During my recent pregnancy I was advised not to get my hair colored because of the potentially harmful effects, but I had five more months left and I was in desperate need of a touch up. Perhaps it was time to stop by FOS Living, the eco-salon a few blocks from my home in Garden City, and find my organic options. FOS Living has a very new age feel, and their shelves are lined with all types of organic hair products. Hope Sicoutry, who owns the salon with her sister Jeanie, introduced me to a variety of herbal hair color products. Hope’s featured product, Swiss product Sanotint, is the only professional hair color on the market that does not contain a chemical called p-Phenylenediamine, which, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, may cause maladies such as minor skin irritation, asthma and even convulsions. (FOS Living is Long Island’s exclusive distributor of Sanotint.). Hope swears by its staying power and deep-pigmented color, and she confirmed that it is safe to use during pregnancy.

My visit to FOS Salon opened my eyes to alternative hair treatments, and since the birth of my child, I still opt for eco-friendly salons when possible.

The Beehive Salon in Islip is another green alternative. It is a one-stop shop for organic beauty. They offer all of the hair services you would find in a typical salon, as well as makeup artistry, nail services, spray tanning and waxing. But this salon is so much more. It embodies the philosophy and practices behind the organic movement. With a passionate mission to educate clients and set a higher standard of services, salon owner Jeanine “Bean” Longo proves that salons can be environmentally friendly and provide outstanding beauty services at affordable prices.

I came to the Beehive desperately wanting a perm and hopeful that it would be better than my last one (in the 80s), which was tight, kinky and unattractive. My stylist, Kristen Chandler, was so knowledgeable I knew I was in good hands. Kristen promised to deliver loose, cascading curls, and with the salon’s proximity to Robert Moses Beach, I was inspired to give it a go.

We started with the Organic Color System brand clarifying sulfate-free rinse to remove impurities in my hair. Once in Kristen’s chair, she provided a light dusting to remove my dead ends before wrapping my hair from side to side with rods of various sizes—to ensure dimension, she explained. The perm activator followed. If you’ve ever had a perm, this is the point in the process where your hair is covered in a foul-scented solution that often burns and stains the skin. Not at the Beehive. This experience was completely different. The perm solution had a citrus aroma and gentle formula that did not irritate my eyes or skin. In place of the traditional harsh thioglycolates that cause permanent damage to the structure of hair, the Organic system uses a gentle ingredient called cysteamin hcl. The result is a softer wave that has the same longevity as the traditional method without damaging your locks.

While my perm set, Kristen took some time to educate me about other eco-friendly practices of the salon and its staff. The Beehive has partnered with the neighboring Starbucks to create a compost area where organic garbage, such as banana peels and fruit rinds, is placed to make positive use of waste. The Beehive offers its own product refill bar where clients can reuse their bottles to decrease unnecessary waste.

Once the perm solution was rinsed, Kristen applied an Organic neutralizer to my hair that includes plant-based amino acids such as soy and wheat proteins. The standard neutralizers on the market also contain harsh chemicals and further add to the damage caused by thioglycolates, but the Organic brand neutralizes your hair within its natural, healthy pH range. The icing on the cake came with the luxurious deep scalp massage required to work the product into the hair. I wasn’t complaining.

When the rods came out, I was pleased with how natural my curls looked. This was by far the best perm I’ve ever had, and it was an eco-friendly treatment, so I not only looked beautiful, I felt empowered to be a better steward of my health and the environment. Stylishly, of course.