Photo via Va.se
O.K. it's officially a trend. Sweden is already a country a little obsessed with hair and haircuts - in spite of generally steep-seeming prices at salons - and it's already been noted that even though there's a recession on, Swedes aren't cutting into their trend toward buying organic goods.
That is translating into a growth spurt for ecological salons - now numbering 30 - and stylists calling themselves "organic." What does that mean, exactly?
"Natural haircare" is not just a slogan in Sweden - it's an education - a course stylists can take to learn about how to make their salons more eco-friendly. Sometimes the impetus for stylists was ecological - to have a salon that would tread more lightly on the earth - while in other cases stylists got ill from the chemicals they were using. At least 30 stylists are already up and running, according to the Ecoshoppa web site, most of them having started as regular hair-cutters and turned eko going throughKerstin Strömberg's course in Southern Sweden.
What nearly all these organic stylists have in common is their efforts to cut the ammonia and other chemicals that are the life blood of regular salons. One of the earlier salons in the southern city of Malmö, Manatura, has a handy list of all the chemicals commonly used in hair products and what their relative toxicity may be. Instead, eko stylists try and concentrate on using herbal concoctions in the place of harsh dyes, and even to replace regular shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, and gel. Many of them use clay instead of bubble-inducing shampoo. When they color hair, midnight black and bright blonde are two colors that are hard to reproduce with natural products, but other brown and red tones are somewhat easier.
Scissors only, and a long head massage
But eschewing chemicals aren't the only marks of the organic stylist. There's also a trend toward starting a regular hair cut with up to 30 minutes of head massage, partly to get the circulation going. That is followed by a cut that is primarily scissors only, as eko stylists feel using a razor or clippers can damage the hair.