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Local salons and cosmetics going all-natural

As consumers demand more environmentally conscious products, companies have been responding with hybrid cars, green cleaning products, and organic food. The beauty industry is no different, and some salons and make-up lines are going “au naturel”. WAMC’s Elizabeth Conkey has more…

Kristen Gaffney is the owner of Pure Elements, an organic hair salon in Albany, NY.  She opened the business three years ago after working in a conventional salon atmosphere for over ten years.  During those ten years, Kristen noticed serious changes in her health and knew that, for the sake of her health, she would have to make a change to a less toxic environment.

“All the products that we use in our salon do not contain any chemicals…”

According to Gaffney, non-organic products can be extremely harmful to your health…

“After doing a lot of research we found out that 98 percent of women who have breast cancer, when the mass is removed from their breast, it contains parabens, which is in any product that’s on the shelves in the drug store.”

Whether there is a direct correlation between mainstream products and various health products or not, Peg Moline, vice president and editor in chief of Natural Health Magazine, says that all-natural products are becoming increasingly popular.

“There’s definitely a trend for consumers to look for what they perceive as all natural, more natural, organic, sustainable, all of this stuff is a big trend.”

“People are becoming much more educated about some of the toxic chemicals that exist in some beauty products. They’re spending a little bit of extra money to get things that are organic, especially for products that stay on your skin for a long time… like facial serums and foundations and body crèmes. People are looking for things that just don’t have as many chemicals.” 

Gaffney says she is happy to provide the community with a safe and healthy environment in which they can pamper themselves and feel good about it.

“It’s such a great feeling…”

According to Natural Health’s Moline, consumers are more likely to spend the extra money on products whose companies they trust and whose ingredients are healthier for the body.

“There are certain brand names that are of course really identified as organic. These companies have really built a brand around trust, and they do spend a little bit more on them.”

A few miles away from Pure Elements, Kara Scieszka is in her kitchen making the products for Olive Naturally, her all-natural skincare line, which she runs out of her home. She makes all of the products herself using kitchen equipment and ingredients straight from nature.

“My products are all natural; they’re free of anything synthetic…”

Consumers, Moline notes, who are forever loyal to mainstream brands, are becoming more and more conscious about the ingredients in their favorite products…

“They are reading labels…”

A great resource for those looking to become informed about the toxicity levels in their current products, Kara says, is the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, an online search engine created by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting kids from toxins in the air, food, water and products.

“If you have something in your cabinet, you can put it in there and see how the toxicity level rates.”

Beauty product companies, Moline said, are also responding to this demand for healthier products.

“The consumer is definitely driving the trend…”

According to Organic Monitor, a specialist research and consulting company that focuses on organic product industries, the North American market for natural personal care products reached $5.4 billion in value as of last month.