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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Salon and Spa’s Kinder Services: Experiencing Natural Beauty along the Emerald Coast

Nov 04, 2016 04:50AM ● By Diana Pereira

When it comes to health, what goes on the body is as important as what goes in it.

A recent study by Women’s Voices for the Earth warns that chemicals in standard salon products are dangerous to both salon professionals and clients alike. “Studies across the globe have found correlations between chemical exposures in salons and adverse health outcomes in employees,” said lead author Alexandra Scranton, WVE’s director of science and research.

The report compiles decades of research on the consistency of distinct health problems in the beauty and personal care industry. They include disproportionate rates of cancers; neurological diseases such as dementia and depression; immune diseases; birth defects; reproductive disorders, including a high rate of miscarriages; skin diseases; and asthma and other breathing problems. Workers in the industry, as well as their clientele, are routinely exposed to harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, methyl methacrylate, p-phenylenediamine and ammonium persulfate, as well as toluene, ammonia and methyl methacrylate, which are often found in the air of the salons.

Fortunately, a few pioneering spas and salons along the Gulf Coast use natural, organic products to deliver the desired results without the chemical dump atmosphere. 

Spa Navarre

“Upon discovering the negative health effects linked to numerous standard products, I wanted to offer the public an alternative healthy option to negate the myth that organic products cannot reach the same end effect,” says Jessica Glenn, owner of the Spa Navarre, ( whose services include nail care, facials, anti-aging treatments and massage.

Glenn says she switched to natural spa products primarily to give clients’ skin a break, as the skin is the body’s largest organ, and most people are bombarded by toxins on a daily basis. She customizes her standard facial to address her clients’ unique skin concerns—and she says they notice the difference that natural beauty products make in their skin.

She keeps up with the latest research in the natural beauty industry by regularly attending educational seminars, updating her products and services as she learns. Her latest favorite skin-care line is Farm House Fresh, which features products like Green Tea Milk wash, which helps correct damage from UV rays, and the highly antioxidant moisturizer Wine Down, both of which contain only natural ingredients. 

“If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t use it on your skin,” she says

Puregressive Salon

The same adage applies to hair-care products, including shampoos and conditioners, says Jamie McGowan, owner of Puregressive Salon, ( in Fort Walton Beach.

“The hair follicles on your scalp are wide open and ready to absorb the chemicals and toxins found in hair-care products,” she says. “Just think of all the unnatural products used over the course of a lifetime: box colors, perms, and things that burn your eyes, throat and hands.” 

Some of the most common chemicals found in beauty products—parabens, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and coal tar derivatives—are known toxins that have been linked to various illnesses, including cancer. While the FDA states that these chemicals aren’t dangerous in very low levels, McGowan’s concern, like that of many others in the beauty industry, is that the toxins can build up in the body, posing an unnecessary health risk.

Puregressive Beauty uses organic and natural hair-care products in which synthetic ingredients have been replaced with essential oils and natural cleansing agents. 

“These products have many advantages over their chemical counterparts,” McGowan says. “They aid in reducing the chances of irritation, allergic reaction, dandruff and hair loss, and they improve the overall health of the scalp and hair.”

She also incorporates high-quality essential oils in her salon’s services. “Whether it be by inhaling them, applying them directly to the skin via a stress-relieving scalp or hand massage, or simply diffusing them throughout the salon, oils have a healing effect mentally, emotionally and physically,” she says. “The overall health and well-being of our guest experience is our primary concern. We strive to do so all that while reducing the hazardous environmental impact.” 

Organic Concepts

At Le Vogue Salon, hairstylist Camy Gibson ( offers Organic Concepts, a healthier way to look and feel beautiful by using three ammonia-free, naturally derived, organic color lines—Organic Color Systems, Oway, and Original and Mineral. She says that using the three different color lines allows for superior customization to achieve many shades of natural color, and it leaves clients’ hair looking and feeling stronger.

“Stepping away from color that contains ammonia introduces you to truly healthier and shiny hair,” she says. “By removing the ammonia from hair color, it no longer contains harsh odors that can cause scalp sensitivity or burning. Long-term effects of using ammonia in hair color can lead to respiratory, allergy and cancer related issues.” 

With these natural product lines, she says, the color lasts longer, so touch-ups may not have to be applied as frequently, reds do not fade as quickly and the gray coverage is superior, and the lighteners used for blond hair are ammonia-free and gentle, resulting in little or no breakage. “This can allow a client to go lighter while maintaining the strength and integrity of their hair,” she says.

While there’s no scientific research proving that ammonia-free color results in thicker hair, Gibson says some of her clients report that their hair has become fuller—definitely a change for the better.

Customers who book a hair service with Le Vogue Salon get to experience Doterra essential oils as part of the package. Gibson diffuses the oils in her stylist room, offers all her customers a glass of lemon oil and water, and incorporates essential oils into the hair treatment process.

“After a shampoo, I’ll wrap the client’s head in a hot towel with the aroma of lavender oil to help her relax,” she says. “I’ll follow that with a soothing hand massage, rubbing in a drop of peppermint oil for her to breathe in and slowly awaken and bring her back to her senses. And that’s all before she begins her haircut or blow-dry finish. I want all my guests to come in and relax, and to leave feeling healthy, stress-free and beautiful.” 

These Gulf Coast experts concur: when it comes to health, what goes on the body is as important as what goes in it.

Diana Pereira is a community educator on the dangers of conventional body care and household product use. Check for local classes on these topics and others along the journey to better health at

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