I am so utterly psyched to actually make it into the greenest and cutest hair salon, Primrose Organics, in LA. I had heard of them a year prior and the buzz was good, but I had never actually been in. I called one of the owners, Melissa, a week prior, as I had two issues I wanted to discuss. I’d recently had a bunch of emails from readers asking about non-toxic hair color that was as good as what they were used to. The other burning question was about hair-straightening/smoothing treatments. A few readers had tried and loved the Brazilian Blowout, but due to the recent classification of formaldehyde as a carcinogen, were understandably freaking out.
Let’s first talk about the salon. The dynamic due, Melissa & Felicia, greeted me as I walked into hairdresser heaven. A girl with green leanings would feel totally at home at Primrose Organics. I was actually dizzy with excitement, as I recognized many of the hair care brands which I know and love, and a few I don’t. The salon is adorable in an old-fashioned kind of way. It has a sort of shabby chic/eccentric feel. Melissa explained that rather than spending a fortune on “sustainable” furniture, she and Felicia had scoured Craig’s List for antique dressers and shelves. The result is enchanting, as each station is characterized by a slightly different art-deco style of dresser.
There was no weird chemical odor at all, as every single product they use is green. That being said, they’re not eco-zealots because they want their clients to have as good a result as they would in a conventional salon. We all know that green hair care products can be useless, drying and ineffective, so I was really interested to see what they had on offer.
Melissa had a lot to say about hair color, which I was interested in because I have had bleach highlights in my hair for virtually all of my grown-up life. I’m not proud of the fact, but justify the process by knowing that the bleach doesn’t actually touch my scalp. Still bleach is bleach, so I’d classify this as one of my eco-sins for sure. Melissa and Felicia have found a way of lightening hair, which has convinced me to give it a go. They’ve turned brunettes into platinum blondes in one session (I saw the iPhone photos to prove it,) so when I next need my highlights done, I’ll be heading over to Primrose, and I’ll fill you in on exactly what they use and how it turned out.
On to the the hair straightening. I was up for giving this a whirl. I have hair that can go either way. I can blow dry it stick straight, which takes a a tedious half hour, or I can let it air dry into somewhat frizzy waves. I love the natural look, but don’t love the frizz, so if I could have a non-toxic smoothing treatment, which would lesson my styling time and allow for a frizz-free air dry, I was in.
Primrose Organics uses the KeraGreen Treatment, which has been tested for formaldehyde, the results of have satisfied me for the moment: it would basically take 842 KeraGreen treatments to equal the amount of formaldehyde in one banana! Melissa kindly handed me a packet with all the lab reports and certifications in it.
The gorgeous stylist Megan washed my hair and then applied the treatment, which smelled like apple candy. We then proceeded with a the long process, sitting under a dryer, of blow-drying and then straightening, which was made tolerable by my delightful surroundings. The treatment didn’t burn, sting my eyes or irritate me in anyway. Now the thing I didn’t like at all is that you have to keep the product in your hair once straight, and not wash it out for 3-4 day!! Ugh – that was almost intolerable as day 4, even my husband was appalled. That said, it’s a small price to pay for a treatment which is 100% safer than other straightening treatments. The result after washing is great. My hair is not stick straight, but rather “smoothed” over. I still need to blow-dry it but only for about 10 minutes. I wonder how long it will last, but so far so good and will keep you posted.
Primrose organics offers manicures with a line of polishes that I adore called Pritti Nails. The colors are just adorable, so you can enjoy a fume-free mani/pedi, which even uses soy polish remover.
Primrose has a great selection of professional hair care products, all of which met my strict criteria. Felicia and Melissa are obsessed with finding products which really perform well. Each stylist in the salon has her favorite, so I was interested to find out what they were. Because stylists wash hair day in, day out, they’re often a wealthy of information about product (especially if they’re not trying to sell you anything.) Favorites included: The Shear Miracle Line, Simply Organics Shampoo’s & John Master’s Lavender & Avocado Conditioner.
I just wish that you all had a Primrose Organics Hair Salon in your city. Its worth looking around to see if there is a salon near you which offers healthier alternatives for your hair, as all the conventional chemicals could hurt you, the salon staff, and the environment. Be particularly vigilant about finding somewhere safe if you have allergies and/or you’re pregnant.
I’m just so grateful that Melissa and Felicia had the courage to start up their own eco-friendly business in the midst of a recession. They opened their doors just as the economy tanked a couple of years ago, but they kept going strong regardless. Felicia had owned a regular salon previously, but had started to suffer form cracked and irritated hands and respiratory problems, due to the terrible air quality in the salon. Melissa had worked for a “natural” skin care company, which she realized wasn’t really walking the walk. They put their head and resources together and decided to create a safe and beautiful salon.
Now it’s tough to get an appointment, which is just fantastic because it shows there’s a strong market for healthy/non-toxic hair treatments. They’re a wonderful example to me of women who got fed up of not living their deepest values, and so despite it not being the ideal time, they decided to follow their hearts and take a risk. I couldn’t be happier for them.