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Join the Hive 

Getting a haircut can be therapeutic—a beginning or an end of something, a change sometimes greatly needed—but choosing the right salon in which to invest your experience can be as trying as figuring out into which school you should enroll your child. Hive Natural Beauty Collective creates the ultimate atmosphere of comfort, starting at the door. There’s a bright, colorful, sunlit aesthetic; a friendly and educated staff; and styling processes that don’t taint our drinking water.

click to enlarge HIGH LIGHTS:  Marcia Beck stands by styling stations. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • HIGH LIGHTS: Marcia Beck stands by styling stations.

Marcia Beck was ready to sign a lease for her new environmentally friendly salon in downtown SLO when she was finally coerced by a friend to take a look at her current location on Santa Barbara Avenue, where Sustenance once stood. Ten years prior, Beck owned a salon in Morro Bay named Honey. She wanted to move past that name, but couldn’t.

“Really, the whole concept was creating a collective of likeminded individuals working for the common good. There’s no better expression of that,” Beck said, explaining her aha moment. As soon as she stepped into the space, she could tell by the vintage beehive-shaped light fixtures that this was serendipity. Seventy-five percent of the furniture, including the rustic front door, is recycled. As if put together like a puzzle, each piece fits the title of the first certified green salon in SLO, which officially opened Nov. 8.

The term “natural beauty” evokes the image of Venus de Milo, of painted nudes with ethereal outlines, or portraits of women in black and white from the late 1800s. Hive takes the images of the past, of Eve and Cleopatra, and melds them with those of modern songstresses, models, and actresses. Hive Natural Beauty Collective offers all of the standard salon practices, only all of their products are nontoxic, being sulfate-, ammonia-, and PPD free. So serious is their dedication to this that any product that doesn’t completely meet the criteria is sent back to the company it came from. The organic products are carefully chosen, with the search starting as close to 93401 as possible.

“We’re all about the little guys. L’Oreal owns 90 percent of the beauty industry—Redken, Aveda, Estee Lauder. It’s bad politics,” Beck explained. “I’m extremely proud to say that not one thing we carry here is a L’Oreal product.”

The collective is composed of seven stylists who offer regular cut, color, and oil treatment services, and a massage therapist who makes her own oils. A small boutique of locally made, handcrafted accessories graces the front right corner of the space, and quarterly events are in the works for the future. One already planned for Jan. 21 will be a benefit for the AIDS support network.

Beck and the Hive Collective stylists are playful and charming, understanding the value of psychology in beauty.

“You trust that person. Sometimes you know their darkest secrets,” Beck said in reference to clients.

Offering green processes helps clients to feel better about how they’re spending their money.

“You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your salon experience in fear of not following your eco-conscious values,” Beck added. “Nothing has come along that’s made a change like this since 90 years ago when ammoniated dye was created. What’s going to happen is in 10 years, all salons will be organic. Certain countries in Europe have already banned ammoniated dyes.”

Beck, after 23 years in the business, is firm in her philosophy: “My idea of beauty is ... really finessing outwardly what is inside—that incredible shine.”

Hive Natural Beauty Collective is at 2033 Santa Barbara Ave. To make an appointment, call 439-2255.

Fast facts

Friends of Prado Day Center will be holding its fourth annual Culinary Carnival on Feb. 3 at the Embassy Suites on Madonna Road. The event will take place between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., with gourmet foods and wines from surrounding wineries and restaurants. Tickets cost $50, which covers food, a silent and live auction, and a raffle. For more information, or to purchase tickets online, visit sloculinarycarnival.com.

Intern Rachel Fields compiled this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send your business news to strokes@newtimesslo.com.

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