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Let’s Get Ethical

The UK Hair and Beauty Industry is undergoing a transformation that will see a wave a new of awareness built into the curriculum. This comes after Habia unveiled its new occupational standards to provide guidelines for more sustainable and responsible ways of working.

One area of interest is the Ethical Market whose potential is yet to be unlocked in the Hair and Beauty Industry. Similarly, to the Hair and Beauty Industry the Ethical Market continued to grow in the UK where overall the economic recovery in the country grew at a slow pace. The Ethical Market has continuously shown growth, and according to Ethical Consumer, 75% of the population shop ethically at least some of the time. The UK ethical goods and services market was worth £47.2bn in 2011.

By integrating ethical services into hair and beauty salons it can create value and provide a competitive advantage by incorporating social and environmental considerations into the core of their business. Consumers care about the products that they use and the effect that their purchases have upon wider environmental and social issues.

When reviewing the ‘green’ market there are many pitfalls that can be faced, and research has found that although consumers prefer to buy responsible products they are sceptical about green claims. Ironically, the green market is surrounded by a ‘grey’ area where there is nothing to say what constitutes as green. Clever marketing can make false claims, known as ‘greenwashing’ and this has tainted the market.

The ethical market is easier for a consumer to understand for example, a company either tests on animals or it doesn’t, it either replants trees in the rainforest or it doesn’t, they either manufacture their products using renewable technology or they don’t, they either work with communities on social and development issues or they don’t. There is a great deal of compassion and loyalty attached to the Ethical Market and at the moment the Hair and Beauty Industry is yet to embrace such benefits.


The latest research from the Co-Op showed that the Ethical Cosmetics Market was worth £175 million in 2000 and in 2011, that figure had risen to £566 million, this is not bad considering that the hair and beauty industry has not grasped this concept by the reins and taken advantage of its clearer marketing message. An encouraging forecast shows that the market is predicted to grow by 10% each year and the hair and beauty Industry is yet to take its place.
The power of the ethical market is far reaching, and has a direct impact upon sustainability which can create a wealth of individual, local and international benefits.

Recent research shows that hairdressers talk to more people on a daily basis than any other occupation and can act as a catalyst for change in the mission to bring sustainability into mainstream society and normalise such behaviour and practices. The action of salons can help toward sustainable development and if they can demonstrate how to bring ethics into hair care practices then consumers will learn too, creating a ripple effect throughout their local area, which has the potential to spread throughout the UK.

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What is so reassuring about this transition is that the ethical consumer is already out there waiting for a service to go to that reflects their values. Ethical products are popular because of their high quality as well as promoting environmental and social issues that the consumer cares about.

It is surprising that all it takes is a little campaigning from hair and beauty salons and you will find that your clients will respond. Did you know that nine out of ten consumers now recognise the Fairtrade logo, and if hair and beauty salons can respond to growing consumer concerns they too have the ability to attract the ethical consumer?


Many campaigns show places, and issues that people cannot relate to but by transforming services that people use on a regular basis such as local hair and beauty salons, it gives people the chance to learn and be pro-active. If a salon seeks to actively improve social and environmental issues it is something that can gain respect and loyalty from clients.

The opportunities in this market are endless and by making people aware of ethical issues through a service which you provide can have a staggering impact on sustainable development in the local, national and international community. Clients care about how you run your business and what effect your actions have upon social and environmental issues.

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Be part of this change and open your doors to the power of ethical hair and beauty!

Start making changes today and follow some of our simple steps;

 Switch your salon refreshments to Fairtrade tea and coffee. Follow for more information.
 Switch to renewable/low carbon technology or join a green energy supplier. Follow for more information.
 Switch you product range to a supplier that sources from sustainable and natural sources that doesn’t test on animals. Check out our list of great suppliers on our website;
 Donate your hair clippings to Matter of Trust who make hair mats to mop up oil spills, or find a local wormery, botanic garden, allotment etc to donate to. If all else fails follow this link for some alternative uses for hair;
 Protect your staff and clients from the negative effects of toxic fumes caused by hair colouring and nail services by bringing plants, Himalayan salts and yellow beeswax candles into the salon.
 Take part, or set up community events that can benefit the local community, groups or charities.