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Kelly Miller says you should be able to eat your shampoo.
In theory, anyway.
Miller is the owner of Be Pure Organic Salon & Boutique in Lawrenceville. She strives to use the most natural products.
“The beauty industry has been predominantly judged as a toxic industry, from makeup to skincare to hair products,” says Miller, who opened Be Pure on May 1. “Women use 10-13 products a day, which they are putting in their hair and on their skin. They should be aware of what ingredients go into what they are using. Organic salons are changing the salon industry for the better. I think people are more aware: from the foods they put into their bodies, to the clothes they wear, to the products they use on their hair and skin. You should be able to eat the products. They might not taste great, but you should be able to eat them.”
Miller is not alone in the quest for a greener salon and spa. Hers is one of many in the area with the focus on using safer product lines. She says she understands how clients might be tentative about trying an organic place.
“I was skeptical at first when I tried some shampoos and they didn't lather, but I was willing to give it a try and invite others to give these organic products a try,” says Miller, who uses products from Organic Salon Systems. “Clients are loving it. They realize it is safer for them and safer for the environment. I have had such a positive response to it.”
It is worth the extra money organic products sometimes cost, say two of Miller's clients Michele Mackey of Squirrel Hill and Joannie Jenkins of South Side. Mackey is a vegetarian, so an organic salon was attractive to her.
“I love the idea of an organic salon,” Mackey says. “And these products do work well. I have curly hair but my hair has never looked better, thanks to Kelly. My daughter also loves going to Kelly because she would get color at other salons and her head would itch, but not anymore. Kelly is amazing.”
Jenkins says the entire salon experience at Be Pure is soothing and enjoyable.
“My hair has been transformed at Kelly's organic salon,” says Jenkins, who gets color every three weeks. “I can't describe it, but my hair just felt better. It is amazing. I was afraid to go at first, but now, I am hooked forever on organic products. And the commitment to the environment is as important, too. And Kelly is classy and edgy and bright. I totally trust her.”
Consumers should read labels when choosing organic products because the industry is not highly regulated in terms of the amount of organic ingredients in a product, salon owners say. There most likely is no salon or spa that is 100 percent organic because some products have to have at least some chemicals in them.
Another new salon focusing on natural products is Tula Organic in Squirrel Hill. Owners Becky Spitler and Emily Askin opened in April and use the Aveda product line.
“At Tula Organic, we strive to be as organic and sustainable as possible, while providing services that are still effective,” says Spitler. “Our products contain a high percentage of organic raw herbal ingredients and organic essential oils. We recycle, use filtered water, have business cards made from 100 percent recycled paper and (use) green cleaning products. We hope this list will continue to grow as we find new ways to care for the world we live in.
“And it is trendy to be eco-conscious, too,” Spitler says, “so that might be one reason more people are caring more about the environment.”
Askin says consumers should question what product is being used on them in a salon.
“I think clients are savvier in terms of what products are being used on them,” says Askin, who studied at the Aveda Institute in New York. “People are sensitive to certain products. I think being organic is more popular, and people are more aware of the environment and more conscious. They want things that are more sustainable when it comes to not only their homes, but everything they buy and use.”
One of the founding members of the Green Spa Network to further awareness and appreciation of organic skin care and spa treatments is EsSpa Kozmetika Organic Skin Care in Aspinwall. Owners Eva and Scott Kerschbaumer opened in 2002. The spa does 80 to 100 facials per day and uses products from Hungary.
“It is important to trust the person who is at the spa, and it's also important to educate yourself about products,” says Scott Kerschbaumer. “The treatments we do last longer than most facials and might cost a little more, but they are worth it. There are a bunch of chemicals in other products, but with the products we use, there is no potential harm to you or the environment. It is now popular to be organic and to be health conscious, but thanks to Eva we have known about the benefit of organic products for a long time.”
Judith Stone from Fox Chapel has been going to EsSpa for at least eight years and says she would never go anywhere else. She went originally because it was close to home, but goes back because her skin has never looked better.
“I didn't know anything about organic products, but right away I loved the way my skin looked,” says Stone. “I have had facials all my life but nothing compared to the one done by Eva. She is the innovator in Pittsburgh. I lucked out when I found her. Even my dermatologist noticed how good my skin looks.”
Alicia Nath, owner of Stonewater Salon and Spa in Baldwin uses Aveda products in her place which will celebrate its one-year anniversary in September.
“It is important for me, as an owner to give back to the environment,” Nath says. “The products I use are safe for my clients. Who knows with other products what they are doing to your skin? I know every ingredient in my products. And I believe they are better products for your hair. It is my responsibility to educate my guests on all the products.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7889.