Denise Avallone and Donna Huston, owners of Adagio for Hair in El Dorado Hills, CA.
Denise Avallone and Donna Huston, owners of Adagio for Hair in El Dorado Hills, CA.

Denise Avallone and Donna Huston, owners of Adagio for Hair in El Dorado Hills, California, found that their personal commitment to health triggered a move toward establishing a healthy workplace environment, where staff members are likely to spend as many waking hours as they do at home. This culture can help you recruit like-minded team members, and health training aligns particularly well with the spa industry, according to Anna-Cari Gund, president CIDESCO International.

“Staff wellness is important both for new graduates and the owner,” Gund says. “If professionals do not do for themselves what they preach to the client, neither will the client. The bond between a spa therapist and a guest is already greater due to the nature of our business. Staff should be encouraged to take part regularly in classes and educational wellness events.”

Getting the more seasoned team members onboard is key, Gund continues. “Teach a united workplace attitude toward wellness and a heathy lifestyle,” she advises. “Involve senior therapists in the decision-making process, educate them on lifestyle changes that will improve their health and lead by example. It is important to then give them credit for being good role models to the younger members of the team.”

When you consider all of the workplace influences on health, you have so many ways to create a health-driven culture.


  • Be a role model! Your team looks to you for direction.
  • Offer healthcare insurance.
  • Use your website, texting and social media to announce and describe your salon’s culture of health.
  • Develop a list of your community’s health-related resources to share with team members and clients.
  • Celebrate every team member’s health-related achievements.
  • Join the sponsors of your community’s health fairs.


  • Bring in only healthy foods, and read labels! Focus on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dry-roasted nuts like almonds and walnuts, low-fat dairy like mozzarella and yogurt and, for protein, small portions of peanut butter, skinless chicken, salmon or lox and hard-boiled egg slices. Limit alcohol to wine, and occasionally treat everyone to some dark chocolate, popcorn or corn chips with salsa.
  • Install a microwave, a blender for making healthy smoothies and a water cooler or filtered water system.
  • Ask your distributor sales associates and anyone else who tends to drop by with food to please substitute fruit for baked goods and processed snacks.
  • Bring in a nutritionist to hold a Q&A session.
  • Partner with local restaurants that feature health-conscious menus.
  • Share recipes on your bulletin board or team social media sites.


  • Include in your benefits package a membership at a fitness facility.
  • Bring in a trainer twice a week for optional after-work workouts.
  • Put together a salon team to join a running, volleyball, softball, bowling, golf or badminton league.
  • Encourage stylists to use down time to take a walk outside.
  • If you display magazines in your waiting area, include a couple of fitness magazines.
  • Include a short yoga session in any staff meeting.
  • Gather everyone at the start of the day for a quick stretching session.
  • Offer complimentary 5-minute massages throughout the workday.


  • Install flooring that offers comfort for a staff that stands all day.
  • Supply mats for every station.
  • Supply cutting stools.
  • Consider investing in hair dryer suspension technology.
  • Encourage stylists to wear flats or low heels.
  • Educate the staff in the proper way to hold scissors, brushes and tools in order to protect the wrist, shoulders and upper back.
  • Educate the staff in the proper way to stand in order to protect the lower back.


  • Carry brands that offer skin-sensitive lines.
  • Keep gloves in stock.
  • Offer periodic onsite skin cancer screenings.
  • Keep a tube of sunscreen and a rack of hats available for team members to grab before walking outside.
  • Install a source capture ventilation system to expel fumes and dust.
  • Reimburse employees for any efforts to stop smoking.

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Originally posted on Modern Salon

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