Information for Green Salon

The hairdressing sector in Europe employs over one million people across 400,000 salons, with 350 million customers. Over the last few years the sector has gone through a great deal of changes, both on the supply side (new players, new forms of enterprise, increased number of self-employed, increased competition, etc.) and on the demand side (changing customer needs, consumer trends, price trends, etc.).

Green Salon Logo

The sector consists mainly of small businesses, with a high proportion of self-employed workers, mainly female, many of whom work part-time and stay in the sector for short periods of time. Workers are commonly mid-ranged qualified.


  • Growing amount of home-workers and budget salons
  • More attention to perception, customised service and flexibility, e.g. business hours
  • CSR (products and daily operations)
  • Due to the significant improvement of home used products, new niche markets are expanding: services with beauty and nail care, make-up, tanning beds, lifestyle and fashion.

Opportunities and threats

  • Attracting and retaining good staff is difficult
  • Better return by more attention to productivity by staff
  • Distinguish by being a specialist or by customised service or specific target group
  • Combinations of services such as hair, beauty and fashion
  • Add revenue by workshops for customers on skin and hair care, make-up, styling
  • Estimated costs of work-related (skin) diseases (e.g. allergies, asthma) in the EU is €5 billion a year
  • Influence of fashion bloggers on customers’ decisions and demands.


Due to economic crisis consumers go less and spend less money at the hairdresser, while the number of hairdressers (competition) is increasing. Hairdressers often have more affinity with knowledge, than with other business aspects, like attention to labour, health and safety, environment and marketing. In innovation, the hair and beauty sector is located at the bottom (number 45) of the rankings of 58 sectors.

Health and safety

Few salon visitors are aware of the risks to those working long and uninterrupted hours with water, chemicals, noise etc. which results in absences, lower productivity and exit from the sector. These problems can be challenged effectively by introducing measures which usually cost very little, such as the purchase and use of gloves, installing height-adjustable rotating chairs and non-slip flooring.


In the sector there are innovators (Green Salons) aware of the importance of sustainability. In education the attention mostly goes to technical aspects of hair and beauty. Hairdressing colleges could do far more to embed sustainability into their training programmes and thus deliver professionals who can make a difference.

In the Netherlands sustainability is not yet a top priority, but will be a topic in two to three years. In a previous Leonardo project, Green Salon owners from Scotland asked for guidelines on how to introduce sustainability stepwise. The Scandinavian countries have a certification system for Green Salons, but it is difficult; a step-stone-model would make it easier to start with sustainability.

The results of discussions with schools in Spain, Denmark, UK, Scotland, Malta and The Netherlands lead to these conclusions:

  1. Schools do not have the (right) knowledge and material to solve the problem(s) of sustainability in the companies.
  2. Companies get the possibility to gain knowledge on the subject of sustainability. Better health and safety and environment in a salon, means less risks, less costs (e.g. less sick-days) and thus increased turnover.
  3. Sustainability is also a way to have effective entrepreneurship. It can be used as strategic issue to give added value to customers and be more competitive.
  4. The sector is working on a low ICT level. Digitalisation is hardly used. A digital game gives a low-profile entrance to awareness and knowledge on sustainability.
  5. Sustainability is not a priority. Implementation of a management system, like sustainability can improve company management and lower costs.
  6. The innovators - Green Salons – are examples of best practices that can be used in education to share knowledge and experiences.

Against this background, co-financing of this proposed project by the EU would enable the participating partners to develop knowledge and tools that can be easily be implemented by schools and hair and beauty salons throughout Europe on an easy accessible level.

Why this project transnationally

Transnationally there is the possibility within this project to exchange knowledge on different levels among the partners. There are countries with more advanced knowledge in specific areas which others can benefit from. There are issues that play a role for all partners and in all partners’ countries and that have not yet been resolved. The different qualities that are present in the different countries, we can work with and use to find solutions and to develop means of implementation to solve those issues.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.