Fresh Hair, a salon at 62 South St., in April was named one of the winners of Mayor Thomas Menino’s annual Green Business Awards.
Fresh Hair Salon calls itself a “green salon.” Conventional hair, nail and skin care products can contain harmful chemicals. Fresh Hair’s policy is to use only products that come from natural and organic sources, produced by companies that care about the environment. Fresh Hair uses and sells products made by Aveda, Bioelements Pure, Paul Mitchell and Deva Curl. Hair color, for example, can contain a lot of ammonia, perhaps as much as a third of the volume; Paul Mitchell’s products, used at Fresh Hair, contain a very low amount, about 2-3 percent. The hair-smoothing keratin product used at Fresh Hair does not contain formaldehyde, unlike some others. By using these products, the salon avoids hurting the staff, customers and the environment.
A salon generates a lot of laundry. At Fresh Hair, laundry is washed on the premises, and a green laundry detergent, Shaklee, is used.
Various steps have been taken to reduce energy consumption.
Most of the laundry is washed in cold water. Only skin-care laundry is washed in hot water. The ceiling over the salon is insulated. All lights have compact fluorescent bulbs. The water heating system has a “gray water” system to capture the heat of hot water that passes through the pipes, which is used to heat more water.
The salon has low-tech means to keep the interior cooler in hot weather: window shades, ceiling fans, and front and rear doors that can be opened for cross-ventilation. All of these are used to reduce solar load and make the salon comfortable without turning on the air conditioner.
The salon never automatically blow dries hair after styling, but first asks customers if they want a blow dry. Many will forgo a blow dry, and this saves electricity.
Fresh Hair was the first business in the Greater Boston area to install a solar hot water system. The system was installed in 2001. Salons use a lot of hot water. Rather than burning a fossil fuel to heat water, Fresh Hair’s solar system uses the sun and solar panels to heat its water. A gas heater is part of the system, and it kicks in if there is insufficient sunlight, but it seems this backup is rarely needed.
Fresh Hair Salon recycles everything possible. It accumulates a lot of cardboard boxes, and it recycles these and other paper with Save That Stuff, a recycling service. One line of products used in the salon, Aveda, packs its products in harmless, water-soluble peanuts.
Plastic, glass and other recyclables are recycled through the City of Boston recycling program. At the time of the Gulf Oil spill, Fresh Hair sent boxes of waste hair to the Gulf to be used to make oil booms.
From press materials.