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Less toxic hair salons

Street haircut

By Jon Wick (originally posted to Flickr as Sidewalk Cut) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I haven’t had a hair trim in three years. I haven’t had a real stylish haircut in over five years. Not because I was growing my hair out, or didn’t have the cash. The reason I haven’t had a real haircut in so long is that I have reactive airway disease (RADS) and I am intolerant of chemicals and the fragrances you find in abundance in a typical hair salon. My lungs are so reactive to synthetic chemicals and organic essential oils that I can’t even do as they do in Vietnam (see photo above) and get my haircut outside by someone who works in a salon and/or uses scented body care products. I am considering taking the plunge and trying to cut my hair myself, but recently did a search online for less toxic hair salons and stylists to see if I could find any near me and was surprised to find quite a few across the country, which I list below by state.

These are not scent-free salons, but most of them seem to have an awareness of chemical sensitivity and a focus on organic, chemical free hair care products. Many do use products with natural essential oils so the salon environment won’t be entirely “safe” for someone like me. But these are good places to start looking if you are chemically sensitive and in desperate need of a haircut. Maybe one of the stylists can cut your hair outside if the salon is not tolerable to you.

I hope that other less toxic salon owners and fragrance free stylists will list their websites in the comments section below.

Purettues Hair Salon Maricopa
(480) 861-0290
Pure Salon Scottsdale
“After years of using toxic salon products, we found that there are healthy alternatives. Our mission is to make you aware that you can get the same results with non toxic color, lighteners, and even a 100% natural thermal straightener without the harmful side effects.”
The Sanctuary Tucson
“The Santuary appeals especially to women and men who are chemically sensitive or suffer from allergies. All of our treatments are cutom blends of essential oils, herbs, and organic fruits and vegetables. Our hair colors, for example, are made of vegetable matter, and our permanent solutions are made of natural enzymes. We employ aromatherapy and make evry effort to create a serene atmosphere.”
Elemental Salon Albany
“run by 2 women, both committed to not using chemicals in their business”
Florescence Berkeley
“Because we are non-toxic AND private we can also provide a wonderful experience for those that otherwise would not be able to visit the usual salon environment: pregnant or nursing mothers, clients with mild chemical sensitivities, those who would benefit from a private or quiet setting.”
Great Haircuts by Lucille Northwest Suburbs of Chicago
“MCS Cosmetologist looking for clients in the Chicagoland area, preferably northwest suburbs. 22 years of experience, I do haircuts only – in a safe environment free of chemicals and typical salon pollution. I do excellent hair cuts- specializing in men haircuts and creative short haircuts for women. I can be reached at Website coming soon.”
My Organic Salon Rockville
“Welcome to a healthier salon experience, free of the toxic chemical products typically found in other hair salons…A salon environment that is safe for those with chemical sensitivities or other health related concerns. My Organic Salon does not use products with synthetic fragrance or abrasive chemicals.”
Nurturing You Beyond Organic SalonSpa Minneapolis
“Nurturing You Beyond Organic Salon Spa’s unique toxin-free environment stands alone in the Twin Cities and provides an alternative for those with chemical sensitivities, as well as for those who are making the conscious choice to use organic products and services.”

New Jersey
Verde Salon Collingswood
“The space was constructed with painstaking attention to environmentally friendly details. Low or no-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints and finishes were used to drastically improve air quality and safety, especially for people with chemical sensitivities.”
New York
Grace Heaven Salon NYC
“A salon where beautiful cuts and color peacefully coexist with the best in natural hair care. Synthetic fragrances and toxic ingredients have no place in our salon, but don’t think we’re a dippy patchouli palace; style’s still our obsession.
The brands we choose to use are gentle, fume-free, and ideal for people with chemical sensitivities or color junkies concerned about their hair’s health. One of our herbal color lines can even be safely used by pregnant women.”
North Carolina
Mind Body Spirit Salon Raleigh
“Currently I have been able to start incorporating the next steps of my visions, blending professional quality services and products with non-toxic in mind. Not an easy feat, but I believe it is so important to start looking in this direction and working toward controlling the chemicals in our personal environment. Even if most people can’t eliminate the majority of excess chemicals they are exposed to (and I am one of them), every little bit helps especially if it comes in direct contact with our skin.
I look forward to continually expanding my business and visions toward an alternative salon and healing center that maintains the peaceful relaxing environment where my clients come first and the exploration of beneficial processes and products to restore balance to our mind, body and spirit. “
Eco Salon Eugene
“After working in unhealthy settings for too many years, two sisters suffering chemical sensitivities decided to open a salon that defied the toxic norm.  The result is a relaxing and positive atmosphere with superior salon air quality and more eco friendly hair care products and services.”
Gilly’s Salon Portland
“…a nasty chemical free salon is an awesome thing for delicate flowers like me, who having multiple chemical sensitivities.”
Chadwicks Chemically Sensitive Salon Mountlake Terrace
“I did a lot of research to create a safer salon environment. Everything had to be taken into consideration: salon products, remodeling materials, water and air filtration, and much more. I now offer a full line of salon services, using nontoxic hair and skin care products. The shampoos and conditioners are natural. The perms and colors I use contain no inorganic or poisonous ingredients.”
Bliss Organic Salon Monroe
“Gentle hair services for the health conscious and chemically sensitive.”
Pure Joy Ottawa
“If you have chemical-sensitivities, are sensitive to fragrance, are serious about stepping lightly on the earth, or just want healthier hair, consider Pure Joy for your hair-styling needs in Ottawa.”
JuJu Beauty Vancouver
“If you have chemical-sensitivities, are sensitive to fragrance, are serious about stepping lightly on the earth, or just want healthier hair, consider JUJU for your hair-styling needs in Vancouver.”

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  • Randy

    April 7, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Thanks Julie! Here’s one in Taos, New Mexico: Shear Freedom @ (575) 751-3543. Cindy is a one-person salon who is chemical and fragrance-free and she just cuts hair :)

  • earthwalker

    April 7, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Great, Randy! Maybe I will have to come to Taos to get a haircut!! ;-)

  • Luisa

    April 9, 2011 at 1:44 am

    i need a fragrance free stylist in the Toronto area that can cut my long hair….anyone?

  • Suz

    April 9, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Thanks a bunch for this great article and the Minnesota suggestion. In nearly three years I’ve had only two haircuts for similiar reasons. The haircut in 2008 was in the parking lot of the salon I used prior to EI. While in Dallas last year, the lovely Delia visited the condo where I was staying and did a great job. I would just suggest using your own sheet instead of her cape as there was a bit of scent on that. Contact information can be found at:

  • Rebecca

    April 12, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Hi Julie, Randy and other MCS friends;

    This is a really important topic, thanks for bringing it up for discussion! I have struggled with this issue too, ever since becoming chemically sensitive almost 6 years ago. I’ve managed to patchwork together a couple of solutions for myself, which are not perfect but are much better than the alternative, that is, sitting in a toxic hair salon, which I really would not be able to tolerate.

    The person who cut my hair for several years at my local Aveda Salon (before it became too scented for me) cuts my hair at her home, usually outside on her back-patio. I admit to the fact that I do get blonde highlighting a few times a year, I just can’t quite give it up:) So I have a different hair-coloring person who does the highlights for me in as safe and chemical free a manner as possible. I found her in our local “green pages” directory (San Francisco Bay area). I see from the above listings that there are several others in our geographic area, which is very encouraging.

    I have been surprised that there aren’t more salons doing this kind of work, given how highly toxic the hair-treatment process (and hence, cutting) is for both the employees and the patrons. But it sounds like there is some progress being made…good thing!

  • Lisa

    April 19, 2011 at 7:48 am

    I’ve been cutting my own hair for years. You get the hang of it after a while. Though sometimes it could still be hit or miss. I’ve done it even before I was chemically sensitive – when I just didn’t like the snottyness of salons anymore. It would feel weird to me now to have strangers cutting my hair.

  • Candice

    June 30, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Plum Organic Beauty in San Francisco, CA

  • Asa

    June 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Salon Verve in Traverse City, MI

  • Nancy

    July 2, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I was incredibly lucky to find Vicki’s Wash & Wear in Ann Arbor, Michigan:

    She owns a small gallery/gift shop and does ‘wash and wear cuts’ right in downtown Ann Arbor. So, she doesn’t shampoo your hair OR use ANY styling products whatsoever–no spray, gels, nothin’ which makes me a very happy camper :0)

  • Jenn Archbold

    August 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    hi all,

    I just had a call from a woman who saw my salon listed on this website. I didn’t even know about this and was glad to find the resource. We also connected because she is wanting to start her own up and I was very happy to share my 20+ years of experience in alternative and non-toxic haircare. So thanks for being a valuable resource! By the way, Elemental is my old salon and no longer functioning. Its now florescence Designs. Thanks! Jenn

  • Stelios

    November 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    ReCreations Salon
    The hair color salon in NJ

    Ammonia free certified Permanent Color, does not contain resorcinol, formaldehyde, or p-toluenediamine

    Organic Color Systems does not contain ammonia, resorcinol, formaldehyde, or p-toluenediamine (2,5 diamine toluene or 4-Methoxytoluene-2,5-diamine as banned by the European Union CAS No. 56496-88-9) or any other ingredient banned from use in professional hair color by any Government Authority regulating our ingredients. Our hair color has been specifically formulated to be the most natural, organic, and cruelty-free

  • Donna McCarthy

    September 21, 2015 at 12:49 pm


    My name is Donna and I am offering hair cuts for people with MCS in the Boulder, Denver areas. I would travel as far as Fortcollins if necessary.

    I too have fairly sever MSC brought on from working in the hair industry along with mold exposures in Seattle and Minnesota.

    I started my as a stylist in Minneapolis with Aveda/Horst and also worked in Santa Fe NM both in high end salons. I have great references as well.

    I have a safe space to cut in in Boulder area and am very willing to go to peoples homes as well.

    Currently, I do not use products on the hair. As of now I do not do color either. There is on that I am looking into but am not convinced that it is possible.

    Please feel free to give me a call or send text at 970 980 9088 or email at

    May we all find our way back to wonderful health and vitality.

    Donna McCarthy

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