Tribeca ColorSalon's Creative Director Brandon Wagner is a man who cares about carcinogens, that is, keeping them out of his salon. "The salon industry is not exactly eco-friendly," he said, talking about the link between sulfates and parabens to breast cancer. (Coincidentally, as I drove to Tribeca last Thursday, I was listening to Nena Baker talk about her book The Body Toxic on WMNF.)
"Color is 95% water. Pigment itself is not dangerous." They don't use ammonia, and even the bleach they used to clean with has been replaced with vinegar and baking soda, in addition to all-natural cleaners, like soap nuts instead of laundry detergent ("You don't need fabric softener!"). Reusable gloves have replaced disposable, and the plastic drinking straws they once used were switched to paper - and those will soon be traded for fully biodegradable straws made of corn syrup. To cut down on paper waste, they've gone digital, utilize dry erase boards, and will soon have Dyson Airblade hand dryers to eliminate paper towel usage.
The uber-renewable resource, hair, is sent to Matter of Trust, a company that constructs mats to clean up oil spills.
Being good often comes with a price. "All the stuff costs more upfront," Brandon said. In addition, he shells out to pay for recycling. The business isn't struggling (they're opening a second location, Becky, in Ybor this fall), and he thinks Mother Earth and Tribeca's clientele and stylists are worth it.
"Are people changing their ways? I don't know. The idea is that the clients see our efforts, go home, and do it too. It's part of our message."
Oh, and on the 4th Thursday of every month, Khris Rantz's mobile Galaxy Ecowash offers ecofriendly car washing to Tribeca staff and customers. "Get your hair done and vehicle cleaned at the same time." The Korean steam method uses just about a gallon of water per vehicle. His next scheduled appearance at Tribeca is August 27th, but check out his website for more info.