Run an Eco-Friendly Beauty Salon: 10 Ways to Make Changes Fast

The beauty industry can’t ignore its environmental impact any longer. The shift towards seeking environmentally friendly products and services is not merely a passing trend but a response to the pressing global environmental challenges we face. As consumers grow more concerned about the environmental impact of the services they provide and the beauty products they use, demand for sustainable salons will continue to increase.

In recent years, there have been regular news reports and programmes about the impacts of climate change and the devastating effects of pollution on ecosystems. This heightened awareness is motivating consumers to take action through their purchasing decisions. They want to support salons that ensure their salon services are applying sustainable practices, including responsible sourcing and reduced carbon footprints.

“Eco-friendly” and “sustainable” have been buzzwords for over a decade, but making your beauty salon eco-friendly is not just the right thing to do; it is also an effective way to grow your client base.

Running an eco-friendly and sustainable beauty salon requires action in various areas of your operations. Here are 10 simple steps your beauty salon can take: 

  1. Use natural, organic and vegan hair and skincare products

Look for products that are biodegradable, cruelty-free, made from plant-based ingredients and that are free of harsh chemicals. Research organic, sustainable and vegan beauty brands thoroughly to ensure ingredients align with values. Look for third-party certifications like the Vegan Society certification.

That way, you can guarantee that the products you use do not contain any animal-derived ingredients and that no animal testing has taken place — this is a great element of your salon to share on social media and email marketing, too. Let people know that your values align with theirs!

  1. Reduce water use

Conduct an audit of all water fixtures — think taps, showers, toilets, etc. Here, you can identify opportunities to install low-flow aerators and showerheads — and the newer water-saving models use up to 50% less water. You could also look into touchless taps and soap dispensers that automatically turn on and off to prevent water waste; these motion-activated taps also promote hand hygiene, to boot!

Upgrading to dual flush or water-efficient toilets is also a great option — these use 1.6 gallons per flush instead of the 3-5 gallons.

Next to the eco-friendly toilets, you could also install hand dryers in bathrooms and kitchens to cut down on paper towel waste.

Fancy going even greener? Exploring greywater recycling systems to repurpose gently used water from sinks, showers, and washbasins that can be reused in toilets or irrigation is another water-saving option — it would be best to consult local codes on greywater practices for this. 

  1. Implement recycling and composting

Designate a recycling station area with clearly labelled bins for recyclables like paper, plastic, glass and aluminium. Provide a compost bin for hair clippings, food waste, cotton pads and other biodegradable items.

  1. Invest in reusable products

Check that all of the items you use are reusable wherever possible. Opt for washable capes, towels, sheets and applicators instead of disposable ones. For example, use refillable dispensers for shampoos, conditioners and cleaners and distribute individual spray bottles for stylists to use their own dilutions of conditioners, toners, water, etc. This will help to reduce single-use products. You might also consider using hot-towel cabinets or a laundering service for towels and other washable items.

  1. Go paperless

Your salon could consider upgrading to online appointment booking and email notifications — it makes things easier to organise as well as being a greener option. This can be extended to sending electronic receipts straight to their inbox and securely storing important files in cloud-based systems.

To further minimise your environmental footprint, see if you can use recycled paper for any essential printed materials or salon brochures.

  1. Use eco-friendly cleaning products

Zero waste is a fantastic goal for your salon — and swapping cleaning products that use harsh chemicals with more natural options are a great place to start! Start by picking one or two main cleaners or disinfectants to replace conventional options.

You can also choose microfiber cloths, towels, mops and dusters that can be washed and reused, which are much better for the environment than disposable paper products,

Another top tip is to use steam cleaners for sanitising and removing grime from tools, surfaces and linens. The power of steam naturally disinfects without chemicals — quick, easy and eco-friendly!

  1. Install energy-efficient lighting

Conduct an audit of current lighting and identify opportunities to switch bulbs and fixtures to more efficient models. Gradually phase out halogen and incandescent lighting, which are highly inefficient, and replace track lighting with LED track heads. Motion sensor lights, dimmable lights, and lights with automatic shut-off timers can also reduce energy use in spaces with irregular occupancy.

For artificial lighting, choose LED or CFL bulbs, which use at least 75% less energy and last longer than incandescent. For large overhead lighting, look into retrofits or upgrades to more efficient suspended luminaires with reflectors and T5/T8 fluorescent or LED tubes.

Finally, evaluate the salon’s natural lighting and options to maximise it through steps such as:

  • Installing skylights
  • Arranging workstations near windows
  • Using reflective surfaces and mirrors to brighten interior spaces.
  1. Reduce packaging waste

Try to avoid individually wrapped or single-use items (such as cleaning products), and use paper bags or invest in tote bags with your salon logo when possible. You can sell them and also provide them free to regular customers as a little thank-you gift or when they spend over a certain amount — happy customers as well as a happy environment!

  1. Train staff on sustainability practices

Hold regular sustainability training workshops to review environmental policies, such as recycling procedures, any new green products and to discuss any larger eco goals — make sure all staff understand these aims and expectations. You can also incorporate sustainability criteria into staff performance evaluations.

  1. Involve clients in sustainability practices

Communicate your eco efforts to clients and get them involved — this is great for your social media following. With this, you can offer incentives for clients who bring refillable products and reusable bags, for example. Highlight certifications and explain the environmental benefits of services, products or salon features.

Display environmental commitment prominently on your website, brochures and in your front window. Feature the products you use and sustainability initiatives in place, and seek client feedback on sustainability practices through online surveys or emails.

What’s the Payoff for Going Green?

Beyond helping the planet, sustainable salons often have a welcoming community feel. And salons that don’t keep up with the need to go green face the risk of becoming obsolete — consumers are looking to receive treatments and support from salons that use ethical products, aim for zero waste and demonstrate that they really care about their environmental impact.