Personal care products are not necessarily designed with consumer safety in mind. Most "household" name brands contain ingredients that cause harm to our bodies and our environment, and the manufacturing of the product is a major contributor to pollution.

At Green Grotto we care about what we put on our body, rinse down the drain, and place in garbage and recycling bins. As a result, we only use eco-conscious products with responsible ingredients and packaging. I spend countless hours researching product companies before I introduce them to my clients.

To be "Green Grotto approved" a product company must use safe manufacturing practices and responsible packaging, never engage in animal testing, use essential oils instead of artificial fragrances, and sell their product at a price that is reasonable. I take another step further by insuring the products I carry at the salon are vegan, gluten-free, and supporting American jobs as well as producing a positive global impact.

Organic or natural products:

1. Promote biodiversity, sustainability, and ethical business practices
2. Support local economy
3. Contain nutrient dense ingredients with multiple benefits
4. Generate favorable results long term

How can you tell the difference?
Become familiar with ingredients. Let's use shampoo as an example.

Conventional Shampoo:

Contains harsh detergents that are inexpensive and strip the hair of healthy oils as well as dirt. The detergent is cost efficient for the company because they can dilute it with water. The introduction of water requires preservatives, and the preservatives are the major cause for concern with regard to cancer, irritation, and environmental consequences. The harsh detergent as well as the silicone are responsible for why a lot of people think they have "bad hair." You don't have bad hair. You have bad shampoo.
Even that expensive salon shampoo may follow this guideline. Because of the inexpensive base, a thickener is needed for consistency. This is usually a petroleum product or other emollient originally used for industrial equipment. Then they sprinkle on top fragrances that can consist of thousands of other chemicals that may disrupt our central nervous system or hormones.

Green Grotto Approved Products:

Eliminate ingredients that have proven health risks and use green chemistry to determine natural alternatives to use in formulations. The goal is to create an effective product that is cost efficient for the consumer, not necessarily the product company. Diverse ingredient list contains names you can actually pronounce. They use ingredients with proven benefits instead of using cheap and widely available products of industry.

Consumers hold the power.

We are taught to passively accept information by product companies, because why would they lie? Our government protects us from harm. Wrong. I mean no harm by the previous statement. My intention is to highlight my original frame of mind and I think many individuals can relate. You'll get used to my sense of humor, I hope. We are unaware of the complex political and corporate mechanisms that determine what types of products are made, what they consist of, and who is the target audience.

The truth can be overwhelming. You have to develop risk assessment and research skills. There is misinformation even from companies that claim to be "green." Green companies may claim that their products are eco-friendly, or create an unnecessary fear of another ingredient or product, without supporting evidence. This is called "green-washing." I know, it is crazy. I went to college to try to sort this all out, and it is still complicated.

Please do not get discouraged. Every informed choice you make as a consumer makes a difference. By demanding ethical products, suppliers will have to adjust their practices. We have witnessed this over the past decade. I predict (or it is just hopeless optimism) that the assumption that our products are safe and ethically created, will become our reality as consumers in 10 years.

NOTE: a product with natural or organic on the label does not guarantee that the previously listed statements are true.

In fact, those words don't guarantee the product is safe for you. I know, it is complicated. My mission is to aid my clients in making healthier choices because I know how difficult it can be to find affordable products that work for the entire family. There is a lot of gray area when it comes to ingredient safety, ethical practices, and individual body chemistry. What works for one person may not work for others and we often have to weigh pros and cons of particular products.

I can attest to the fact that once you have introduced quality products, and eliminate harsh products, you will notice an increase in your quality of life. I cannot count the times that I ran out of a favored natural product and instantly regretted resorting to conventional products. I think to myself, "Well, what can it hurt?" and then I find out. Investing in quality products saves you money over time, and honestly you owe it to yourself. Organic doesn't need to be synonymous with expensive. Price is a huge factor in my decision making process. Some products are worth the investment, but again it comes down to what your individual needs are and how well that particular product can deliver results. Natural shampoos targeted for hair loss or oily scalps may contain more expensive ingredients which require a larger investment to achieve results. This is an example of the open discussion I like to have with my clients. I am not afraid to discuss budget and try to find products that fit within that budget. My ultimate goal is to reduce our impact on our environment and improve the quality of life for my guests.