NEWTON, NJ – When Colleen Decker opened Salon FiG three-and-a-half years ago, she did so with the premise that there were better ways to do things for herself, the guests to her salon, and her staff.
After years of working in non-organic salons, Decker evaluated the health concerns with being surrounded by volatile ingredients.
“We are in an industry that is toxic soup, that we’re inhaling and touching,” Decker said.
She has known salon owners in their 20’s, who have developed breast cancer, those who have had respiratory difficulties from inhaling fumes from a particular popular keratin treatment application, and has met nail technicians with lesions inside their nasal cavities and lungs, from taking in the vapors from nail products day after day, and year after year.
“There’s no reason for it,” Decker said.
Her father, who worked as a contractor, passed away from cancer nine years ago.
“I didn’t want my kids to go through that,” Decker said.
Two-and-a-half years ago, Salon FiG transitioned to a fully organic salon.
“This was the creation of the wheel,” Decker said of the process of becoming a completely organic salon.
And for the members of her staff as well, Decker wanted a safe working environment, especially with all of them now at the age when they are starting their own families, Decker has looked at keeping her staff healthy.
When a guest or staff member walks into Salon FiG, located at 75 Sparta Avenue, a person is not greeted by the invisible wall of chemicals that may be wafting in the air at some salons. Instead, the air, and atmosphere overall, are calming and positive, with no harsh odors.
The positivity is also reflective in the acronym that FiG stands for, meaning, “Faith in God.”
“It’s what allows the salon to be what it is today, and what will continue to help it grow tomorrow, and a long time to come,” the salon’s website reads.
Decker and members of her staff, including Christina, Becky, and Ashlee, have a different approach when welcoming guests into their salon, and clients from out of the county (Morris County and beyond), and even out of the state from New York and Pennsylvania, flock to Salon FiG, for the service, and products.
“We are very busy,” said Decker.
Every product is fully tested by Decker and her staff before it is used on a guest, or placed for sale in their salon.
What are some of the ingredients Decker and her staff will avoid the use of, and, suggest their guests do the same?
Products with ammonia are never used in the salon. Products with formaldehyde are other products Salon FiG avoids; formaldehyde is a deadly compound, which can be found in small amounts in many places, including BHT, a preservative in foods, and is also within furniture, and automobiles.
“You’re breathing it every day,” said Decker of formaldehyde.
Paraben and thylates (Phtalates) are other ingredients Decker advises people should steer clear of, and are hormone interrupters, that are preservatives and plastics, often used in many health care products. Unfortunately, both are in products people use daily, including makeup, hairspray, shampoo, and conditioners. On an average, Decker said individuals use approximately 12 products with both ingredients in them, seven days weekly, with adverse effects, and a building up within a person's body after regular use.
“For kids going through puberty [by using products with hormone interrupters], it’s terrible,” said Decker. “Menopause is also happening to women way ahead of time.”
How does a person make the switch from using products with volatile ingredients, to organic products? Decker said even if it is switching one product at a time, it will make a difference, for a person's overall health.
In terms of products Salon FiG offers, Decker said the salon offers everything from hair care items, sun blocks, makeup, deodorant, and more.
“If we don’t have it, we can find it for you,” Decker said.
One product line that Salon FiG carries is Lola’s Natural Alternatives, a product line founded in Newton by aromatherapist, Stephanie Ghostkeeper, including natural skincare, soap, bath and body oil, lip balm, all-natural room sprays, deodorants, and children’s products. Not only is Salon FiG offering this healthy product line, but is making an effort to be sustainable by using a local supplier.
Salon FiG carries the Jane Iredale line of makeup, along with makeup application lessons should a guest like assistance with learning color application. This gives Salon FiG’s guests an opportunity to try the products before purchase, to color match products to a person’s skin tone, as well as their color personality.
Original Sprout is another product line that Salon FiG carries, which is geared towards the salon’s younger guests. All organic, the Original Sprout line even includes organic rosemary in its shampoos, an ingredient that deters lice and other insects, often a worry for young children in schools.
Scotch Naturals nail polish is a water-based polish, which is long lasting, and comes in all the trendy, seasonal shades, with no aldehydes, or acetones. Scotch Naturals is what Salon FiG uses for the natural nail manicures, and also has for sale in the salon.
Salon FiG rounds out their service as well by using environmentally-friendly cleaning products in the salon, which are also safe for the environment, while keeping the salon clean.
“Everybody wants instant gratification,” said Decker of how people typically would like a quick fix, when it comes to their looks.
By seeking that instant gratification, many times the solutions are found in the products that contain volatile ingredients. However, by making a switch to more health-friendly, and environmentally-friendly products, a person can achieve the look they would like, healthfully.
“It doesn’t happen overnight,” said Decker.
When a person switches away from unhealthy products, the body can go through a detox, Decker explained, when the toxins are excreting themselves from a person's body. Skin can, for example, breakout initially, when first switching to organic products. That is because skin is not being allowed to breathe when being blocked with plastics and synthetics. Those toxins are absorbed through the skin, and once a person makes a switch, the body is then given the chance to expel any absorbed toxins.
“If you colored your hair with ammonia products, you’ll have to get it out,” said Decker.
Not only is it about making the switch to an organic color, it is about cutting away at the hair that still has the ammonia in it, which will take time for that hair to grow out.
Salon FiG offers many of the services that non-organic salons do, including hair services for women, men and children. These services include: haircuts and styling, various types of organic coloring (single process, highlights, specialty color, creative custom coloring, and corrective color), vegan smoothing treatments, curl and straightening systems, and hair extensions. Waxing services (eyebrow design and cleanup, lip, chin, and full face) are available for guests. Makeup application and lessons are another option, as well as natural nail manicures.
Expert bridal and special occasion services round out the menu too. With the bridal division, guests can come to Salon FiG on their wedding day, or Salon FiG can travel to the location, within an hour’s distance. Salon FiG also sells locally made wedding jewelry.
Salon FiG additionally gives back to the community by volunteering their time by giving back to school haircuts at Project Self-Sufficiency, and participating in other community events, such as tricky trays, cancer foundations, and more.
“It’s about being in the community, and part of the community,” Decker said.
Clients who are cancer survivors, and those who have suffered allergies may go to Salon FiG for their services, and find, other products and processes may not have worked for them in other places, and work for them now. But any client who is looking to maintain their looks through the use of healthy techniques and products, is welcome to be one of Salon FiG’s guests.
“We have a good base of nice people, we think of it as a family atmosphere, and we treat every guest like family,” Decker said.
Salon FiG is open Monday through Saturday, on Mondays and Tuesdays until 8 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays until 6 p.m., and Saturdays until 3 p.m. Additional evening hours and bridal consultations are by appointment. Appointments overall are suggested for all services. Call (973) 300-4247 (HAIR).
Click here for Salon FiG’s website.
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