Certified Green Salon Academy  Australia’s new certifying body are tackling the toxic chemicals in the Australia hairdressing industry.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realise that hairdressing is currently one the largest employing occupations in the personal services sector and the largest employer of females in trades. Sadly, hairdressers have a higher risk of skin diseases, asthma, musculoskeletal disorders and cancer (lung/larynx/bladder cancer and myeloma) than the general population.

I can understand the risk of lung cancer by inhaling all the chemicals used in a salon, but why bladder cancer? Researchers believe this risk comes from exposure to carcinogenic aromatic amines in some hair dyes, which have also been linked to increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia.

When you spend some time with Mr Google, many reports refer to minimising the risk by wearing gloves and improving the ventilation systems etc in hairdresser salons. Doesn’t it make more sense to remove the toxic chemicals?

Introducing Nanette Barter, from the Certified Green Salon Academy. Nanette and her team have the first Certified Green Salons in Australia and are on a mission to change the hairdressing industry one certified green salon at a time.

Q1. What do you do?

Certified Green Salon AcademyWe train and mentor hair salons that wish to become certified green salons.

A Certified Green Salon (CGS) is a Salon that has made a commitment to its staff and clients to comply with strict guidelines and standards that avoid any toxic or harmful chemicals on the premises.

We focus on both the products used in the salon and how the salon functions to minimise the toxic impact on clients, staffs and our environment. Standards are in place so that hairdresser & clientele are confident that all services & products are clean, positive and free of any dangerous chemicals.

Products: A Certified Green Salon must have all products on the premises checked and approved by an environmental Chemist & annually audited by a Certified Green Salon representative to retain its certification.

Lighting: Changing your lighting to LED can use on average 66% less power. LED is mercury free and will reduce your carbon footprint.
Water: Ecoheads or similar filtration system uses up to 56% less water & helps to reduce chlorine dirt and other debris like rust and sand.
Laundry: Laundry pro or similar uses no laundry detergent or hot water. This system is cost effective & environmentally friendly.
Waste Reduction: We abide by very through recycling and waste reducing systems which include’s no colour waste.

Cleaning: Only purchase Eco-labeled cleaning agents or opt for natural alternatives.

Why should you become a Certified Green Salon?
1.) Due to clients becoming more chemical aware you will be fully equipped to meet the high demand for cleaner non-toxic hair & beauty practices.
2.) You will be able to understand what the dangers of using oxidising colour are and how to prevent unnecessary exposure to dangerous chemicals
3.) Your business will be totally unique and with that will come a loyal following of clientele & increase your salon’s profit,
4.)To have 100% support from CGS. Confidence in knowing you are offering a true & honest alternative to your clients.
5.) Most importantly improved health & safety for YOU, YOUR STAFF & CLIENTS.


2. What got you started in the chemical-free industry?

I am a qualified and experienced hairdresser, having started at the age of 16 and had my first salon by 21. By 30 I had developed an autoimmune disease and then breast cancer which I believe was a direct result of working with harsh chemicals in salons over many years.

I opened my own “Lush cuts salon in Buderim in 2010, however, there was a lot of demand from clients wanting colour. After introducing colour and the associated chemicals into the salon, I got sick again and my senior stylist Brea had extremely bad dermatitis where her hands would bleed. So I asked myself the question again, “What are we doing to our health and that of our clients?”

Determined to find a solution, I researched various colour options and found a colour without certain “Main” chemicals. After we started to use this colour and products, my symptoms disappeared and Brea’s hands improved dramatically.

During this time I was also diagnosed with breast cancer and again started to research alternative medicine looking deeper for answers on cleaner and more positive products for my staff and clientele. This is when I decided to follow the Green concept and went to Europe to look at how the green salon concept works. Whilst there I also attended an environment course on the chemicals used in the hair and beauty industry.

I feel very passionate about protecting myself, my staff and our clients against the harsh chemicals in the industry yet still achieving beautiful hair and makeup by using the highest quality alternative products.


3. What makes your product or service different?

There have been amazing developments in hairdressing products and a move to organic products that have improved the shampoo/conditioner products used for both hairdresser and client. However, when it comes to hair colour a seal identifying organic ingredients doesn’t automatically mean all ingredients are organic or it is without risk of exposure to toxic chemicals.

In fact, not only is organic hair dye not necessarily safer than synthetic hair dye, organic hair dye simply doesn’t exist. Other than henna, any commercially available hair dye, either store-bought for home use or found in salons, uses chemical actives for them to work.

To permanently change the color of hair, a product must be able to penetrate the cuticle to deposit or remove color in the cortex and chemicals do this. This means that if your organic hair dye is lightening hair or providing 100% grey coverage it is employing at least one of these toxic chemicals PPD’s, PTD’s & Resorcinol as oxidising agents.  A permanent organic hair colour that uses an oxisiding agent is still toxic.

Hair dye doesn’t have to be organic or natural in order to be safe, and there are other ways to be both health- and eco-conscious when it comes to coloring your hair.

You can’t avoid chemicals, but you can avoid unnecessary harsh ones.

Some of these toxic chemicals may be lurking in the colour you’re using:

  • Ethanolamine – Often used in replacement of Ammonia – Used to open the hair cuticle.
  • PPD & PTD (P-phenylenediamine & Toluene-2.5-diamine)
  • Resorcinol (Including Substances with resorcinol in the name)
  • Aminophenol (Including Substances with Aminophenol in the name)
  • 1-naphthol
  • Formaldehyde, Diazolidinyl urea and imidazolidinyl Urea
  • Thioglycolic acid & thioglycolate
  • 4 amino-3-nitrophenol

Click HERE for a full list of chemicals to avoid on your hair products.

These are all banned in a Certified Green Salon and all products used in the salon must be approved by an environmental Chemist in Europe.

Certified Green Salons do not use a oxidising colour ( putting colour pigment into the hair shaft or changing the structure of the hair shaft ) our colour is synthetic and magnetic and sits on the outside of the hair shaft and does contain any PPD, PTD, Resorcinol & Tolene 2.5 as these products are what makes a colour permanent and changes hair colour eg lighter than natural .


4. What has been your biggest obstacle?greenwashing

The organic hair dye greenwashing that happens in the industry resulting in clients thinking they are using safe products when they may not be.

A brand promotes a 99% natural hair dye but when you look at some of the ingredients listed on the box from the salon you will find m-Aminophenol, p-Aminophenol, 1-Naphthol and Resorcinol. We can not emphasis enough the need to read you ingredients and not to trust the marketing messages on the packaging.


5. What is your most interesting/best TIP to help families reduce their chemical exposure?

Scrutinising the products used at hair and beauty salons is still a must to ensure your wellbeing as what is applied to the skin or scalp enters the bloodstream and, more often than not, causes disharmony within the body.  Reading your labels is important.


6. Is there another non-toxic business that you think is great & would recommend?

Penny Black Organic Certified Green Salons are based in Manly, Sydney and the Sunshine Coast, QLD. They are the first certified Green Salons in Australia.

Note: The Penny Black Sunshine Coast was previously known as Lush Organic Hair & Spa 

Chemical Free Community | Directory

Certified Green Salon Academy is a member of the Chemical Free Community–  Find their listing on the directory HERE

Chemical Free Community | Directory – is about education, awareness & making it easy for folks to find non toxic and less toxic alternatives (food, product & services including services such as hairdresser, pest control, vet services, dental, dry cleaning, schools not using chemicals, parks not using glyphosate, speakers, courses etc..) via our online global directory ChemFreeCom.com. We are focused on transparency, B2C, B2B.


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