More beauty, less waste

Nadia Eizadi, founder of Melbourne beauty salon Bat Your Lash, has been in the beauty industry for almost 20 years, and recently became aware of just how much wastage there is in the hair and beauty industry.

“We are always on the go, concerned about how much money we can make and not thinking enough about how much damage we are actually doing,” Nadia explains. “My priority became doing the right thing, loving what I do without harming the environment. I’m on a mission to re-educate others now, to not have your mind full but to ‘be’ mindful of the choices we make and you vote by how you spend your money.”

Nadia avoids plastic wherever possible and uses bamboo, glass and biodegradables instead, to reduce landfill and reduce toxins, while also being mindful of her suppliers and ensuring they are aligned with her ethos.

“I’m on a mission to re-educate others now, to not have your mind full but to ‘be’ mindful of the choices we make.”

“We work with Sustainable Salons to help us collect our waste and give it a second chance of life, whether that’s through arts and crafts, research, helping the homeless and sick and bettering our community,” Nadia says. “Half of this company’s workforce has disabilities, just knowing that, who wouldn’t want to support them?”

Nadia has had great feedback from her clients, though notices that a lot of people are unaware of the damage they are causing to our environment through quick, easy and cheap choices.

When asked how the beauty industry is making progress in embracing sustainability, Nadia is cautiously optimistic. “I’m slowly seeing salon owners make slight adjustments here and there,” she explains, warning, however, that the fact that it costs a bit extra to do the right thing – in this case, to be more eco-friendly – means not as many businesses as should take this path.

“It’s similar to junk food, it’s always quicker and cheaper than clean and organic meals,” Nadia says. “Yes, it costs slightly more but everybody benefits. So, the progress is only slow, but a small step forward is better than no steps at all.”

Nadia is wary of businesses that use sustainability as a buzzword, rather than really practising it. “It’s easy to say ‘clean beauty’ or ‘eco-friendly’ but when you look into it, what does that actually mean?” she asks. “There’s a lot you need to take into consideration, everything from the ingredients you use in products, the packaging those products come in, how they are made, what you’re using to clean your salon, the list goes on.” The key, Nadia says, is for salons to audit the products they are using daily and explore eco-friendly alternatives.

“In the beauty industry, that’s looking at plastics and swapping them for environmentally friendly solutions such as bamboo, glass or wood,” Nadia says. “Once you know what you’re looking for, research further into the companies who supply the products: are they local? Are they companies you want to support? Do more research on which companies supply those goods and go from there. Research is key!”

Mascara wands, lip applicators and cotton earbuds are in constant use at Bat Your Lash, so Nadia has made the conscious effort to swap the traditional plastic ones for those made of bamboo.

Struggling to find bamboo versions of some of the products that are integral to the salon, Nadia went the extra mile and created her own brand called – Pandoo – and has diversified into selling bamboo beauty tools alongside her core salon business.

This story first appeared in issue 26 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine.

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