We’re a month into the new year—how have you held up with those resolutions? Still striving to flaunt your curls? Reduce your carbon footprint? Both?

Alan and Natalie Mandarano of Nurture Salon in Portland, Oregon, are an example of a successful resolution to better the world we live in and leave you feeling beautiful in the process. Since 2003, this couple and the team have done just that.

Customers are offered tea and a heated neck wrap as soon as they walk through the door. Soothing aromatherapy adds to relaxing atmosphere, and the facility leaves small carbon footprint.

Alan Mandarano

“Nurture has a strong intention to heal and to be part of the solution on our planet and people feel good about supporting that,” Alan said. “It’s about more than outer beauty; it’s an inner feeling of bliss and dare we say, love, that we are going for as well. One more person feeling good about themselves has a positive ripple effect on our entire planet, yes?”

The salon engages in numerous “green” practices like recycling, composting, using environmentally friendly cleaning products, energy efficient lighting and shopping locally when possible.

“As time goes on, we have gotten better and better at ‘greening’ up our salon,” Alan said. “We save our hair clippings for Matter of Trust—an oil spill cleanup organization.”

Check NaturallyCurly's salon recommendations area to find a curl salon near you. We're not yet classifying salons by their eco-friendliness, but hope to soon.

The hair is recycled into special mats that naturally attract the spilled oil.

Nurture is involved in other organizations that promote the environment as well as charity. Used makeup and hair products are donated to the Sunshine Pantry, a food pantry in their area.

And the hair dye used—Organic Color Systems—is ammonia-free.

On the high-tech side, the salon has one ultra cool Freestylist Free-Floating Dryer. It hangs from the ceiling, uses less electricity than other dryers, but dries the hair faster. It also last longer, so you don’t have to toss numerous dryers in the trash.

The lights in Nurture are also special—SpectraLights—LED lights that last for more than 20 years and are completely recyclable.

Natalie Mandarano

While Nurture was created to be “green”, the birth of the Mandarano’s son, Guy, sparked them to step up their game.

“We bought the Prius as soon as we found out we were pregnant and we switched to Organic Color Systems right after he was born,” Alan said.

During Natalie’s pregnancy, she wore gloves and tried not to breathe in the ammonia of hair dyes.

“It became a bit of an obsession to do our part to ensure that there is a planet for him that can sustain his health and well being,” Alan said. “We wanted to make sure he has clean air and nature to enjoy for his lifetime and for his children’s children’s lifetimes.”

And as far as styling naturally curly hair goes, Alan and the whole team follow the same guidelines to ensure a healthy but beautiful cut.

“For curls, it’s VERY important to cut WITH the curl and not against it, Alan said. “Remember that curl is ROUND and you want to cut in a way that honors that.”

Nurture uses the Alan Benfield Bush technique—it takes into account the your personal growth patterns, head shape, hair texture (fine, medium, coarse), facial shape and desired style shape.

“We don’t as a rule recommend razoring or using texture shears,” Alan said.

And while Alan, Natalie and the whole Nurture team are certainly excellent and passionate about what they do, they are in no way an exception. All stylists can find small ways to make their salons eco-friendly.

They’re even available for consulting if you need help!

They suggest:

  • contacting your city to get information on recycling programs.
  • Become a member of groups like Matter of Trust.
  • Change all of your light bulbs to longer-lasting energy efficient bulbs-that’s an easy one!
  • Shop local, walk instead of drive whenever possible and take public transportation, even occasionally.
  • Compost. Remember: reduce, reuse and recycle!

The Mandaranos strive to be environmentally responsible even in their home.

“We enjoy raising our son with love and careful guidance and want him to grow up with a sense of responsibility for not only himself but for his planet as well.”

And that’s what Nurture Salon is all about. Taking care of yourself, but also your world in the process. It’s never too late to make good on that New Year’s resolution.

“The best thing we can do is to be well ourselves and choose wisely in any given moment,” Alan said. “No one is perfect, but we can strive for excellence.”