Archive for the ‘Green Beauty’ Category

The harsh truth behind the feather hair extension trend

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Photo by Upstate Options Magazine via Flickr

Photo by Upstate Options Magazine via Flickr

You’ve seen them on Steven Tyler. You’ve seen them on Ke$ha and Miley Cyrus. You’ve probably also seen them around town. Feather hair extensions are a red hot trend everywhere.

But do you know where this flashy and colorful fashion is coming from? And the controversy behind it?

Feather extensions – which clip into your locks and can last for a couple of months – come from roosters, or more specifically, from the backs of roosters that are specially bred to produce unnaturally long and striking saddle feathers. Before the trend explosion over the last year or two, they were used almost exclusively by fly fishermen as part of their tackle. But the rabid new demand for feathered tresses has made them expensive and difficult to come by.

And it has led to the slaughter of thousands of roosters a week.

But, you may say, that can’t be true – birds don’t have to be killed in order to get their feathers. That’s absolutely correct, but a lot of times, these roosters are. Thomas Whiting – head of Whiting Farms in Colorado, which is one of the largest producers of feather extensions – told the Orange County Register that the roosters “aren’t good for anything else,” so after they are de-feathered, they are euthanized and turned into compost.

And just to give you an idea of the scale: Whiting Farm alone ships out feathered bird hides to the tune of around 65,000 per week.Thinkstock_78293908


The good news is that if you want to sport the look without supporting this brutal process, there are options. Do a quick search for “cruelty-free feather extensions,” and you’ll find that there are quite a few vendors out there who are taking a greener approach to the trend. Mostly, these vendors are getting their feathers from people who raise birds in safe, comfortable, no-kill environments and procure feathers naturally when the birds molt them. It is being embraced as a great alternative for those who keep an eye both on fashion and animal rights.

So before you clip in that bright-colored plumage on yourself or your clients, take some time to research your vendor. Don’t just succumb to the feather hair extension clamor – first, make sure you’re comfortable with where they’re coming from.

New Beauty: Organic Skincare from H&M

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

We all know H&M for their budget-friendly, fashion-forward clothing. Now get to know their new skin care line! That’s right! H&M has introduced a collection of bath and body products made with certified organic ingredients and organic packaging! The line includes shower gels, body scrubs and body lotion in either Lavender & Mint (which I’m dying to try!) or Raspberry & Melon scents. There’s also a vanilla lip balm to round out the skin care collection.

The collection also includes toiletry and makeup bags in cheery colors, just in time for spring! The skincare items will retail for $4.95 each, while the makeup and toiletry bags will be $4.95 and $7.95 each, respectively. These eco-friendly items will hit H&M stores this month. I know you can’t resist, so what items will you be picking up?

Cleanliness is Next to Evilness: Villainess Soaps

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

vilanness-soapNot much about soap is exciting. Some are interesting, but you can’t really say it’s provocative. Unless you’re talking about the naughty & nice collections from Villainess Soaps.

Villainess is a bit naughty because they have scents named after deadly deeds like Pyromania, which gives off a sweet, smoky odor and uses poppy seeds as a mild abrasive. I bought my younger sister a bar of Silk & Cyanide for Christmas, which gives off the scents and flavors one experiences while slowly being poisoned. She cautiously thanked me for my trouble.

Villainess is a bit nice because all their products are cruelty-free, and they operate through a full-disclosure policy about all materials used in manufacture. It’s kind of like how the arch-enemy details all her nefarious plans to the hero before she engages the unnecessarily slow-moving crane toward the shark tank.

Villainess Soaps and cosmetic products are hand-made in Waverly, TN by people who are truly passionate (and a bit evil) about their ideals. The soaps are nicely priced and arrive in un-sculpted hunks of glorious texture, color and odor. Ask your local beauty biz if they’ll stock some, or just visit their website at to see what devilishly clever new things they’ve devised.

Photo: Villainess Soaps

How to Make Your Salon More Earth-Friendly

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

shutterstock_40908718“Going green” is becoming more and more popular, and people from all walks of life are finding ways to make their lives more eco-friendly. As a beauty professional, you’re in a position to make a huge difference right in your very own salon. Think about it. Plastic product containers tossed in the garbage, incredibly high water and energy usage, and chemicals being washed into water supplies are not doing the planet any favors. So try a few of our suggestions to make your salon a “green” salon! (more…)

The Good, The Green and the Greenest Salons

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

shutterstock_69746614Synchronicity was in the air today. There’s quite a buzz in the architectural and construction industries about the evolving LEED standards. We noticed that U.S. College Search had recommended architectural school students to begin investigating the LEED standards more closely and perhaps specialize in LEED compliance for a career boost. Then we noticed that the very first LEED certified salon and spa just went into business in Atlanta! Someone was paying attention.

The Brookhaven location of Atlanta’s Natural Body Spa & Shop has just been awarded a LEED Platinum certification, which is the highest environmentally-conscious building standard. The location features beauty and cosmetology services from both a Natural Body Spa & Shop and a 10TEN Nail Bar. But the buzz about LEED standards means that they’re doing it with the lightest environmental footprint possible, and that keeps their karma in line with their community.

Natural Body dedicated themselves to boosting their environmental responsibility by using regional building materials in the design of the salon, and incorporating up to 50% post-industrial material and low-energy lighting sources for the finishing touches.

The Natural Body location is especially noteworthy because it’s in a high-density, mixed-business development with mass transit, trendy shops and green space side by side. Awesome! Natural Body gets it, and we love it!

Do you know any LEED standards building projects being planned in your area? If any of them are eco-friendly spas, salons or resorts, we want to hear about it.

How Your Hair Can Save the World

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Saving otters, birds and other marine life is all in a day’s work for many salons and beauty schools across the country. How can your salon or cosmetology school help care for our oceans and the creatures in it? By donating hair clippings to the Master of Trust program, Hair for Oil Spills!

As it turns out, hair is great at collecting oil out of the air and off of surfaces like the water. It’s adsorbent, meaning it clings to the pollutants (whereas absorbent means to soak up the pollutants). Participants in the Hair for Oil Spills program stuff loose, washed hair into nylon stockings. The stockings get made into “booms” which surround and soak up oil spills. Hair mats are also made for emergency oil spills and for oiled bird and mammal cages.

More than 370,000 hair salons in the United States collect about one pound of hair per day. (That’s 135 million pounds of hair per year for those who are keeping track.) The salons sweep up the hair clippings into plastic garbage bags, reuse the large boxes they get from shampoo deliveries and mail the hair.

Help your salon or beauty school help Planet Earth by joining this program. Find out more information and sign up for the Matter of Trust Hair for Oil Spills program here. It’s easy to help save our environment with excess hair. Besides, how can you resist the cute little otter guy?