10 Eco-Friendly Practices for Salon Studios

Eco-Friendly Practices

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The North American beauty industry is a strong and thriving market of passionate individuals and incredibly talented professionals. With solo salon artists like yourself commanding a large part of the market, the impact you can make on the industry is significant.

An effective way to impact the industry for the better is to make your salon services planet-friendly.

According to the 2018 data on the subject, salons across the US produce an average of 210 tons of waste every day. This includes hair clippings, aluminum foils, chemical waste, plastic bottles, and more. With nearly 60% of Americans receiving professional salon care multiple times a year, the impact of our salons and services on mother earth is becoming huge.

To drastically reduce this impact, incorporating eco-friendly practices in your salon will be critical.

Here are 10 ways you can go about it.

Top Eco-Friendly Practices For A Planet-Friendly Salon

As a solo salon artist, the big ticket items in the sustainability landscape might be out of your reach — things like modern air filtration systems that use recycled air or installing water-efficient shampoo bowls that use less water.

Even so, there are smaller steps you can take to reduce the carbon footprint of your individual salon studio.

1. Rethink Your Lighting

Lighting is a crucial part of the entire salon experience. Ineffective lighting not only dilutes the client experience but makes your job difficult too. As an artist, you want your lights to be bright and true enough to do your best work and flattering enough to highlight your client’s hair and skin.

Rethink Your Lighting
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Regular LED light bulbs aren’t going to cut it. Not only do many of them produce heat, but they also radiate unflattering glares that are difficult to work under.

The answer is investing in LED lights that are purpose-made for salons. A bit expensive, sure, but the benefits outweigh the cost. These purpose-built salon LED lights are energy-efficient, reduce electricity bills, and come in different shapes and sizes. Some are designed to be installed under shampoo bowls, some over the rim of the mirrors, and others to be used in spaces where you provide cut and color services.

These color-perfect lights ensure that your work is accurately visible whether inside or outside of the salon.

2. Watch Your Water Usage

Salons often overrun hot water. During shampooing, mostly, it’s common for artists to use a lot of water to give their clients a clean and nourished scalp, ready for cut or color.

Watch Your Water Usage
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To cut back on your water usage, invest in smart appliances that make efficient use of water. Eco-friendly shower heads, such as Ecoheads, are designed to use less water with more pressure, soften the hard water, and remove rust and other dust particles from the water to protect your client’s hair.

These smart shower heads are made with recycled plastic, so a further reduction in your carbon footprint can be achieved with less work.

3. Control Your Climate

Use natural light as much as you can during your work. It not only helps you see your work in precise detail but reduces your energy consumption, too.

Control Your Climate
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To control your reliance on your air conditioning system in the salon, take advantage of decor choices such as blinds or drapes on the windows, a ceiling or corner fan, and a programmable thermostat to be more efficient, energy-wise.

4. Add Potted Plants

The air inside the small salon space can get stuffy. While the AC unit can take care of that, it’s usually the expensive option. To clean and filter the air in a more economical way, that also looks pleasing to the eye, have loads of indoor plants around your salon.

Add Potted Plants
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Snake plant is famous for removing toxins from the air. Dracaena also has incredible air-purifying qualities and also lasts a long time. Peace Lily, Aloe Vera, and English Ivy are some other indoor plants that remove various kinds of pathogens and toxins from the air including mold, ammonia, formaldehyde, and benzene.

Before you buy the plants, though, do your homework and learn how best to care for each of the plants. Some of them require direct sunlight while others prefer more shaded areas. Jumping into the process blindly may end up in some dead plants, and that’s not the best way to start a planet-loving salon.

5. Upgrade Your Welcome Drink & Other Things

This sustainability tip not only heals the planet but also portrays a classy image of your salon to the clients. By offering guests in your salon their welcome beverage in glass and china — instead of cheap paper cups — you elevate their experience and do your bit for the planet.

Welcome Drink
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Additionally, using soft microfibre towels as washcloths in place of electric dryers or paper towels also puts less strain on natural resources and allows you to establish a consistent culture of consciousness in your salon.

Nail techs can opt for silver nail files when going green, and reduce their reliance on paper. The silver files can be cleaned and repurposed whereas the paper ones will end up in the trash after every use.

6. Go Paper-Free

The time has passed for lugging around large scheduling diaries and other things that help you keep running your salon operations more smoothly.

In 2023, if you want to be on top of your game, digital scheduling apps are the answer. They diminish the use of paper in your salon management and offer you a heightened level of control to serve your clients the best.

Go Paper Free
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As a booking management system, they let you book slots more efficiently, and keep track of important notes that help you provide safe and tailored services to your clients. You can also manage inventory through these tools, record, and control sales, and even manage your staff.

7. Avoid Using Aluminum Foils

Aluminum foils are the standard when it comes to hair color services. They are conducive materials that keep the hair safe while color is applied to them. The dye remains rich and true when used on hair sections with aluminum foils.

Aluminum Foils
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But these foils contribute the biggest share of salon waste to landfills. While aluminum can be recycled, its foils made for hair use cannot. For the best protection and service to the hair, the foils must contain some bit of primary aluminum in there, which renders the reuse of foils impossible.

But companies like Simply Organic have come up with creative sustainable solutions like Paper foils, made with ‘tree-free, upcycled construction waste’. These foils can be used again and again. Just wash or rinse them after each use, pat dry, and they are ready for another application.

8. Recycle Your E-Waste

A kind of waste that doesn’t get enough mentions during salon waste conversations is electronic waste. E-waste includes digital and electronic devices that are no longer in use and have been replaced with newer, more updated gadgets. These include computer systems, tablets, mobile phones, and such.

Recycle Your E-Waste
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If you have upgraded your salon’s digital systems and have the old ones just lying around, reach out to an e-waste recycling company to take care of the old tech. You can call them and schedule your e-waste to be picked up from your home or salon. Since e-wast is a stubborn stream of waste that ends up in landfills and water systems, taking care of it responsibly helps you gain huge points in your sustainability initiative.

9. Use Clean Products

This one may be more expensive to implement and will have a definitive impact on your services menu, but using and promoting clean products in your salon is the most natural way to build a green culture in your business.

Invest In Re-Use And Refills
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Do not use products that have been tested on animals. Avoid using products that come in plastic bottles and jars and instead, go for recyclable packagings such as glass and paper. If you can’t switch to non-plastics immediately, you can reduce your carbon footprint by buying in bulk and in larger bottles so the waste your produce is somewhat controlled.

10. Invest In Re-Use And Refills

This post is tied to the previous one but the reason we wanted it to mention separately is that so many cosmetics come in plastics that immediately switching to less harmful materials may not be a completely viable option for your immediate future.

Use Clean Products
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But options like reuse and refills exist that offer a wonderful alternative. L’Oréal is a famous brand that has been offering refillable shampoo and conditioner options for a while now. But more brands have entered the market in the last few years. Puracy is one such and Public Goods, another. But with Puracy, you get salon-standard shampoo and conditioner options that give the same silky-smooth feel that has got your clients hooked to you.


Creating a sustainable salon culture is the only way forward when you consider the impact of the beauty industry on the climate. Plus, with consumers becoming increasingly conscious about their consumption habits, businesses have a direct need to bring strong, replicable changes in their operations that use the planet’s resources more intentionally, and lessen the carbon impact of their products and services.

To implement such changes in your salon, we hope the practices shared in this article help you with some practical tips. To learn more about what you can do in your salon rental to make it a greener space for yourself and your clients, call us at 419-309-0009.

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