Buying an air purifier for hair salons

According to an overview by the European Commission, theair purifier demand for hairdressing in Europe is one of the largest in the world: in Italy alone, there is approximately one hairdresser for every 400 inhabitants1. As a result of daily exposure to cosmetic chemicals, hairdressing is one of the most at-risk professions when it comes to exposure to indoor air pollutants and poor indoor air quality (IAQ). This puts both hairdressing professionals and customers at risk of negative health effects daily. Which chemicals are the most harmful for these individuals? How can an air purifier for hair salons help? Read on to learn more.

A woman getting her hair done at a hair salon

Hair salons: a high-risk area

A hair salon is a place where people go for hair and other cosmetic treatments. Whilst types of treatments and services offered vary depending upon the salon, one thing remains consistent: customers leave feeling refreshed. In the UK, demand for hairdressing has increased in the past decade. In 2015, there were 10,000 registered hair salons throughout the country, a number that jumped all the way up to 43,000 in 20182.

Sources of air pollution in hair salons

Unfortunately, inside a hair salon, the breathing air in the space consists of a cocktail of airborne chemicals. Additionally, most hair salons do not have sufficient ventilation, creating the perfect storm for indoor air pollution. Products used for hair care and treatments may include those used for cleaning (shampoos, conditioners, powders, and lotions), for hairstyling (ointments, oils, lacquers, gels, hairsprays, and brilliantines), and for changing hair’s colour and texture (bleaches, dyes, and treatments for straightening and curling)1.

All of these products have a different chemical make-up. Over 5000 substances are contained within the EU Inventory of Cosmetic Ingredients, and a hairdresser may be exposed to over 100 of them on a typical day. According to a 2021 study, 56% of hairdressers work over 10 hours per day, and 45% work the whole week, creating an environment where exposure to chemicals is nearly constant3. Exposure typically occurs through the skin and respiratory system1.

The air pollutants and particles found in hair salons that are known to cause the most danger to employee and customer health are:

  • Benzene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Toluene
  • Acetaldehyde
  • Ethylbenzene
  • Xylene4

Indoor air is significantly more polluted than outdoor air, usually between 2 and 5 times but sometimes up to 100 times or more if polluting products are being used.

Dangers to health caused by poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in hair salons

Multiple researchers have targeted their studies on uncovering the extent of the negative health impacts due to indoor air pollution in hair salons. Each study found that cosmetic products used in hair salons emit significant levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and fine particulate matter, specifically PM10. Each also reported that the concentration of air pollution was substantially higher in the hair salons than outdoors as seen in the chart below.

Indoor air pollutant concentrations in a hair salon

Source 4

Regarding the above list of air pollutants and particles found in hair salons, benzene and formaldehyde are both known carcinogens in humans. Formaldehyde is notably linked to nasal and lung cancers. Toluene leads to irritation of the skin, mucus membranes, eyes, and respiratory system. The remaining ingredients are all known to cause various irritations of the nose, throat, respiratory system, skin, vomiting, nausea, and headaches5.

Volatile organic compounds and PM levels in hair salons pose significant problems for employees and customers. One study identified more than 50 VOCs in hair salons and PM levels that far exceeded the WHO’s guidelines for indoor air pollutants2. This same study published a list of negative health effects that are caused by VOCs found in hair salons including:

  • Cancer risk (lung, kidneys, liver, bladder, urothelial, leukemia, multiple myeloma)
  • Respiratory irritation
  • Allergic reactions
  • Skin rashes/dermatitis
  • Odour hypersensitivity
  • Nausea/dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Neurological indications
  • Reproductive effects like infertility or heightened risk of miscarriage2

When the release of chemicals and particles in hair salons is combined with poor ventilation, concentrations of indoor air pollutants reach extremely harmful levels. Moreover, staff members and customers may unintentionally bring in biological pollutants and allergens like pet dander, mould spores, pollen, dust and dust mites, and bacteria and viruses like COVID-19, all of which may be transmitted to other individuals.

A woman getting her hair done at a hair salon

Occupational asthma in hair salons

In addition to the aforementioned effects on health, occupational asthma in hair salons has been well-documented. A 1986 study performed in one hair salon found that out of 23 hairdressing staff members, 4 of them (17%) had symptoms of occupational asthma6. Other statistics claim that occupational asthma affects nearly 30% of hairdressing professionals.

Ways to limit exposure

Certain measures can – and should – be taken to protect hairdressers and customers. Some easy ways to reduce exposure to air pollutants and particles in a hair salon are as follows:

    • Use products that do not contain toxic ingredients (natural or ecological products whenever possible are best)
    • Improve ventilation and control humidity levels
    • Keep product bottles and garbage bins firmly closed so that volatile ingredients do not evaporate
      • Be sure to properly dispose of chemicals in hair salons as recommended by the manufacturer
    • Wear gloves, goggles, and masks as much as possible to protect your eyes, skin, and respiratory system from exposure and inhalation
    • Always keep food and drinks covered
    • Invest in an air purifier for hair salons to limit exposure to dangerous chemicals

The benefits of an air purifier for hair salons

An air purifier is simple: using its powerful fan, the device pulls in polluted air, treats it inside the device using one or more air purification technologies, then recirculates it back into the air. Air sterilisers may vary in the technologies and fan speeds they offer. Investing in an air purifier for your hair salon brings a great deal of benefits to both your employees and customers.

Protect employees and increase employee loyalty

Keeping your hair salon employees safe from air pollutants and chemicals from harmful products is an excellent way to improve employee loyalty. Installing a high-quality air cleaner with a powerful fan helps reduce exposure and remove the three main types of air pollution from your space: 1) fine particle pollution like PM10, 2) chemical pollution like VOCs, and 3) biological pollution like pollen, dust mites, and pathogens (bacteria and viruses). By preventing occupational diseases and pathogen transmission in hair salons, you can improve well-being whilst reducing hairdresser sick leave and absenteeism.

Protect your customers and increase their comfort

A hair salon that invests in improved indoor air quality shows customers that you take their health and well-being seriously. As mentioned above, an air steriliser with features for hair salons removes harmful fine particles from the air that are released by all types of hair products. Exposure to fine particles, even in small amounts, may lead to serious health problems in sensitive individuals, especially those suffering from allergies or asthma.

Combs and brushes on a hairstylist's work bench

Enhance your salon’s brand value

Thanks to your air purifier, you can differentiate yourself from your competition by promoting your clean indoor air. Eoleaf provides stickers that you can place on your window or door to allow you to promote the professional-grade air purifier in your hair salon. Purchasing an air purifier is a smart investment: you can let customers and potential customers alike know that you value them and the air that they breathe in your establishment!

How to choose an air purifier for a hair salon

Air purifiers come in many shapes, sizes, and with a seemingly endless variety of options and technologies available. Before choosing your air purifier device for your hair salon, there are a few factors that are important to keep in mind from filter type to smart features.

Filter type

An air purifier equipped with a HEPA-certified filter removes 99.97% of air pollutants from your indoor air in a single pass. Despite being the gold standard of air filtration, HEPA filters do have their limitations. For example, they cannot filter VOCs that have dangerous health effects but may also lead to unpleasant odours. This is why it is important to choose an air purifier that comes with supplementary filtration technologies. Activated carbon filters and photocatalysis, for example, are able to combat VOCs where HEPA filters are not.

Activated carbon filters are also great for removing odours from the air! Devices that do not contain activated carbon do not generally remove airborne odours, so this is a practical feature especially in a salon where scented products are used regularly.

Eoleaf’s air purifiers come equipped with a proprietary multi-layer filter containing 8 different technologies. Those technologies are as follows:

CADR, hair salon size, and placement

CADR, or Clean Air Delivery Rate, is a metric that is used to determine an air purifier’s efficacy. The higher the rating, the better. For more information on CADR and how to calculate the minimum rating you will need for your space, refer to our Buying Guide.

All air purifiers are designed to filter the air of a space of a maximum size. Be sure that the device you choose is properly sized to filter all of the air in your hair salon. Placement is also crucial – choose a place where it will be unobstructed by furniture, walls, counters, shelving, or corners. Ideally, it should be placed in the middle of a room where airflow is highest. A portable air purifier is best since it can be relocated whenever necessary. Eoleaf’s AEROPRO 100 and AEROPRO 150 air purifiers come with convenient wheels and handles for easy movement!

Noise level

Invest in an air purifier for your hair salon that is powerful but quiet. An air cleaner in a hair salon should never be so loud that it disturbs employees or customers. Customers come to a hair salon to relax, and their experience should not be hampered by a noisy device! Search out the quietest device possible.

Furthermore, by purchasing a device with multiple fan speeds, you can control your salon’s ambiance by choosing the right fan speed for any given situation. For example, when customers are present, a low fan speed may be best. After closing time, a higher fan speed is ideal to remove the day’s pollutants. Eoleaf’s devices come with four different fan speeds. Even at its lowest fan speed, it still provides powerful air filtration. It will truly blow you away at its highest fan speed.

Smart features

Some air purifiers come equipped with smart features which are an added bonus and extremely convenient in busy establishments like hair salons. Eoleaf’s devices are well-connected since they are both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capable. They also come with smart remote controls, allowing you to control your device from a distance. Furthermore, using the Tuya Smart app, you can set smart scheduling (like programming your device to change fan speed at certain times of the day, for instance). Smart features make it easy to have a full understanding of your indoor pollution levels and air quality.

Our advisers are available to help you choose the perfect air purification device for your hair salon. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. You may also refer to our Buying Guide for more information on how to correctly choose an air purifier for your needs.

Eoleaf's AEROPRO 100 air purifier and its handheld remote control


Resources

1 de Gennaro, G., de Gennaro, L., Mazzone, A., Porcelli, F., & Tutino, M. (2014). Indoor air quality in hair salons: Screening of volatile organic compounds and indicators based on health risk assessment. Atmospheric Environment, 83, 119–126. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1352231013008091

2 Kaikiti, C., Stylianou, M., & Agapiou, A. (2022). TD-GC/MS analysis of Indoor Air Pollutants (vocs, PM) in hair salons. Chemosphere, 294, 133691. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0045653522001849

3 Tagesse M, Deti M, Dadi D, Nigussie B, Eshetu TT, Tucho GT. Non-Combustible Source Indoor Air Pollutants Concentration in Beauty Salons and Associated Self-Reported Health Problems Among the Beauty Salon Workers. Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2021 Apr 1;14:1363-1372. doi: 10.2147/RMHP.S293723. PMID: 33833599; PMCID: PMC8021251.

4 Hadei, M., Hopke, P.K., Shahsavani, A. et al. Indoor concentrations of VOCs in beauty salons; association with cosmetic practices and health risk assessment. J Occup Med Toxicol 13, 30 (2018). https://occup-med.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12995-018-0213-x

5 U.S. Department of Labor. (2012). Stay Healthy and Safe While Giving Manicures and Pedicures: A Guide for Nail Salon Workers. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

6 Blainey AD, Ollier S, Cundell D, Smith RE, Davies RJ. Occupational asthma in a hairdressing salon. Thorax. 1986 Jan;41(1):42-50. doi: 10.1136/thx.41.1.42. PMID: 3704965; PMCID: PMC460251.

Eoleaf's range of air purifiers

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