How Salons Are Making Positive Environmental Impacts

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Is it time for your next appointment at your waste-producing, high-energy-consuming, local hair salon? Maybe you should reconsider. As reported by Scientific America, “traditional hair dyes and many shampoos contain harmful synthetic chemicals that are routinely used on customers’ scalps—and then washed down the drain where they can accumulate in waterways, soils, and even our bloodstreams.” Not only are the ingredients in hair treatments and beauty products bad for our bodies, they are toxic to both the environment and the planet. Hair salons often use contaminants such as bleach, hair color, and other chemicals along with high energy usage and water consumption which over time becomes an unsustainable practice. The haircare services industry constitutes 86,000 establishments in the United States alone (as of 2014), making it a hazardous business to sustain.

Luckily, salons such as Sentrel Natural Beauty is one of the 1,500 hair salons that have partnered with Green Circle Salons in order to reduce their footprint. With the help of Green Circle Salons, they have been equipped with the tools to implement sustainable energy practices and repurpose waste.

Now, Sentrel’s owners and stylists, Sarah Bensley and James Bryant, have switched over to eco-friendly salon practices such as recycling metal color tubes, excess color, and hair trimmings. But they didn’t stop there—and this is the important part—they have committed to only using products that share their mission in helping the environment and providing healthier choices for their clients. Sarah encourages, “It’s especially important to those with sensitive skin and allergies, but natural products with simple formulas and safe ingredients benefit everyone. Many people use several products a day, which can mean hundreds of different ingredients. Those accumulate and can cause significant irritation to the skin as well as long-term effects with prolonged use.”

This is vital in understanding that it is not the sole responsibility of a hair salon to be making these informed choices, but also ours, as consumers, to know what is in the products that we buy and the impact they have. To make things a little easier, Sarah shared that microbeads and coal tar are two of the most common dangerous ingredients that are found in consumer products.

“Microbeads are tiny bits of plastic that aren’t biodegradable and end up in our lakes, rivers, and ocean. They go by a bunch of names. On a label look for: microbeads, micro abrasives, Polypropylene, Polyethylene. Coal Tar is a byproduct of coal processing and a known carcinogen, used in hair dye and dandruff shampoos.”

At Sentrel, Sarah and James don’t carry products that contain coal by-product ingredients like coal tar, petroleum jelly, or mineral oil because coal is a non-renewable resource. Instead, ingredients derived from plants like aloe vera can prove to contain amazing healing qualities!

As far as healing and renewal go, Sarah shared her own experience on how changing to a more natural product can succeed your expectations and change what you buy in the future. When she made the switch to a natural deodorant, she noted that her body went through an adjustment period, slowly weaning off the intense chemicals of commercials deodorants. The average deodorant contains 7 harmful ingredients, including parabens which have been shown to have been linked to Breast Cancer. Once Sarah’s body detoxed from her old deodorant, she never looked back. Now, Sarah uses the natural deodorant by Meow Meow Tweet that has proved to work better than any other deodorant she had used in the past!

Sentrel has an online shop with the natural beauty brands they love most, where you can buy healthy and safe products without the guilt of harming the environment. One of Sarah’s favorite products is the Olive + M Body Oil, “It smells divine and is incredibly moisturizing without being greasy.” She also recommends The Eleve Lip LUV and Lip AMPS, “They have a patented formula that hydrates and plumps lips without causing damage to the tissue.”

Whether you are making an appointment or buying beauty products, do some research first. Urge local salons to partner with Green Circle Salons, like Sentrel, and to check the labels on the back of the products. You will be saving yourself from harmful chemicals and reducing the impact we all contribute to the environment. As Sarah puts it, “Our planet is incredibly beautiful and our only home in the universe. It’s important to preserve our habitat for future generations the best we can.”

Sentrel will be launching a Natural Blowout Bar in the coming months. Visit and join their mailing list or follow us on Instagram @SentrelNaturalBeauty to stay in the know!