There's a lot to worry about these days--the climate crisis, mounting energy bills and of course, the state of our hair. But hairdressers are coming to the rescue with tips to help their clients manage their tresses and tend to the environment. 

For the last ten years, The ecohair and beauty project run by the University of Southampton have been working with industry organizations such as Green Salon Collective, Habia and VTCT to embed sustainable practices across the hair dressing sector and develop free resources for hairdressers. These include a fun, free virtual salon sustainable hairdressing training tool which takes 30-45 mins. Once completed, you can get a free sustainable stylist certificate. Once stylists are certified, salons can self-certify for a free sustainable salon certificate

It has been estimated that a typical salon that adopted their suggestions would save over $6,500 year, save 24150 kWh energy and 76,000 gallons of water! Also salons that achieve the sustainable salon certification are listed on https://ecohairandbeauty.com/salon-locator/ and promoted via social media.

The key reason hairdressers have been singled out is the importance they hold in affecting the hair-care practices of their clients. Hairdressers probably talk to more people as part of their job than any other profession and so are perfectly placed to pass on advice (such as shampooing less often, and just once, rather than rinse and repeat, reducing blow drying time) that is good for hair, good for bills, and good for the planet. In a previous project with the University of Southampton, a survey of nearly 800 customers established that most customers value being given this kind of advice, and that it affects their hair care practices at home.


This led to a joint project between Green Salon Collective and ecohairandbeauty.com to develop Mirror Talkers - eco-tips on mirrors - as a way for hair stylists to share sustainable hairdressing tips with their clients. This 3 minute video captures the key points of the pilot where 30 salons experimented with Mirror Talkers and reported back. You can see the full report here.

Tips were easy and designed to spark conversations. Some were phrased as questions, e.g. ‘Should you shampoo less?, and some as statements e.g. ‘Running hot water is the most expensive and energy-intensive activity we do in our homes.’

Each tip accompanies a QR code where consumers can find out more information. For example, few know that they can save way more money by turning the hot tap off than the lights off. This leads onto other tips such as trying ‘leave-in conditioner’ which saves hot water, and shampooing less/using less shampoo which is also better for hair condition in most instances.

The website also hosts numerous short training videos and role-playing videos to help stylists gain confidence is using the mirror talkers and engaging in these conversations. For example, whether clients are worried about their hair condition, lack of time, lack of money or the planet, there’s a way in to share how using less hot water is a win-win for the planet, our skin and hair and our bills, as illustrated by quotes from clients and stylists in the pilot study:“It’s a great idea them being on mirrors … they are looking at that even if they’re sitting there talking to you and having a cut and a blow dry.”


Professor Denise Baden who started the Ecohair project was amazed at how keen hairdressers have been to get engaged. “Hairdressers are a caring profession and have embraced the opportunity to show that they can be part of the solution to the challenges of sustainable development and water shortages, not part of the problem."

The pilot Mirror Talker project is complete, and now we’re keen to spread the word about how simple changes to our haircare routines can save money, time and the planet and leave us with great hair.

  • To access free Mirror Talkers, check out The Green Salon Collective shop.
  • Free training videos are available both on the Green Salon Collective site and https://ecohairandbeauty.com/videos/.
  • The free Virtual Salon sustainable hairdressing tool is here and is perfect for your stylists to complete to gain a free sustainable stylist certificate, or for training colleges to use with their students.
  • Find out how salons to gain a free sustainable salon certificate here.
  • Check out the Green Salon Collective’s circular economy approach to minimize waste here.
  • Finally please share details of the Mirror Talker project and our promo video across your networks.
  • Get in touch: Ecohair@soton.ac.uk.
  • Follow:@EcoHairBeauty; Instagram/Facebook ecohairbeautyuk and @greensaloncollective and @GreenSalonCo.

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