Hale Organic Salon: For Beauty Inside & Out

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I felt different.

It was a late evening in Tribeca. I’d just had a hair color treatment and cut at the Hale Organic Salon, and I felt different. Different from other times I’d had my hair colored.

What was missing?

The trauma. I normally brace myself for the typical smell and sting of chemicals, both during and after. Lingering for days after. This evening, none of that had happened. Not while being treated by owner and stylist Joe Murray with one of their five color lines, and not while stylist Dale Im rinsed the color out with a gentle massage.

I swear I smelled flowers.

I had just experienced a clean-air salon. And had one of the cleanest, most chemical-free colors available applied to my hair and scalp. With natural fragrances. Without synthetics or parabens.

Photography by Carol Seitz Photography by Carol Seitz

If these kinder, gentler, greener solutions exist, why don’t more of us seek them out?
And why don’t more salons use this gentler, plant oil-based color when it feels and smells so amazing afterwards, and is so much healthier for hair, lungs, and scalp?

Photography by Carol Seitz

Photography by Carol Seitz

As clean of chemicals as possible
Now in its fifth year, Hale Organic Salon, only stands behind products that are as “clean” as they can be, i.e., without ammonia (a respiratory irritant that irreversibly damages hair cuticles), and containing the lowest amount of questionable chemicals, while still doing the job of adding pigment. For the time being, Murray explained to me, the only way to truly cover gray hair requires some chemicals to be used. He vets all ingredients in the products they carry, which are all out on display, and welcomes open and honest dialogues with clients.

Organic vs clean
Misinformation is one cause, Murray says, for cleaner products to be slow to catch on. Organic doesn’t always mean clean: While U.S. regulators allow labels to use the word “organic,” organic is not a guarantee toxic ingredients are absent. This disparity is not likely to be top-of-mind for the consumer, who then has the added challenge of keeping track of ingredient names – names that don’t exactly roll off the tongue. In addition to ammonia, some of the toxic ingredients the salon won’t carry are PPD (para-phenylenediamine), and the newer PTD (para-toluenediamine) – a different form of PPD – all of which are known to cause allergic reactions and can be potentially dangerous if you are pregnant.

Consumer power
Another reason it is still a niche market, is that the cleaner products are usually more expensive to make, and manufacturers pass that on to the consumer. Murray says they try to absorb some of that cost at Hale, and have the same prices as the average salons in the area. But the more conscientious we are as consumers about the ingredients in our beauty products, the more the industry can change. Product makers and salons will respond.

Photography by Carol Seitz

Photography by Carol Seitz

Genuine care
Warm greetings. Down-to-earth interactions. The Hale Organic team keeps it real.
And clean. They provide the cleanest environment possible, down to a special ventilated room to spray your hair should your style require it.

Knowing people can also be allergic to natural ingredients. Stylists will take time to talk about any allergies and sensitivities you may have, and prefer to patch test color lines before applying anything to your scalp. They will even send an ingredient list to you or your physician upon request.

Photography by Carol Seitz

Photography by Carol Seitz

After one visit, I was not just thrilled with how my hair looked, but how I felt afterwards.

From the 12th to the 21st Century, from root meanings such as “whole,” “undamaged,” and “health,” the name, “Hale” speaks to the high standards of healthy hair care held in Joe Murray’s salon. It also echoes the meaning of the Hawaiian word for “home,” in keeping with his founding vision of a friendly, comfortable oasis where all would feel welcome. The piano/reception desk may or may not be in tune, but the undertones of the salon are clear: You are welcome in Joe’s home.

Photography by Carol Seitz

Photography by Carol Seitz

To learn more about Hale Organic Salon, visit http://www.halesalon.com or call (212) 966-5656 to make an appointment. You can find them at 91 Franklin Street, New York, New York – close to the A-C-E trains at Canal Street and 1-train at Franklin Street.

To hear him speak about his work and organic hair care, look for Joe Murray in the first 15 minutes of CUNY TV’s Science & U!’s segment, “The Glamorous Side of Science.”

Photographer Carol Seitz: http://www.carolseitz.com

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