“This project has given us confidence that today's practitioners in the hairdressing and media graphics industries can influence others when their passion for the planet is awakened.
The "ripple effect" of green education is truly inspirational!”
The "ripple effect" of green education is truly inspirational!”
Head of Department
The Academy of Hair,Beauty,Sport & Fitness
"Due to this project, now I am much more conscious about the use of green products for everything. There are many different ways of becoming ecological, and not only recyclying"
Participating in this project was a real eye opener to me! Not only on a professional level, but also on a personal level. I never knew that there were so many health problems in the hairdressing industry. The fact that an average Danish hairdressers’ career is only 9 years, including 4 years of study, due to health problems with breathing and skin allergies, was very shocking. Nowadays I am more aware of these issues, for example when visiting my own hairdresser.The project (amongst other) realized this awareness. I learned a lot, both professionally and personally and I am very thankful for that! New partners became new friends.Thank you all!Eva Bouwman-van Gelder, projectmanager Stivako
I want to thank you all, teachers and mates from other countries, for this worthy project. I have learned a lot personal and professionaly and I am very proud of how the fashion show demostrated that things can be made in a different way to protect our planet and our lifes"
The project itself has had a great organization and all the people in charge have known what to do to create a friendly environment where teachers and students from different countries have learned from each others and have had a lot of fun. Well done!"
“During those meetings we have shared experience, enthusiasm, camaraderie and, yes, at times, maybe a little bit of tension but all of that always in a climate of mutual understanding and help. Our students proved time after time that they could achieve the aims of the project even when some of them also had to struggle with the English language".
Paloma Rodriguez Bonilla
IES El Palo Malaga
IES El Palo Malaga
Spain was the sun
After our two years project, during which we have definitely achieved more success than expected but also faced many difficulties, we make a very positive evaluation throughout the experience. It makes us want to continue to deepen in all matters worked along this time. Even though we have found that every time there is a greater awareness of the need to return to nature, to respect our environment and therefore use sustainable products, we have also observed that there is still a long way to go before it is feasible to eliminate the use of chemicals that pollute our world and ourselves.
One of the most complex and complete activities that we have done during the project was commissioning the exhibition Lookin 'Green; the outcome of which we are fully satisfied with because it was so demanding and all the participants had to do a joint effort in order to reach the level we got to provide to the public. Among other tasks, we all conducted multiple investigations on natural, biodegradable and environmentally friendly products for application in hairdressing and makeup. We studied fabrics and other materials for designing and making the costumes, requiring lots of imagination to find and use sustainable accessories and add-ons.
Although finding these products and materials was difficult, we should be proud of the tremendous team effort that involved the development of hairstyles, makeup and fashion designs, to which not only the twelve members of the Personal Image Department at IES El Palo in Málaga, involved or not in the Project, and our coordinator Paloma were committed, but also colleagues and students of the San Telmo School of Art in Málaga.
The starting point for the development of the collections was the idea that gave meaning to this project: sustainable energy sources like water, wind and sun. Spain of course represented the sun, nothing more suitable, especially considering that the Spanish partners have carried out our work in Málaga, a city blessed with a gorgeous sunny weather almost all year round.
Taking the sun, source of life, light and energy, as the leitmotiv of our collection, each of the designs was developed in a way that they all had something in common, yet they were independent and completely different from each other. From dawn to sunset, each of the designs evoke a particular moment of the sun, as that in which it caresses the wheat fields or when it sprouts spring flowers.
The crack of dawn opened our show, representing that moment when the first rays of sunlight hide the moon; continued showing how the light spreads out in every corner reviving us; then reaching its zenith with such a strength that floods with colour and energy, to then descend and reach the twilight. After that entering the night, which renews us waiting for a bright new day. This same philosophy inspired MCAST, our partners from Malta, in developing the showreel they made to accompany our models.
The major difficulties relating to products, elements and fabrics needed was to find those who allow us to achieve a proper level of quality in the result. Adequate and similar to what would be achieved with the use of chemicals that have been used habitually. For example, finding strong enough hairsprays, cosmetics and hair dyes free of ammonia and amides, makeup with proper coverage and durability, and fabrics that were not artificially dyed. However, the use of materials and fabrics from recycling made our work easier.
Throughout the process of creating and testing designs, we realized that in some cases we had no choice but to drop sustainability using materials unsuitable for an event of this subject, such as silicone, to hold elements in some headgear. Some hairpieces needed for long hair or concealers with enough covering capacity (these last ones being used only for the photo shoot and not in the parade).
All in all, our mentality change has been dramatic, and while we have not achieved that 100% of the elements used would be sustainable, reaching 95% in itself is a huge change in attitude and a great achievement that eventually will increasingly have more impact on the way we work and the awareness of our students, their families, professionals and gradually the society in general.
We are well aware that there is still a long way to go but we are confident that with further research to achieve the same results without the use of toxic chemicals and a change of attitude where for example a healthy and beautiful hair is more important than showing grey hair, which is just the consequence of a natural process of healthy aging, we will definitely achieve an improvement of our and our planet’s health.
Having created a niche position for itself in a fiercely competitive local market, Élan Hair Design has worked tirelessly to improve upon its position as ‘the UK’s most eco-friendly hair salon.’
Key to this innovative approach has been a commitment to incorporate almost every conceivable environmentally-friendly initiative – as demonstrated by a major ‘green’ refurbishment of its Inverurie town centre salon, completed in 2012.
The ongoing project includes the use of recyclable materials; PV panels to generate electricity and solar thermal panels to provide energy for hot water; LED lighting that uses 80% less electricity; and, an air-source heat pump, saving 80% on heating costs.
The salon understandably uses large volumes of water but thanks to the installation of a new basin system, water consumption has fallen by 64%.
Élan has also made substantial reductions in its carbon emissions and the amount of waste it sends to landfill. This includes sending customers’ hair clippings, along with other biodegradable waste, to be spread as compost on local farmers’ fields.
The business, established more than 40 years ago, is led by Lorna and Gordon Milton along with their daughters Lanice and Lauren.
Lorna Milton, owner and director of Élan Hair Design, said: “We made the decision to implement the new eco-friendly approach on the back of customer feedback which indicated they wanted a greener and more sustainable service.
“Since then the business has grown significantly with increased turnover as well as a rise in the number of customers visiting our salon.
“We have continued to make major inroads into reducing our environmental impact. This includes putting in place initiatives which have seen us reduce our carbon emissions by 90% and increase the amount of the salon’s waste successfully diverted from landfill to 95%.
“We believe these changes will help ensure the long-term success of the business.”
Élan Hair Design is unique, not only in the north-east of Scotland, but in the wider UK market too. Indeed, the environmental and commercial benefits gained by Élan could act as a template for other like-minded businesses throughout the country to follow.