Why the Natural, Organic, Non-Toxic mandate?
As beauty standards continue to rise to unobtainable expectations, a slew of hair, cosmetic, and skincare companies compete to profit from women’s search for products that can help them achieve an idealized version of themselves. The problem isn’t just the pressure towards perfection, but that many of these products are filled with toxins. Imagine a moisturizer that promises to reduce the signs of aging, but has ingredients in it that increase your risk of developing skin cancer? But with clever marketing, these products continue to sell. The toxins found in most skincare, cosmetics, and hair products are not only potentially harmful to your health, but also have a negative impact on the environment and are in many cases, tested on animals.
While eating “clean” and adopting a healthier lifestyle is trending lately, it seems like it’s easier to convince people to switch to organic foods, than it is to convince them of the benefits to also caring about the safety of their household and toiletry products. Living healthy shouldn’t stop at what you drink and eat. What you put ON your body is as important to your health as what you put INTO it. Keep in mind, that our skin is the largest organ of our bodies, making it extremely absorbent and sensitive to what it’s exposed to.
Even if you are ready to make the switch to healthier personal products, it can be difficult to separate the legitimately organic and natural items from the frauds. The beauty industry is not as regulated as food, making it easier for companies to camouflage their products in pretty packaging and wording that is deceptive. A product’s label can state “organic” and “natural,” when in reality, only a small portion of its ingredients fall under those categories. So, instead of taking a label that reads “organic” and “natural” at face value, take a closer look at the ingredients to ensure they are all safe and non-toxic. This handy link from David Suzuki’s website provides a list of common ingredients found in beauty products that you want to avoid because they are considered harmful.
If you can’t be bothered scrutinizing labels and a company’s environmental practices, you can feel confident that Thair has you covered! All of the products that Thair uses on their clients and retail have all been researched and tested by the LLOT (Lovely Ladies of Thair). In many instances, before an item is included in their stock, Traci has personally met with the creator to gain a deeper understanding of the company’s process and commitment to clean non-toxic products made sustainably.
I want to end this blog with the transcripts of a Q&A I had with Traci last week over email. Enjoy!
Mel: What would you say is the biggest challenge towards maintaining a non-toxic organic eco-friendly salon? (cost? finding clean products?, etc).
Traci: Finding products that are clean AND perform well. You may come across a clean product, however, it may not give you the results you expected. Being in a professional setting we must make sure that the products we use and retail actually work!
Another challenge is educating clients and managing their expectations. For example, when encouraging a client to make the switch from antiperspirant to deodorant, they don’t want to feel wet and we tell them that the dry effect of antiperspirants is that they block the glands and prevent us from perspiring and eliminating toxins. We sweat for a reason, to eliminate toxins, so deodorants are much healthier allowing us to sweat but masking the smell naturally.
Mel: Many of us following Thair’s Instagram enjoyed the video showing how the packing noodles dissolve in water, leaving no waste like the styrofoam ones most companies use for shipping. Also awesome, are the gorgeous mirrors at Thair, which were hand crafted by your partner Hossein using reclaimed wood! Does Thair have another cool eco-friendly task or decorating object that people may not know about?
Traci: Ya, the mirrors are also reused, they were left in the space and we wanted to avoid dumping them into landfill. Also, we ripped up the carpet and planned to install new flooring, however, we saw that with some elbow grease they could be cleaned up and “reused.” As well, the reception desk and some display units are also reclaimed wood. We also recycle our foil used for highlights. All of our cleaning products are natural, even our laundry detergent and we use energy efficient lighting.
Mel: Some people may want to make a lifestyle change that models Thair’s approach, but are overwhelmed by all the areas in their lives that would need an overhaul. What are 3 small changes you would recommend to get them started now?
Traci: Switching to non-toxic hair colour, because it’s something that is done every 4-6 weeks and sits on your scalp for 45 minutes. These toxins are being absorbed into your blood stream regularly! The darker the hair colour, the more cancer causing ingredients are in it and the more toxic it is.
Replacing antiperspirant with deodorant – as mentioned above antiperspirant can be deadly, causing breast cancer. We do not want to block our lymph nodes, they expel toxins and rid our body of harmful chemical build up. Switch to deodorant (like Lovefresh or Kaia Naturals available at Thair) immediately!