A SOUTHAMPTON professor who has helped the hairdressing industry save billions by cutting energy and water use has been honoured with a national award.

Dr Denise Baden of the University of Southampton's Business School received the £10,000 award for Outstanding Impact in Business and Enterprise from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Her success in introducing sustainable practices have helped reduce a typical hair salon’s water and energy bills by more than £5,000 a year.

Dr Baden realised that the UK's 55,000 hair salons had a major impact on the environment through CO2 emissions, from high water and energy consumption, and the use of toxic chemicals and harmful waste.

Since 2012 she has worked to help the sector reduce its carbon footprint.

Dr Baden launched an online Sustainable Salon Certification and virtual salon training programme for salons and stylists in April 2017.

Adopting its eco-friendly practices can save the average four-seat salon 286,000 litres of water, 24,150 kWh of energy and £5,300 a year.

More than 50 salons and 1,000 stylists have gained this certificate which is endorsed by key industry bodies – the Hairdressing Council, Hair and Beauty Industry Authority and the Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT).

Dr Baden has developed the sustainability component in the hairdressing apprenticeship and international eco-hair company Davines has developed a training scheme based on her certification for salons in the 85 countries worldwide that stock their products.

She has run more than 60 sustainability workshop and training events educating more than 2,000 trainers, colleges and industry professionals about greener products and practices, including new water-saving technologies such as low-flow showerheads, leave-in conditioner and dry shampoo.

Working with leading haircare bodies Dr Baden changed the industry default recommendation for hairdressers from shampooing twice to just once – with significant water and energy savings.

“Since 2014 all qualifications that have been written have now got sustainable practice built into them.” says Lynda Whitehorn, Apprenticeship Manager in accreditation organisation VTCT. “This becomes a self-perpetuating cycle within the industry."

Dr Baden said that she had originally become interested in the hairdressing sector when she was thinking of ways of spreading the the sustainabilty message.

"I thought 'Who talks to more people than hairdressers?' than I started looking at the way the salons were run," said Dr Baden.

"It's been a win win for everyone. What's good for the environment is also good for your hair and also saves the business time and money."

She said