Green + Anchor brings holistic hair care to San Diego

Green is the new black at a hot new hair salon now open in Bankers Hill. Located just around the corner from Balboa Park, Green + Anchor brings San Diegans a holistic hair salon with organic color and products.

Kicking toxic ingredients to the curb, owner and longtime hairstylist Briana McDonald invites customers into a green zone of healthy hair care, with specialized lines including Organic Way, Original Mineral and California’s own Let’s Put a Bird on It. The lines are free of GMOs, sulfates, parabens, phalates, petrolatum while being vegan and cruelty-free.

McDonald’s quest for toxic-free products began after years of inhaling fumes and working with cancer-causing agents as a stylist — the National Cancer Institute has confirmed more than 5,000 different chemicals used in hair dyes, some of which are carcinogenic.

McDonald knew that she and her clients deserved better, so she set out to discover the best hair care products in the world, with the Organic Way line hailing from a farm in Bologna, Italy. Green + Anchor is modern, sleek, and full of aromas of natural botanicals, a far cry from any traditional salon. PACIFIC joined McDonald for a blowout and a chat about her mission for healthy hair.

PACIFIC: How did you get into hairstyling?

BRIANA McDONALD: I did it right out of high school! I knew immediately it was the thing I was interested in, and I was always more of an artistic type, so it stuck with me. It was a fun thing at first, and lead to this.

What was then inspiration behind the name?

It was actually a year and a half process, but it’s about the green lifestyle and the holistic part of it. The anchor came to me one day, and I thought about its strength and stability, and I related that to other parts of my life, and I want to create that here. I’ve always loved plus signs, and I like names that don’t make sense at first.

What was one of the big concerns you were hearing from customers before opening Green + Anchor?

A lot of women when they are pregnant, they start thinking about it and asking questions like, “What am I putting in or on my body and how could that affect my baby?”

What was your personal health journey that got you here?

It started with food and just learning about what we put in our bodies and how it affects our life. That translated to other parts of my life, haircare, cleaning products, the things around us, and what we are inhaling. When I was working with more conventional products, and around those chemicals, like those in Brazilian blowouts, I had allergies to it, and would get headaches. I questioned what I was doing. Why am I putting myself and my clients at this risk? Now there are things you can use that perform just as well. I discovered two lines, and felt like a lightbulb went off. That was exciting and I felt like I didn’t have to quit doing hair.

What are some of the natural ingredients in the lines you style with?

In both the coloring and hair care products, there is elderberry nectar, organic coconut and macadamia nut oil, which gives so much shine to our color. There is also yerba mate and kukui butter, just to name a few.

What are the top bad ingredients in hair care people should look out for?

In coloring, it’s ammonia and PPD, which is the harsh pigment in color. They link back to a variety of issues including allergic reactions and lung cancer. Also look out for parabens, sulfates and artificial fragrances. Products should be vegan and cruelty free.

How can San Diegans be more careful in their own homes with haircare products?

Research and know your ingredients, there are brands out there that say “natural,” but we have to be careful with that word. Read your labels, and have a stylist that you trust and who knows.

Any home lines you recommend?

If you are looking for safer products, go to your natural food stores, and know there are professional lines, like the ones we carry here, out there too.

440 Upas St., Bankers Hill, 619.207.8386,