Neither Hide Nor Hair

A metro Detroit native opens a high-end salon in a former transmission repair shop and recycles nearly all waste.
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Morgan Kruizenga in Chemistry Salon
Morgan Kruizenga founded Chemistry Salon in Berkley after years of watching salon waste go in the garbage. She hopes to continue making eco-friendly updates to the location. // Photograph by Nick Hagen

At Chemistry Salon, which opened in July in a transformed transmission shop in Berkley, not a single hair, tube of dye, or piece of foil is thrown out.

About 95 percent of the upscale salon’s waste is recycled — hair is turned into devices called booms, which are used to contain and soak up oil spills; foil is used to make bikes; and leftover hair color is repurposed to make energy.

“It’s a little bit of work for us to do, but it’s worth it,” says Morgan Kruizenga, artistic and technical director of Chemistry Salon, which she co-owns with her husband, Ken.

The salon has seven chairs, repurposed décor, and not a trash can in sight. Lights, heating, and cooling systems are as efficient as possible, as are the appliances. The salon’s products are all sustainable, cruelty-free, and plant-based. The eco-friendly approach includes a unique requirement: clients pay a $2 fee at each visit to help with recycling costs and the salon’s continued effort to be environmentally friendly. Kruizenga says keeping the fee separate from services helps clients feel involved in the initiative. In the future, she says she would like to add solar power.

Kruizenga, who worked at a salon in Birmingham for 16 years, says many of her clients followed her to Berkley. New clients include professionals interested in helping the earth. She says many of her younger patrons compost, make recycling a priority, and support small businesses in the community.

To give back to the industry she’s built her life around, Kruizenga hires recent beauty school graduates. At most high-end salons, she says, rookies train under more experienced hairdressers for as long as three years, by which time many of them get burned out. Kruizenga has created a fast-track program for her trainees so they can start building a client base and exercise their creativity in six to 18 months.

Kruizenga has studied internationally, worked at salons across the country, and has experience directing educational programs. She was regional educational director, art director, and regional art director for Toni & Guy, an internationally renowned beauty school and hairdressing brand based in London.

Watching people grow is rewarding, and Kruizenga wants her salon to offer enough opportunities for hairdressers to go in whichever direction they choose. This is her first independent venture, and she says she plans to open other locations. “I’ve been doing hair for over 35 years, and there’s not one day that I don’t want to go to work,” she says.

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