Salon Allure Makes Going Green Look Easy

Small Changes Can Have a Big Impact

Amy Brandt is making a difference in her corner of the world. As the owner of Salon Allure in Walkersville, Amy has worked to make environmentally friendly practices routine in her salon. Having been in the industry for twenty years, Amy knew that it wasn't exactly healthy working with and breathing in chemicals. "I found that in this industry, most of what we use is chemically based. Cosmetology is the second-highest industry for respiratory-related diseases.  Most hairsprays are made of plastic, and we are breathing it and other harmful chemicals for as many as twelve hours a day," Amy says. She wanted a healthier environment for not only her guests but also for her team.  

Amy was already using an eco-friendly line of hair care in her shop, as well as a name brand. However, at a continuing education class, she discovered Surface brand hair care and brought back samples to try. The products and the company were aligned with Amy's vision of health, and as a result, for the past five years, Salon Allure has been using Surface products exclusively. Amy believes in the company and the products and is one of the educators on the artistic team traveling nationally. Amy says, "The products are organic and vegan. Surface is naturally based, so you're not going to have waxes or parabens, and that makes it a lot lighter weight in the hair. Bassu is a healing oil that is the heartbeat of Surface. It is in each of the products, including color, so that everything you are using is helping your hair to heal from the inside out."

The next step in the eco journey seemed very natural to Amy. She explains, "I wanted to have a nice chemically clean space, and once I found Surface, we have been evolving from there. After bringing in these clean products, I began to look for other green or clean opportunities. When a friend from Surface shared what she was doing with a program called the Green Circle, I looked into it thought this was a great fit for the direction we are going. We are one of eleven Green Circle Salons in Maryland."

Haircare is a 90-billion-dollar industry, and it's a big problem when it comes to waste. Amy says, "We create over 877 pounds of waste per minute as an industry. That's pretty astounding, but when you think about the unused product, the foil, the cotton, the latex-free gloves, it all adds up." And there's more harm to the environment because in a traditional salon the unused products, like color, will be put into the drain to flow out into the water system. Green Circle exists to assist salons in their efforts to be environmentally friendly. The Green Circle says that they collect, recycle and repurpose a salon's hair clippings, used foils, color-tubes, excess hair color, papers and plastics, glass, and waste and divert them from landfills and waterways. Amy says, "The Green Circle does all the work. We sort the waste, and Green Circle recycles it." The actual re-use of the waste was a surprise, but Amy says, "Because it naturally absorbs oil, the hair is used in making the long tubes to sop up oil spills, and it's also used for beds for displaced dogs in shelters. Excess hair color goes to a processing center and is turned into renewable energy."

Amy says she and her team of seven stylists are still looking for ways to be even more eco-friendly. "There are a few other ways we plan to make the salon more eco-friendly. We are converting the hoses on the sinks to an Eco Head. We'll look to use biodegradable k-cups, and we'd like to install a dishwasher so we can wash reusable cups."

"My hope is that we, at Salon Allure, may inspire another salon to do the same in making changes, and that it would snowball from there inspiring hundreds and thousands of other locations," says Amy. We can do this one salon at a time.

 "We create over 877 pounds of waste per minute as an industry."

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