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Beauty with a Conscience

William and Cristina Connolly

by Marlaina Donato

Cristina and William Connolly, husband-and-wife owners of Beauty Society Organic Salon, in Malta, know firsthand how important a non-toxic lifestyle can be. Their own health was altered by working with chemicals every day, and this led them to a cleaner salon life. “From a professional point, we see many clients with health issues. Chemicals within the beauty industry are known endocrine disruptors that can alter human DNA and normal hormone function,” says William.
The salon offers chic cuts and biodynamic color, make-up artistry and non-toxic perms. The salon’s interior is also a testament to healthier living, as reflected in their choice of volatile organic compound-free paint, recycled furniture and fabrics, and environmentally friendly cleaning products. The salon has been in business for 25 years and has been using non-toxic, organic alternatives for 15 years. Due to their clients’ diverse needs, the Beauty Society also specializes in products that are paraben-, sulfate- and gluten-free.

The dedicated duo travels around the world to provide services for special events, photo shoots and destination weddings. “A successful business is not about money. A successful business is sustainability and community. Our business is personal with each client, and we are blessed with a clientele who have become like family. It is wonderful to see the connections and new friendships made between people in our salon,” says Cristina, who would much rather have a healthy, long-term client pass along like-minded beliefs and practices to friends and family rather than make a fast dollar.

As a testament to excellence and integrity, Beauty Society is recommended by local doctors and cancer centers to both women and men seeking a healthier alternative when it comes to hair and skincare. The Connollys demand scrutiny of all ingredients, including sources, known levels of toxicity and company standards. “You might see quick results from a high-potency, chemical- laden beauty product, but in truth, a more natural, non-toxic product is far superior. You do get what you pay for. Damage from caustic substances may appear as a rash or sensitivity, but unfortunately, you may not see internal damage until it is too late. The beauty industry has a target on women’s backs, preying on vanity to make a profit. We can’t have a clear conscience selling a product that we would not use on ourselves,” emphasizes Cristina.

Due to the absence of legal definitions of “natural” or “organic” when it comes to labeling, buyers can easily be misled when it comes to purity. “If a company does not have a full ingredient list, I would not recommend buying the product,” advises William. Inquiring about where companies source their ingredients is also a smart way to spot high quality. “We are not perfect in any way, but we try to lead by example. Our services and products are the least non-toxic, recyclable, gluten-free, vegan and fair trade,” he notes. When it comes to researching companies, the Connollys prefer small companies that have strong environmental values and treat their employees well.

Being a small business owner means long hours and many seven-day work weeks. Fortunately, the Connollys have found not only what they love to do, but a profession that aligns with the way they live their everyday lives. When not working, Cristina and William walk their talk by recycling as much as possible, shopping at local farms and growing their own produce. Cristina sums it up best with her personal definition of beauty, “It is not what you see on the outside. Beauty is the whole person. It is a lifestyle.”

Beauty Society Organic Salon is located at 123 Dunning St., in Malta. For more information, call 518-899-7570 or visit BeautySocietySalon.com.

Marlaina Donato is a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.