The organic trend hits Howard County hair salons

  • Kathleen Lauer, owner of Inspire Salon, styles the hair of Carla Jacobsen of Burtonsville. Inspire uses organic, fair trade, cruelty-free and environmentally focused hair products.
Kathleen Lauer, owner of Inspire Salon, styles the hair of Carla… (Brian Krista / Baltimore…)
September 30, 2014|Valerie Bonk | For The Baltimore Sun

From fruits and vegetables to meat and cheese, organic foods are in high demand. But what about organic highlights?

The trend has hit Howard County, with some local salons either switching their product lines or opening up to cater to the organic-minded customer.

“It scared me a little bit,” says Dawn Symonds, owner of DMS Organic Salon on Oella Avenue in Ellicott City, about her switch to organic products seven years ago.

Symonds says she’s never looked back after making the decision to go natural. After a trip to Vancouver, Canada, she learned of organic salon products that can do the same things that chemical products can do without the harmful components, and she decided to take the plunge.

Her salon offers only nontoxic products that are 100 percent formaldehyde-free, ammonia-free, PDD- and PDT-free (chemicals derived from petroleum products and commonly used in hair dye), and not tested on animals.

“I can always see ammonia color on blondes,” she says. “You don’t get that with organic.”

Kathleen Lauer opened Inspire in the Turf Valley Shopping Center in Ellicott City last fall. Her organic salon has aimed to keep everything organic since it opened its doors.

“I chose an organic focus for Inspire Salon because I believe it is important for our health and the health of the environment to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible in everything we do,” Lauer says. 

The products at Inspire are organic, fair trade, cruelty-free and environmentally focused. The building itself is targeted toward the cause, too, with LED energy-saving lights throughout the salon. Customers are even served organic coffee and tea.

Lauer says her move to organic was prompted by her experiences with the long-term effects of toxic products on both customers and salon employees.

“Throughout my career, I have seen hair damage and skin irritation caused by these chemicals,” she says. “I have been able to eliminate these issues by using organic and natural ingredients. All of my employees and clients are at a lower risk of experiencing common irritations and possible life-threatening illnesses.”

Ellicott City resident Brittany Budden says she seeks the organic hair products to protect not only herself but the environment as well.

“My product regimen is as chemical-free as possible as I believe it is best for my health and our planet to avoid toxins,” she says.

For Haley Cohen of Columbia, organic products are what work best on her curls.

“I have found that it controls my curls and keeps them soft and manageable,” she says. “Products like Suave and Garnier Fructis just don’t work the same.”

Symonds says she’s seen a difference in her health after making her salon switch to organic.

“My fingers don’t get dried out, and there’s no buildup on my hands,” she says. “Yes, you have to unlearn things and learn a new way of working and training yourself to use new products, but it’s well worth the improvements organic can have on your life.”  

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