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How do you handle the scents and aerosols at the beauty/hair salon?

How do you deal with the strong scents and aerosol sprays at the beauty salon when you get a shampoo and hair cut?  These are two of my asthma triggers and having to deal with them makes me not want to get my hair cut!  Sometimes when the salon is not busy it does not bother my asthma too much, but other times when there are people getting perms and other treatments I can really feel my asthma flare up.

Any suggestions on how to minimize my triggers at the hair salon?

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  • Kathy P

    Ugh the perm and color solutions can definitely become overwhelming! I usually try to go at slow times. I also found a place that has seems to have good ventilation. It almost never smells really strong in there. Compared to where I took my mom when I was visiting and she needed a haircut. Yikes! It was so strong in there. Maybe check out some other places to see if somewhere else might be better. Unless of course you live your stylist and don't want to change!

  • LK

    Thanks for the tips!  Yes, I really liked my stylist but she is no longer at that salon and unfortunately I do not know where she went.  I think I will try other places now!

  • Jen

    @Gloria and @Pljohns have mentioned having similar triggers.  How do you ladies deal with hair salons?

  • Gloria

    Usually when I get my hair cut it is at times where there are few people there. Maybe I have been lucky, but I have never had a problem there. (I usually have a dry cut where they only moisten my hair, so I don’t have to deal with stinky shampoo/conditioner.)

  • Pljohns

    I've been going to the same lady for almost 10 years and she knows about my asthma.  I've learned to call ahead and see if they are busy/doing any perms/colors etc and if they are, I don't go.  If they wash my hair, I make sure they use unscented shampoo and won't let them us any hairspray that isn't unscented either.  It took a few times of me telling them NO on the scented stuff, but now they know.

  • K8sMom2002

    I tend to follow the same approach — go at a slow time, either first thing in the AM or last thing in the evening.  I also ask for no hairspray. 

    Maybe it's just the fashion around here, but I haven't had to endure the fumes from perms in a long time!

  • jjtre

    Found a hair stylist who works alone and I am the first appointment.  We only use fragrance-free products.  A suggestion that all of us may consider is to have a writing campaign requesting the companies product a fragrance-free version of their  products.  Even if you were to wear perfume, why would you want your hair to smell from a different fragrance?  (The same goes for fragranced-detergents!)

  • Megan Roberts

    I mostly cut my own hair, and go in only once or twice a year for a trim.  When I do go, it's during off-hours when there is usually no one else or one other person.  These are some great tips though for those whose hairstyles require more regular salon visits!  I wonder if a hairstylist would be receptive to you bringing your own fragrance-free products in to use on your hair if they didn't have anything like that themselves.  

  • Teri G

    either don't go to the salon, find someone willing to come to your home or wear a mask!

  • jjtre

    Masks don't screen out chemicals..so, avoidance is about all that is left.  It is a similar situation to cigarette smoke.  Ideally, we should be able to breathe CLEAN air and perfume chemicals should remain outside of closed areas.  Everyone needs to protect their lungs!

  • LK

    Thank you everyone for the great ideas! 

    I found a stylist who works out of her home so I'm hopeful there will be fewer fragrances.  She listened to my concerns and is willing to do what she can so I can breathe.

  • Pljohns

    JJTRE-some masks do-I have one that is specifically for any type of chemical smell-they are HUGE triggers for me so when I had to work in a construction zone with all of the paint fumes, new flooring smells and plastic smells, I bought it-worked like a dream-I can't smell anything when I have it on.

  • K8sMom2002

    Yay, @LK! So proud for you! Another thing you could ask for is if they have some sort of ventilation fan or air cleaner or would be willing to at least open windows.

    There's another possibility that was posted in :

    It's funny looking, but maybe more comfy and cooler than a full mask.

    Let us know how your salon visit goes!

  • LK

    @Jen, Thank you for asking!  It went beautifully!  She is very considerate about my triggers and I had no difficulty whatsoever!  

  • LK

    @Pljohns, If I may ask, where do you find the masks that screen out smells?  Is there a specific brand or name of the masks?  Thanks!

  • jjtre
    Pljohns posted:

    JJTRE-some masks do-I have one that is specifically for any type of chemical smell-they are HUGE triggers for me so when I had to work in a construction zone with all of the paint fumes, new flooring smells and plastic smells, I bought it-worked like a dream-I can't smell anything when I have it on.

    IPiJohns..thanks for your post.  I think you may be referring to a respirator?  It isn't something one would wear on a regular basis though. 

  • Pljohns

    It's not a respirator-amazon has them  RZMask-they are a mask-cloth that are washable etc. but you can get (from RZMask) a carbon filter that fits in them and I have had no problems with fumes of any kind when I wear it.  I wore it Sunday for 3+ hours with a gas leaf blower on my back and had no problems or smells at all.  You absolutely could wear it on a regular basis-they have several designs and colors.

  • K8sMom2002

    Wow, LK, so glad you were able to get dolled up without having any issues! She sounds like a keeper.

    JJTRE, it is sometimes tricky wearing a mask or a respirator — it might be nearly impossible in a salon as it has to fasten around your head. 

    Lynn, that sounds like an awesome mask! 

  • Gloria

    Cambridge masks and Vog Masks make masks that filter out most irritants. There is another company, I can’t remember the name. Their masks have replaceable filters and can be machine washed. That seems kike the best to me, because the two I first listed have a limited life and are unite expensive. I find the on eBay.

  • Megan Roberts

    It looks like you can find all those types of masks on amazon, they are between $20 and $30 though (probably cheaper on eBay), but it looks like the strap around the back is thin and low enough on at least two of those mentioned that you could possibly wear it while getting your hair done. @Pljohns and @Gloria, thanks for the tips!

  • K8sMom2002

    Megan, that's great research — and thanks again to @Gloria and @Pljohns. It's good to know that there are options!