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Sustainable Hairdressing
Lecture outline
Section 1: Key Sustainability Concepts
Section 2: Reducing Water and Energy Consumption
Section 3: Eco Products
Section 4: The Ripple Effect - Advising Clients
Section 5: Reducing Water Pollution
Section 6: Palm Oil and Deforestation
Section 7: Reducing Waste
Section 1
Key sustainability concepts
One Planet Living
• Globally; humanity is currently consuming 50% more natural resources than the Earth's
ecosystems can replenish (WWF).
• United Kingdom; if everyone in the world were to consume natural resources and
generate CO2 at the rate we do in the UK, we'd need three planets to support us.
• We only have one planet and need to stop over consuming our planets resources by
making sustainable changes in our homes and places of work.
• Concept of One Planet Living (2:46mins)
Climate change and Global warming
When CO2 is released into the atmosphere, it acts as a
greenhouse gas i.e. it causes heat to remain trapped
within the atmosphere, rather than escaping back to
space. This causes global warming.
Science tells us that the increasing century is mostly
man-made and that temperatures are rising now faster
than ever
Video clip: Basic concept of sustainability and climate
change (1 min)
Discussion points:
• How will climate change affect us?
• What are the implications for hairdressing?
This is likely to result in water shortages and developing countries in the
South becoming deserts.
This affects us all, as we depend on the South for crops such as coffee,
chocolate, sugar, fruit etc.
Sea levels and coastal areas will become uninhabitable.
Mass immigration.
Pressure on energy and water intensive businesses
That was the bad news…
• The good news is that hairdressers have more power than
any other group of people to make a difference and help us
overcome these challenges…
• AND have great hair!
What is a Carbon Footprint?
A carbon footprint is defined as:
• The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to support human activities,
usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
• For example:
The carbon footprint of using 1 litre of petrol is 2.3kg
Using half a tank of petrol = 57.5kg
The weekly carbon footprint of someone who shampoos their hair every day with
2 shampoos and rinsed out conditioner with hot water running for 10 mins in total
is 9kg.
The weekly carbon footprint of someone who shampoos their hair twice a week
with 1 shampoo and leave-in conditioner with hot water running for 4 mins in
total, plus uses dry shampoo once a week is 1kg.
Activity time
Work out the carbon footprint of your hairroutine here:
(this will open in a different page press esc to see)
Compare notes with each other – how much did you save?
Notice how much difference it makes cutting hot water running time
down compared to other changes
Section 2 - Reducing Water
and Energy Consumption
Salon activities that depend on energy
The hot water heated to shampoo hair
Washing towels
Boiling the kettle
Blow drying the hair
Straightening, curling, setting the hair
Climazones and hooded dryers
Salon activities that depend on water
• Shampooing the clients hair for a cut and blow dry
• Rinsing off a clients colour
• Rinsing a perm
• Washing towels
• Washing up
• Filling the kettle for hot drinks
• Mopping the salon
Discussion Point:
Energy Use: What can you do?
• How best can you reduce your energy consumption?
• In your home?
• In the hair salon?
• What changes in behavior/practice can you think of?
Behaviour change to reduce
energy/water consumption?
• Changes with the greatest impact are those that reduce use of water
• Waiting for a full load before you put the washing machine on
• Filling the kettle for the right amount of cups
• Switching taps off
• Water temperature: use tepid water not hot.
• And for your clients:
shampoo once not twice,
use leave in conditioner,
dry shampoo etc.
How hair is washed
Water should be tepid NOT hot
• Most of us wash our hair in water that is too hot.
Washing hair in tepid water rather than hot water is better for the follicles.
Overly hot water stimulates the sebaceous glands and encourages oil
production which can lead to oily hair.
Washing in tepid water also saves energy and money.
Less product
• Most of us use too much shampoo - most shampoos contain harsh chemicals
such as sodium lauryl sulphate which strip the oil from the hair (made worse if
water is too hot).
Most of us shampoo hair more often than we need to.
Behavioural change:
Reducing energy consumption
• Switching lights off
• Switching appliances off
• Switching taps off
• Using products to help speed up blow drying time where
• Using the correct blow drying techniques to provide a quality, yet
efficient service
Discussion Point?
• What are the benefits of more sustainable practices and
• To the salon?
• To the client?
• To the client’s hair?
• To the planet?
Benefits of Sustainable Behaviour
• No need for large investment
• Massive cost savings: estimated that
each 1% investment in behaviour
changes = 10% savings in costs.
• Using less water, heat and chemicals is
also good for hair condition.
• Saves resources and conserves fossil
• Reduces carbon emissions and
benefits climate change
• Reduces air and water pollution
Section 3
Eco products
Discussion Point:
• What Green products/technologies can you think of?
There are three ways in which a product can be eco-friendly:
1. Appliances/ products/technologies that save energy
2. The way in which it is used results in less water/energy being used
e.g. dry shampoo, leave-in conditioner, cleansing conditioner.
3. The brand/company is known for its green credentials e.g.
• Recyclable/less packaging
• have less toxic ingredients, avoid ingredients that damage the
environment e.g. uses sustainable palm oil, ammonia free, PPD
Low flow showers with a wattage of about 8,500 watts,
Air is bubbled in with the water, reducing the amount of water used.
‘Aerating’ heads mix oxygen with water to create a softer, bubbly shower.
• Shower aerators, which reduce water consumption by about 50%.
An affordable way to reduce your water consumption.
With some brands you can save up to £300 a year.
• Enhances clients experience by massage motion
• Purifies water which results in a cleaner smoother blow dry
Ecoheads 56% less water
"ECOHEADS have changed the salon backwash experience forever, saving us water and energy but managing to double the pressure"
Nicola Smyth | Award Winning Hair UK
More on energy saving products…
Professional Hair Spa
Thermal cap that use body heat not electricity
‘better for the hairdresser, better for the client and
better for the planet.’
Can style and even perm hair with Curlformers.
Easy, no heat way to curl hair.
No hair dryers no curlers, no straighteners.
• Gamma Piu IES Dryer
Uses less energy but performs like a 2500 watt
dryer with power and heat but uses up to 44% less
• Single use towels such as EasyDry or Enki
Made using eco-friendly processes, they are
sustainable. Used by Ken Picton, Karine Jackson,
Leo Bancroft, Anne Veck and Hooker & Young.
• Saves water
• Biodegradable, which reduces pressure on
• Sourced from sustainable forests
• Hygienic
• Disposable towels is 25% cheaper than
laundering cotton towels.
Anne Veck
Owner of eco salon in Oxford
BlueGen Ceramic Fuel Technology
Single use towels
LED lighting
FSC accredited stationary
Ammonia free hair colour
Ethically sourced hair extensions
Anne Veck Eco Salon 2:39 video clip showing how salon can be
designed to prevent waste, water pollution and save energy and
Virtual Salon
Here is an example from Fife College as to what a college
salon could be.
Eco-products that use less resources
Dry shampoo
Leave-in conditioner
Cleansing conditioner; shampoo & conditioner in one
Eco colour; ammonia free, organic, PPD free
Curlers that don’t require heat e.g. curl-formers
Video (5:30) some examples of eco-products (cleansing conditioner,
hair-oils, salt spray, dry shampoo, leave-in conditioner)
Benefits of Dry Shampoo
• Dry shampoo saves typically 8 minutes running hot water + 5 minutes blow drying
• Saves approx. 62 litres of water per shampoo
• Saves 1.04 kg CO₂e (carbon emissions)
• Saves 2.25 kWh energy .
• Good for hair as it doesn’t strip natural oils from scalp, or make brittle through blow
• Makes hair easier to style, can give volume. Coloured versions can help to cover grey roots
• Cost savings: using dry shampoo once a week over a year saves approx. £80 per
• Time saving: Takes less than a minute. How long does your normal wash and dry take?
• Convenience: can do anywhere, good when no access to water e.g. festivals, camping.
• Reduces colour-fade due to less rinsing and so has environmental, time, cost and health
and safety benefits.
Carbon Footprint of Shampoo
• Roughly 93% of the carbon footprint of shampoo, conditioner and other hair
products is associated with heating water in the “use phase”,
• The remaining 7% is mostly packaging.
• Therefore you are
decreasing your carbon
footprint by reducing
your product
consumption, as well as
your hot water
Section 4
The Ripple Effect: advising
The Ripple Effect in the
Hair and Beauty Industry
Discussion Point?
• What hair-care practices can you recommend to your
clients that will save energy and water (and also time and
Good home-care practices
Shampooing once instead of twice
Shampooing less often
Encouraging the use of dry shampoo
Use leave-in conditioner
Use products such as cleansing conditioner/2in1 products
Reducing/eliminating the volume of conditioner used per wash
Washing in tepid water – not hot water
Leaving hair to dry naturally as much as possible
Reducing the use of straighteners, curling tongs and other heated appliances and
using alternatives such as heat-free curlers
Role Play Activity/Discussion
• In pairs role play/discuss how you can integrate such
advice into typical conversations with clients.
• For example, link into particular hair-care issues they may
have, or discussions about time, money, holidays etc.
Advice to clients
• The biggest impact you have as hairdressers is the advice you give to
your clients. Watch these clips to get some ideas on how you can
integrate advice into the service you provide:
10 mini clips of < minute each showing how you can advise clients
of products/practices that are good for their hair, but also better for
the environment (10 mins).
Cost Saving Activity
Work out how much could a salon save a year by reducing rinsing time by 3
minutes per client by having one less rinse cycle per client?
May do this by shampooing once rather than twice, using leave in conditioner
rather than rinse out conditioner, using cleansing conditioner rather than
shampoo + condition
Cost of running hot water - assume 4p per minute
Removing one rinse cycle would save 3 minutes per customer
Assume 20 customers a day = £? a year
• High resource client: shampoos their hair every day, and with the following
pattern – shampoo once, rinse, shampoo twice, rinse, condition, rinse, blow
dry, straighten
Water use = 14,222 litres; energy use = 1252kWh, carbon footprint = 579kg
• Lower resource client: uses dry shampoo once a week, shampoos hair
twice a week, and shampoos just once, uses leave-conditioner, lets hair dry to
80% dry before using hairdryer.
Water use = 613 litres; energy use = 55 kWh, carbon footprint = 25.4kg CO₂e
Imagine if just 10% of clients changed their habits for their lifetime, as a result
of your advice, and then passes advice onto to their kids.
Section 5
Reducing Water Pollution
Water Pollution
• Waste water from hair washing is classed as “grey-water”, and is transported by sewer
systems to a treatment facility. It is vital therefore that waste water is transported safely
and treated. If these toxic chemicals were released into soil or water, they could cause
great ecological damage.
• More than 5,000 different chemicals are found in hair dye products, some of which are
reported to be carcinogen, causing cancer in animals (Bolt & Golka, 2007, de Sanjose et
al., 2006).
Discussion Point?
• What can be done to reduce water pollution by hair
What Can be Done to
Reduce Water Pollution?
Opt for Organic and Ultra
Low Ammonia Options
Reduce colour waste
When mixing colour it can be easy to
overestimate the colour needed for
the service or clients hair. This
wasted colour is then washed
unnecessarily down the drain causing
water pollution. Mixing colour
responsibly can reduce ecological
damage and save the salon money.
Alternative hair colour contains fewer toxic
chemicals which ultimately gets washed
down the drain and enters the water
system. This change not only benefits the
environment, but improves the wellbeing of
stylists and clients as their exposure to toxic
chemicals is minimised.
OR: Use chalk-based temporary hair colour:
good fun and fewer chemicals video clip
Click here
Section 6
Palm Oil and deforestation
Palm Oil
Palm oil is a vegetable oil and is found in many household products, including
shampoo, but unsustainable palm oil causes deforestation (rainforests are being
destroyed at a rate of 300 football fields every hour) is causing significant
environmental problems.
Greenpeace - 2:27 - link between palm oil,
forest destruction and products.
Habitat Loss
The loss of forest has led to many
animals losing their homes. This has
pushed many species to the brink of
extinction, at risk are; elephants,
rhinos, tigers and orang-utans.
If orang-utans wander into nearby
villages they are seen as pests and
are captured. The mother is often
killed and the baby is sold on a as
What can be done in the
hair and beauty industry
• Choose a shampoo brand that is RSPO certified by checking the ingredients list,
if it contains vegetable oil or fat look for indication whether it comes from
sustainable sources.
• Some global buyers such as Unilever are committed to buying 100% sustainable
palm oil, but others are lagging.
• If you can’t be sure that the product contains sustainable palm oil, opt for a
palm oil free product
• Educate clients about your product choice and why it is important
• Don't overuse products, use the recommended amount to reduce demand and
preserve resources
Section 7
Reducing waste
The Waste Hierarchy
The waste hierarchy aims to minimise waste
Reducing Waste; Recycling
How? Set up recycling bins in convenient places in the salon, label the
recycling bins with a list a common salon waste items that can be
disposed of, approach the task as a team
Why? Reduces pressure on landfill and saves resources
• How else can you apply the waste hierarchy to hair
• What waste can be prevented completely?
• What can be reduced?
• What can be recycled
• What is left over that is disposed of?
Additional activities
(can be done as prep or stand alone activities)
• 5-10 minute survey raises awareness of sustainable hairdressing as
well as providing an opportunity for feedback:
• Do our carbon footprint quiz online (5-15 mins)
• This video can be used as an alternative introduction to the link between
sustainability and hairdressing and covers most of what is covered in this
• There are breaks for discussion and feedback at 3:36 and 10.17.