Does organic hair color really exist? How do I find a salon or stylist that cares about my values and quest to stay healthy?
(5 Minute Read)
We’ve believed for years that we can only acquire the perfect color and style by suffering through noxious smells and chemical-laden products at the salon. I’m here to report that this is not only a false belief that we’ve had, but that organic salons are trending. Actually, they’ve been around for some time but just like all good things, you need to know how to look for them.
The name Jaide, by definition, means I will help in French (J’aide) and so I am taking advantage of this by asking Michele Nadeau, owner of Jaide Organic Hair Salon in Mpls and pioneer in the “green” salon industry, for her help in answering a few questions I have about organic hair color, green beauty trends, and what’s changing in the industry.
LW: You created the first “organic” salon in Mpls, can you tell us what inspired you to do this?
MN: I had deep desire to be less toxic in my personal life due to my husbands chronic health issues. This ultimately extended into the salon as I started to feel concern for the long term effects of chemicals on my stylists and clients. It was hard to separate my personal life from my professional life.
LW: Why did you feel it was important to create a “green” salon and what sets you apart from the traditional salon atmosphere?
MN: Eco, green, and organic salons are important for the health of the client but even more importantly, for the health of the stylist. You may not consider standing over ammonia for 20 years when you first start out, but if you think about the health ramifications when you’re a young stylist and choose less toxic options, it will have benefits later in life. This is especially important if having children is a consideration. Eating organic food is built of the same philosophy. It’s an investment in your health and your future self. Not saying that these choices will alleviate all of your future health issues, but it will certainly give you a strong foundation to head them off early.
LW: Are you seeing a health trend for salons in recent years? Are you noticing more owners transitioning over into cleaner, less toxic, options and why do you think this is?
MN: I’ve seen some traction in the last few years with green/eco/organic salons. As our communities are becoming more affected by health issues, the demand will continue to grow. The natural movement is somewhat commercially exploited but I believe the up and coming generation is much more educated and savvy about organics, biodynamics, and what they are putting on their bodies. It seems to be a high priority for them to consider the planet and self preservation when making their choices and salon owners are listening.
LW: Is there truly such a thing as organic hair color? Many companies market under this guise and I’ve found that it only causes more consumer confusion.
MN: There are color lines that include organic ingredients and others that use as little toxic fillers as possible, but ultimately, no, there really isn’t such a thing as an organic hair color. Again, we’re looking at commercial exploitation. A natural Henna would be the closest you could get but the results are incredibly unpredictable on the hair (we choose not to use Henna’s at the salon). Many of the issues with creating safer hair color comes from the actual color pigments themselves and the way they are extracted and manufactured. As client demand grows for healthier substitutes, especially with Millennials, I’m hopeful to see more options on the market soon.
LW: How do you feel the beauty industry, as a whole, is responding to the demands of the consumer wanting healthier alternatives for hair color, hair products, etc?
MN: Not fast enough in my opinion. In comparison to ALL the beauty options on the market currently, the truly organic and toxin-free ones are still a very small percentage. I do massive amounts of research and testing to find options for my salon, staff and clients, and it all boils down to one thing. Efficacy. These products may have really clean, organic ingredients but it’s all about performance for us and if it doesn’t live up to our standards, well, it doesn’t get our shelf space. This is our craft and livelihood and we are incredibly picky about what we offer.
LW: I was taught in beauty school, “Better Living Through Chemistry” and “Natural Doesn’t Work”. While the latter may have been true 10 years ago, chemists have figured out how to make plants perform—protect color, add shine, repair, etc. What improvements have you seen in the types of products and formulas you use and how do your clients feel about the results?
MN: In the last four years I’ve seen many more options become available. Unfortunately, many are not available in the US or difficult/expensive to get to the US.
LW: Yes, the European Union really sets the bar for cosmetic safety and is a leader in healthy hair care options. I’m discouraged the US hasn’t caught up to this yet.
MN: Never the less, I’m excited to see what options will be coming out next. Over the years, our clients have noticed improvements in their hair color performance—specifically grey coverage—and longevity of vibrancy and tone. This is an extremely important thing to consider when spending your hard-earned dollars! New clients are so excited to find us because often they are coming from a salon where their stylist is using a healthier hair color option but they are still surrounded by straightening treatments and ammoniated color (at Jaide, we use only ammonia-free color). Those that are sensitive can still have reactions—even though they are not receiving the chemical service—because they are in the same atmosphere. More than often though, it just doesn’t fit the lifestyle choices of the client anymore. At Jaide, we are especially conscientious of artificial fragrance, since there can be over 400 different chemicals included under just that term.
LW: Green is definitely the new black and it seems the “Indie” Green Beauty movement is bursting at the seams. How has this, in your opinion, changed the salon industry in the past few years? Better? Worse?
MN: I love it. I love the visibility and the response to it. Some beauty manufacturers like to put a tricky marketing spin on their products to give the illusion of organic and green, but again, folks are getting savvier and not buying into it. They are seeking authenticity and transparency—just like I am— and even though I’ve had difficulties “fitting in” to the industry, I feel the pendulum has finally shifted. There is still a long way to go but it’s more hopeful than ever!
LW: What advice would you give to a consumer interested in exploring healthier hair color? Where could they start?
MN: Start with your current stylist to see what they know of healthier options. If they are a booth renter (independent contractor) they have the freedom to explore alternatives to accommodate you where as commission-based stylists don’t typically have this freedom. Also, talk to the salon owner and mention your concerns, if it’s unimportant to them (or not feasible) you may want to seek out other options.
The internet is your best friend. It may take a little bit of patience, but check out the social media profiles in your area for green/eco/organic salons and Yelp is a good resource too. Neuma and Eminence have salon/spa finders on each of their websites and that’s a great place to start (We also carry both of these lines at Jaide.) Start small and replace items when they need replenishment as it’s easier on the wallet.
LW: Yes! I agree that the best way to find an organic/green/eco salon is to first research what products they are using and offering. Even though Eminence is a skin care line it shows the salon leans in that direction. Another great option is Intelligent Nutrients.
LW: Which hair color formulas would you recommend?
MN: I recommend you go to a professional! But, if you absolutely must use a box color go to Whole Foods or a co op, buy two colors very close to the same shade and mix them together. This will richen the pigment. Most co ops and Whole Foods brands are pretty clean but not always well performing, so please keep that in mind if your color fades in two weeks or you don’t get the results you expect. But depending on budget, availability and expectations, they can be a good first step.
Jaide Organic Hair Salon is located just a few blocks west of 35 W in So Mpls on the corner of Nicollet and 46th streets. There is plenty of free street parking.
They are also in need of a hairstylist and esthetician! Please contact them if you are interested in offering healthy services to your clientele.
Jaide Organic Hair Salon | 4651 Nicollet Ave S | Minneapolis, MN 55419 | 612.825.2696
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Living a toxin-free and green lifestyle is a major component to Living Well Through Chaos. We are highly vulnerable to chemicals in our beauty, hair and personal care products, and indoor/outdoor environments. This can have a decidedly negative affect on our bodies including cancers, respiratory, hormonal, and skin conditions. The good news is that we have more control over the unwanted affects than we think. While we can’t escape every toxin out there we can certainly support our bodies and our health by choosing chemical-free whenever possible. This is an aspect of Living Well! When we Live Well, chaos has less of an opportunity to affect us, and subsequently, those around us.