published Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Organic salon keeps chemicals off skin, out of drain


by Brittany Cofer
  • photo
    Staff Photo by Laura-Chase McGehee/Chattanooga Times Free Press Client Nicole Bridges has her hair washed after letting the organic color sit under a heater at Banana Tree Salon, which specializes in environmentally friendly hair services. Bridges also had a keratin treatment, which helps smooth out coarse, curly hair without chemicals.

* What: Organic salon and spa that uses all natural products

* Company: Banana Tree Salon

* Location: 6116 Shallowford Road Suite 202

* How it's green: By using products free of formaldehyde, ammonia, plastic and parabens, the organic services offered at Banana Tree Salon keep harmful chemicals from going down the drain or absorbing into the customer's skin, said owner and stylist Angela Oliver. The salon offers services such as hair cuts, color treatments, keratin smoothing treatments, facials and waxing, that all use certified organic products containing natural products.

* How long will it last: Oliver said based on her experience, the organic hair color lasts longer than traditional hair color, usually by several weeks.

* Why do it this way? After more than 20 years styling hair, Oliver said she was tired of the adverse reactions she had to products loaded with chemicals. "My hands would break out when I used them," she said. "And sometimes I'd have a hard time breathing with all the ammonia." Oliver said the purpose of her salon is to give people an option for a healthier and more environmentally friendly way of styling their hair.

* Plans for expanding: Though Banana Tree Salon has been open less than a month, Oliver already has plans to open a downtown location within the next eight months, and hopes to eventually open locations in several surrounding cities, including Nashville, Birmingham and Atlanta.

* Is environmentalism an essential part of the business and why? Oliver and her husband, Terry, said the essential part of the business focuses around providing a healthier way to treat hair and skin, but the benefits to the environment are also important. "It's not just what you do at the salon, it's what you do every day," Terry Oliver said. "That's why all of our skin care and hair products are chemical free."

-- Compiled by staff writer Brittany Cofer, bcofer@timesfreepress.com, 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/brittanycofer.

about Brittany Cofer...

Brittany Cofer is a business reporter who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press since January 2010. She previously worked as a general assignment Metro reporter. In the Business department, she covers banking, retail, tourism, consumer issues and green issues. Brittany is from Conyers, Ga., and spent two years at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., before transferring to the University of Georgia. She graduated from the university’s Grady College of Journalism in December ...

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