Home » Blending beauty with sustainability: Boho Salon, leading beauty’s green transformation in the UAE

Blending beauty with sustainability: Boho Salon, leading beauty’s green transformation in the UAE

by Madaline Dunn

From the B Corp brands that line its product shelves to its water-saving shower heads, sustainability and circularity are woven into the fabric of Boho Salon’s operations. 

A sustainability-driven salon, it opened the doors of its first branch in Abu Dhabi in 2020, built on the philosophy that haircare should celebrate both the beauty of people and the planet. 

Since then, the brand has expanded into Dubai, where its latest location in Arjan offers the same blend of beauty and sustainability. 

Mission-driven & game-changing 

In the open-plan bohemian-styled salon, a welcoming space featuring woven chairs and light fixtures, feathered installations and green touches, Lucy Palmer, Salon Manager and Artistic Director, shared with ESG Mena the salon’s mission and guiding principles.

Palmer explained that in a city of glitz and glamour, Boho strives to do everything in its power to be sustainable, vegan, and cruelty-free, from nails and hair care to skin treatments and waxing. 

Priding itself on sourcing locally and supporting regional brands, even the coffee customers sip on during their visit is from Raw, an ethically sourced, organic supplier. Those coffee grounds are even used as fertiliser for Boho’s potted plants and front-yard cabbage patch, where the team grows the herbs, fruits and vegetables that flavour customers’ drinks. 

Stocking sustainable brands is at the heart of Boho, and Palmer highlighted Davines, a B Corp-certified beauty brand, as one of the brands it’s proud to champion.

“Their packaging is completely plastic-free; it’s carbon neutral,” Palmer said, adding that its colour particles are the “only colour particles that biodegrade and don’t cause clogging.”

Innersense, meanwhile, was described by Palmer as the “purest brand you can imagine,” a completely vegan brand that uses plastic-free packaging and is tailored to those with sensitivities and allergies. Jessicurl, Palmer explained, is another B Corp brand that the salon stocks, specifically catered to curly hair, with a philosophy of transparency with regard to the ingredients it uses.

Indeed, when it comes to the industry more broadly, it’s not known for its transparency. Many are unaware of the use of harsh chemicals, toxic formulas, and animal-derived ingredients in many mainstream brands’ products.

Embedding sustainability into every facet of beauty

But beyond the brands it chooses, Boho Salon’s approach to sustainability is deeply thought-out. It uses Paper Not Foil, a recycled and sustainable foil alternative for hair dying, organic, Fairtrade and biodegradable towels, eco-capes, and ECOHEADS Shower Heads, which cut water use by over 60 per cent. 

This approach to minimising waste across the spectrum is crucial in an industry synonymous with waste.

Data from Green Circle, which looked at the North American and Canadian salon industry, for example, found that it produces 877 pounds (397kg) of waste per minute, and a significant portion of this goes straight to landfill.

Alongside circular principles and a no-waste approach, Palmer explained that water saving is front of mind at the salon, too. 

The water from the salon’s basins is captured, and after being processed through a Purunity filter, it’s repurposed and can be used as drinking water. 

This is key in the UAE, where water scarcity is an intensifying issue and water conservation is an increasing priority, as one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. 

Community-powered collaboration & knowledge sharing 

Aside from serving up a daily dose of sustainability, the salon is also facilitating knowledge-sharing events, community-powered collaborations, and talks empowering women-led, sustainability-focused businesses.

“We do a lot of talks because we have such a big space,” Palmer explained, “We do coffee mornings, with women bringing in their brands. We’ve had pre and postnatal mental health awareness sessions. We’ve had vegan coaches starting off in their journey, and we’ve had lots of events on sustainability to do collaborations with local sustainable companies as well.”

This has all been achieved in the few short months that Boho Salon Dubai has been open. 

“We are trying to do our small bit in our tiny little industry to do better,” said Palmer, adding: “Sustainability has such a huge variety of avenues, and what we can do, we do.”

Small changes, big impact

While these individual components might be seen as small changes, together, they have a big impact, and Boho Salon is leading by example: “What we’re doing makes a difference,” said Palmer. 

Part of this difference is instilling the message that beauty is both on the inside and the outside, and Palmer outlined that a big part of the salon’s mission is helping women find their self-confidence and recognise their beauty.  

“Women leave ten times happier than when they came in,” said Palmer, but noted that this isn’t just due to the haircuts they’ve booked or treatments they’ve had.

Palmer said that providing a space where women can talk, relax, and find time for themselves is both healing and a boost for customers’ confidence.

“Nine times out of ten, all you do is listen,” said Palmer, explaining that oftentimes, the beauty industry thinks that just providing nail treatments, attaching hair extensions, or applying makeup is enough. Indeed, Palmer stressed that communication and checking in on clients are essential to the services Boho Salon provides.

The salon’s approach to hair and beauty is undoubtedly a holistic one, which prioritises high-quality services and results, while centring people and the planet. 

Palmer also shared the salon’s hopes for becoming the first B Corp-certified salon in the UAE and forecasted an exciting time ahead for the industry. 

“It’s going to be pretty epic, and I really hope that we can be the first B Corp salon in the UAE. That would elevate so much of what we’re doing to the next level, and hopefully, people would follow in our footsteps.”

“If at least one more salon can do exactly the same, it’s going to benefit tenfold.”

“It will open up a lot because it will change the way we’re working, the way we’re doing hair, the way we’re viewing beauty,” added Palmer. 

By Madaline Dunn, Lead Journalist, ESG Mena

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