How can I make my beauty salon or spa more sustainable?
During my time working in the beauty industry, it became apparent early on that I was generating a lot of waste that would go straight into landfill. If I then thought about all of the other salons up and down the country that would be generating the same amount of waste as me, day in, day out, it all started to feel very worrying. How on earth are we going to change this? The more I thought about doing something in my salon, the more daunting the task became.
Like every other salon in the country, I had to unfortunately close my doors in March 2020 and although there were very few benefits to this break, the main one was time to think about things. I knew I was going to reopen with eco-friendly changes already in place. The more I read up on the subject, the more I realised that becoming sustainable is not as impossible as it seems. I realised that it is better to start in a small way than not to start at all, and if everyone in the industry took small steps then what a huge difference that would make collectively.
The perfect place to start is by joining the Green Salon Collective as this allows for the recycling of materials used in treatments.
The initiative recycles items such as used tint tubes and foil from gel-polish removal, and 100% of profits raised from recycling these raw materials goes to charity, including
Foodcycle, Haircuts 4 The Homeless and Tree Planting. I’ve also changed from standard waxing to sugaring which is entirely biodegradable – and the pots can be refilled rather than sent to landfill – and biodegradable towels are used throughout to reduce the salon’s laundry footprint. The towels are made from wood fibres and can go straight in to the bin, making it more hygienic for clients while also preventing the towels from being washed at 90ºC.
All nail polish and gel-polish bottles are sent away to be recycled through the Louella Belle recycling programme, and almost all of the products used within the salon come from the UK, which reduces our carbon footprint.
We also stock brands such as Medik8 and Heaven Scent, which are also sustainable product ranges. No matter how daunting the task, it is better to change in small ways than to not change at all.
How can the Covid-19 virus and vaccines impact beauty treatments?
Reports of skin reactions, altered treatment outcomes or feeling unwell after a lash, brow, skin, body or massage treatment are on the rise as the coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on public health. The primary factors that have impacted this change in health status include contracting coronavirus, stress and having the vaccine. Each of these factors has a direct impact on immunity and on how our body responds to products and services.
This makes clients highly susceptible to undesirable treatment effects, including burning, rashes, triggering existing inflammatory disorders, and causing irritant or allergic dermatitis.
As the cornerstone of determining treatment suitability, understanding the health of every client booking a service is essential. All therapists have a responsibility to ensure clients are safe, not only from virus transmission, but from unexpected and severe treatment side-effects.
Checking that clients have not become contraindicated to treatment due to changes in health, or that skin has become unusually responsive due to changes in immunity, may mean additional procedures, protocols and patch testing.
While it has always been standard practice to consult prior to every service, long periods of coronavirus lockdown, high demand and commercial pressure must not lead to shortcuts. You may find that your insurers and professional trade organisations have specific requirements. Most manufacturers and insurers would expect a patch test to be re-performed if a customer had not received the service or procedure in the past six months, because a client’s health can change over that time period.
Each change in a client’s medical history requires a retest. For vaccines that require a first and second dose, patch test after each inoculation. Since scientists suggest that one in three cases of coronavirus are asymptomatic, it is good practice to patch test all clients. Whether they know they have had the virus or not, make thorough consultation and patch testing a matter of course to substantially reduce the risk of negative response to your service.
It is advisable to ensure that the client is well enough to receive treatment and is not suffering any side effects of the vaccination before proceeding with the patch test or the service. NHS guidance for clients who have recently had a vaccination suggests they should not have treatments for at least a week afterwards.
However, it may be prudent to delay any service that has a therapeutic effect on the body systems, uses highly active product or induces inflammation (treatments such as microneedling) for another week to ensure clients are fully recovered. Check with your trade organisation and manufacturer, but the general industry guidance is to wait 10–14 days post-vaccination for these types of services.
Review your current procedures and adjust your consultation and patch-testing protocols. These actions will protect the client, the therapist and the business as we adjust to the health consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
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