1. Be Environmentally Aware
As with any other type of business, there are sustainable steps that can be implemented to ensure you’re reducing your carbon footprint. According to Erica Nieuwenhuis, president and CEO of Bio Sculpture Canada, it can be easier than you think. “Converting to LED light sources, using programmable thermostats, VOC-free paints, formaldehyde-free furnishings, going paperless to keep client records, and emailing rather than printing receipts [are all great changes to make],” she says. “Ultimately, salons are businesses and we should all be taking the same steps to protect the environment.”
2. Product Knowledge
It can be difficult to be 100 per cent eco-friendly, especially when you want to ensure a safe yet high-performance result. However, Zarina Ahamed, owner of Joyride, a wellness-inspired nail salon and spa in Vancouver, says it’s about creating a balance. “We offer non-toxic, cruelty-free and vegan options, but we also offer several different brands of polish, including OPI. We’re also shifting towards Canadian brands, such as Loveon, which is from Alberta, and is a 13-free [non-toxic] gel polish.”A leader in creating products that keep the environment top of mind, Bio Sculpture also offers a range of eco-friendly polishes. “Our Ethos and Gemini ranges contain some natural ingredients, such as essential oils, plant extracts, and nut oils, which are beneficial to the health of the nail and surrounding skin,” says Nieuwenhuis. “The BioGel and Evo ranges are solvent-free, low-odour and do not require harsh acidic primers and bonders to adhere to the natural nail.”
3. Rethink Your Options
You may be so accustomed to your service routine that you may not realize there are more environmentally friendly alternatives available. “Salons can invest in quality stainless steel implements that will replace disposables and reduce their environmental impact,” adds Nieuwenhuis. At Joyride, Ahamed and her team use finger clips instead of foils to hold cotton balls in place when removing soak-off gel polish, which in turn, reduces waste.
4. Start a Recycling Program
Did you know that nail polish bottles are considered to be hazardous waste? “We have a program that encourages people—whether or not they are a client—to bring in their old polish bottles so we can dispose of them properly,” says Ahamed.Though opting for reusable tools in the salon may produce less waste, you can also encourage clients to reuse and recycle beyond the salon. “Disposable nail files are one-time use items, but could be gifted to the client for use at home, thereby extending its life beyond the salon,” suggests Nieuwenhuis. “Reducing the volume of consumables in the salon might be another option. For example, choose to use mini-files instead of full-size files, or invest in higher quality gel [brushes and tools] that will last 10 years rather than purchasing new, cheaper ones every few months.”