Chemicals are plentiful in the hair products we use. There’s formaldehyde, methylene glycol, oxomethane, methanal, and a ton of other harmful chemicals being every step of the salon process. And not only are they bad for us, but they’re also bad for the environment. Thankfully, safer alternatives exist. Not all these chemicals are needed throughout the salon experience. So if you’re hoping to stop using them, you absolutely can. Just ask non-toxic hair color and treatment specialist Tania Whittier.
A resident of LA’s coveted Mèche Salon in Beverly Hills for over 10 years, Tania switched to using all non-toxic salon professional brands in 2015. She tells Mane Addicts she made the transition “because we think about what we put into our bodies so why shouldn’t we start thinking about what’s in the products we are breathing in all day and putting on our skin? Ammonia is a respiratory irritant, PPD’s are a known carcinogen, resorcinol has been classified as hazardous, and formaldehyde is all those things. Eliminating these ingredients can help to create a safer environment for us as hairstylists because we are in that environment every day. Besides, clean non-toxic products can do the same things traditional products can, and in some circumstances, they work even better.”
If you’re looking to become a non-toxic colorist, Tania is happy to help. Below, she shares her top tips and tricks for making the switch!
Everyone Can Make the Switch
Yes, every colorist is capable of making the switch. There isn’t one colorist or stylist who will fare better than another so long as you’re committed to the process. Tania shares that she feels “everyone should consider cleaner options because clients are reading about it and asking for it. I transitioned to clean hair color after seeing how successful my business became by switching my smoothing treatments to non-toxic. That helped me realize how many clients were genuinely interested in cleaner products.”
Do Your Research
There is a lot to know about using non-toxic treatments as a colorist so it’s important to study up before bringing this up to your clients. “Do your homework,” Tania stresses. “Knowledge is power and your clients will ask. Learn about a few clean lines and the ingredients, then use that information to help educate your clients.”
Additionally, Tania notes that “the color lines I’ve learned about also have lots of educational opportunities to help keep you inspired.” When in doubt, go straight to the source. Learn everything you can from the color lines you feel will work best for you and your clients.
Talk to Your Clients
Before you start the process, talk about it with your clients. Make sure they are in fact interested in using non-toxic hair products. You don’t want to make the switch before you discuss it with them. When you do have that chat, let your excitement shine through. As Tania notes, “the more excited you are, the more excited your clients will be.”
Reach Out to Distributors
Deciding on which non-toxic color line to go with can be tricky. This is why Tania suggests directly reaching out to a distributor to help you get started. She shares she “reached out to Simply Organic and they were so helpful.”
Get the Word Out
Once your clients have gotten on board with you using non-toxic hair color and you know which line you want to use, it’s time to spread the word. Tania suggests you “post on social media to let people know you are offering cleaner options.” Even having your clients tell their friends and family of the switch can help bring in more business.
Give Yourself Grace
This is arguably the most important step in the process of becoming a non-toxic hair colorist. It’s one Tania herself wishes she had taken into account before making the switch.
You’ll be learning how to use an entirely new line of products, so be gentle with yourself throughout that time period. “Know that you’re learning a new color line so give yourself some time to learn it,” Tania shares. “You may find you have to adjust your levels or add an additional few minutes onto a processing time to get the same results that you did from your previous traditional hair color but stick with it because it truly can deliver amazing results.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Increase Your Prices
The topic of raising your prices can be a tricky one, but non-toxic color treatments can be a bit pricier. It’s more than fair to you to raise your prices once you make the transition. “It is an investment,” Tania says. “Consider a small up charge for the clean color line, just make sure you have worked out the kinks on learning a new line before up charging.” That last bit is especially important.