulate the body’s own amazing power to restore balance and produce healthy, beautiful skin.

Patrick Alès, founder of Phyto When I started working as a hairstylist, I realized that the staff who shampooed our clients had damaged hands from applying products all day long. That is what struck me the most; haircare products shouldn’t hurt people! I felt I had to create products that would be as close to nature as possible, while considering human reactions and allergies. At Phyto, we respect the hands of the professional. For me, it is of utmost importance. If you have respect for the hands, then you have respect for nature and for every human being.

Laurent D. If one industry can help in the smallest way, then we’re on the right path to a better environment. Unfortunately, the beauty/hair industry is one of the worst industries for the environment. With other industries, people can cut back on or stop altogether certain aspects that are harmful to the environment. But people won’t stop bleaching or dying hair, or using electric hairstyling tools.

How do you see the green movement evolving in salons/spas?

Pink We’re moving in a positive direction as more and more salons are making conscious decisions about using eco-products for their services and implementing environmental programs and initiatives. Resources like Green Spa Network (greenspanetwork.org), editorial coverage like this article, green educational classes at tradeshows, passion, patience, and determination all help the movement.

Ken Simpson, founder, CEO and president of Skin 2 Skin As more people become aware of how much better going green is for their health and lives, you’ll see more of a demand for green products. Manufacturers and salon owners have the biggest impact; it’s up to both parties to be willing to spend the money and time to change.
Philip Pelusi, creator of Tela Beauty Organics
Ideas take a bit of time to catch on. Salon owners have invested heavily up until now on product lines that aren’t organic. But organic products have to prove that they perform better than their synthetic counterparts—first to the salon owners and decision makers, and then to the clients. Also, having clearer regulations and guidelines, or having the USDA define precisely what is organic—and what isn’t—helps in defogging the issue. [Editor’s note: Currently, the FDA doesn’t define or regulate the term “organic” as it applies to beauty products, leaving the USDA’s Organic Standards in regard to agricultural products as the gold standard for personal care products.]

Laurent D. My dream for the green movement in the beauty industry is for salons to start offering Electric-Free Days, which would require salons nationwide to offer cuts and styling without the use of electricity. I would ideally like to launch my first Electric-Free Day in the next year. While this may seem like a daunting task to some salons, it is feasible. Imagine the impact this could have on the environment?

Bewley I believe that salons will continue to support and participate in the green movement, primarily because they realize that it has become important to their clients. Every resident of the planet understands today more than ever our important role in conservation. I also urge salons and consumers to educate themselves through credible resources and to avoid Internet myths and gossip regarding harmful ingredients.

If you could lend one tip to our readers to “green” their lifestyle, what would it be?

Miles Every individual should think about what he or she does on a daily basis and minimize. How much garbage do you accumulate and throw away? How much energy and water is really needed and wasted? It’s amazing how much one person can make a difference in helping save the environment by recycling or turning off the lights or water faucet when they’re not needed. 

Laurent D. The one tip I can offer is to do your part no matter how big or how small! Whether it’s unplugging your cell phone charger after your cell is charged, unplugging your coffeemaker, or switching to eco-friendly products, the little things we do now will make a difference in the long run.

Pelusi Do your research. Visit the USDA website usda.gov and learn about how an organic product is rated. Understand that not all organic products are equal. Beware of the hype. I like to say, “Compost is organic, but would you wear it on you hair or massage it into your skin?” As Kermit the Frog says, “It’s not easy being green”—but it’s worth it!

Pink Use eco-friendly products for your services, create a social action committee to engage your employees, educate your clients on the green initiatives you have implemented, and celebrate Earth Day.

Bewley I encourage people to buy North American-made products. The transit impact on the environment of foreign-made products can be reduced as well as help the homeland economy.

Gram Salons can influence their customers to start thinking green when it comes to their beauty and wellness regimen by encouraging them to also support eco-conscious salons and products that are moving their businesses in the green direction.

Dovas We urge salons to start taking steps—big or small—in order to fully engage themselves. No individual can solve all of the issues that the green movement is looking to address. My advice: First take care of your immediate environment; then educate yourself about what green products are available, learn about their benefits and pass this knowledge on to your clients.

Grund Awareness is the key to moving the green movement along faster. I suggest all salons have a media wall that features the salons’ community involvement and green actions as well as salon education and promotions. People want to make a difference—we just need to give them the ideas on how they can make a difference. Also, continually ask yourself, “Are my actions leaving the world a better place?”

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