Green Queen Karine

September 05, 2019

We’ve enlisted passionate advocate for the environment KARINE JACKSON to kick off a series of columns starting in our sustainable special and continuing our Sustainable Salon initiative moving forward. Over the next few months she’ll be flying the flag for all things ethical in salons, covering what’s good for the environment (and your profits), and creating a blueprint for salons to go plastic-free…

Around 15 years ago, I started to champion organic colour in my Covent Garden salon. This came about when one of my clients had cancer and asked me to research what alternatives were out there that would be gentler for her while she went through her treatment. Honestly, I went out with a heavy heart expecting to find henna-based products that performed poorly (and there was plenty of that around!), but then I found Organic Colour Systems – founded by a hairdresser who’d started to experience an allergic reaction to hair products, they contained the lowest possible levels of PPD, no ammonia, resourcinol, and wherever possible, natural ingredients were used. And to my surprise, THEY WORKED!

I think a lot of us hairdressers are cynical about the natural and organic tags – I know I was – but now I can honestly say that offering healthy haircare has been the making of my business. Clients seek me out from searching for natural and organic haircare online, or from seeing me in magazines and newspapers talking about what we do. To my mind, if something works to the same professional standard and is better for you, why would you not choose the ethical option?

Today, natural, organic and vegan is starting to become the norm – a recent research from Mintel showed that vegan claims trebled in haircare between 2014-18 in the UK, rising from 6% of all launches in 2014 to a massive one in five (20%) in 2018. And you know why? BECAUSE THE CONSUMER WANTS IT! I can tell you first hand that whether they’re vegan or not, clients like to know that what they’re using isn’t harmful to the environment.

I don’t think anyone can disagree (with the exception of Trump of course) that global warming is an issue and that we must urgently amend our ways if we’re going to halt the damage we’re doing to our planet. One of the most distressing modern developments is plastic. Don’t get me wrong, plastic can be brilliant, it’s clever and we need it, but single use plastic could feasibly destroy our planet. David Attenborough has brought mass awareness to the public and we should be doing our bit to make sure we aren’t contributing to this disaster.

In September, I’ll be hosting an event at my salon to raise awareness of the issues small businesses face when trying to eliminate single use plastic. I’ll be joined by Lucy Siegle, renowned ethical journalist and author of Turning The Tide On Plastic, and together we’re working on a blueprint that I hope you’ll be able to implement in your own salon.

To start with, I’d really recommend you read or download Lucy’s book on Audible, it’s absolutely brilliant to get you thinking about what plastic you use and how it’s become so prevalent. In my next column, I’ll be talking about how to do a plastic audit.

These are some of the changes I’ve made to date:

Green Queen Karine 1

I hope as our series goes on you’ll see what a difference we can make – did you know that when Dr Denise Baden of Southampton Business School decided to do a study into Corporate Social Responsibility and how businesses can play a part in combating climate change she chose hairdressing because hair washing is such an energy intensive activity? Denise was thinking about how to reach consumers to educate them that if they wash their hair daily with two shampoos and rinse-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.

We hairdressers can chat to clients about practical ways that individuals could adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, but of course what we do in the salon is also huge in terms of energy use. And really, saving electric and water isn’t just good for the environment – the less we use, the less we pay!

Join me next month for your guide to conducting a plastic assessment in salon and tips on how to make the move towards being plastic free.

Resources: – Get your salon certified sustainable and don’t forget to promote it to your local press and clients.

Turning The Tide On Plastic by Lucy Siegle – Must read book to get you up to speed on all things plastic and recycling