How hairdressers are helping to save the world’s resources

By Dr Denise Baden on August 28th, 2019

Dr Denise Baden is Professor of Sustainable Business at the University of Southampton, and the brains behind the Sustainable Salon Certificate, an accolade that salons can gain by completing an online course. Dr Baden wanted to work with salons after realising that most could save an average £5000 a year by adopting less resource intensive practices and her sustainable hairdressing project won the ESRC £10k Outstanding impact in Business and Enterprise prize. As part of her research into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Denise has been investigating how hairdressers can be influential in encouraging their clients to save energy and water together with reducing the amount of detergents and other chemicals they use.

Did you know that a ten-minute shower, powered by an electric immersion heater, uses the same amount of energy as leaving your TV on for 20 hours? Running hot water is typically our most energy-intensive activity in the home and much of that hot water goes on washing hair.

If a client washes their hair daily with two shampoos and rinsed-out conditioner, leaving the water running for ten minutes, it all adds up to ten kilograms a week. Exchange that for two shampoos a week with leave-in conditioner, supplemented by dry shampoo as required and that footprint goes down to half a kilo – a difference of 2,000 per cent. With a quarter of UK carbon emissions being domestic, this is a significant saving.

Hairdressers have the potential to play an important role in combating climate change. As you chat to clients while styling their hair, you have an ideal opportunity to highlight practical ways that individuals could adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. For example, Denise is exploring the effectiveness of salons posting eco-tips on salon mirrors to spark client conversations. Any salons who would like to be part of the research can email Denise.

Sustainability consultant David Fell is enthusiastic: “When a politician says that you should do something about the environment, nobody pays attention, but when a hairdresser asks ‘… have you considered using less hot water,’ and tells you about the benefits of leave-in conditioner or dry shampoo, then that’s going to sink in.”

For the last seven years, Denise has been working with the industry organisations VTCT and Habia to embed sustainable practices across the hairdressing sector. Sustainable Salon certification has been created, more than 60 salons have registered and over 2000 individuals have gained the sustainable stylist certification.

These are some of Denise’s top Ecohair tips to share with clients:

  • Shampooing hair once rather than twice is better for the environment – and your hair
  • Tepid water is better than hot water to save energy and be kind to hair and skin
  • Leave-in conditioner saves another rinse, time, energy and money. It also gives extra body and weight to the hair and reduces colour fade
  • Dry shampoo makes hair easier to style and is a quick fix between shampoos. Try it once a week and see what you think

Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to tell us about your eco initiatives, we’d love to hear all about them!

Dr Denise Baden

Dr Denise Baden is a Green activist, author, and owner of Green Stories and Eco Hair and Beauty. She is a Professor of Sustainability at University of Southampton.

All articles by Dr Denise Baden

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