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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Organic Roots Eco Salon Creates Beautiful, Healthy Hair: Lori Goldstein believes that customers shouldn’t have to sacrifice their health to look and feel beautiful.

Mar 27, 2016 12:23AM ● By Carrie Jackson


As the owner of Organic Roots Eco Salon, in Skokie (formerly Upstairs Hair Affair, in Morton Grove), she uses only products that are organic and free of harsh toxins, such as ammonia and phenylenediamine (PPD), that are found in traditional hair dyes and shampoos.

“We use products from Italy that are the cleanest I’ve found,” she states. “The ingredients are grown and hand-harvested on a family farm in Bologna. They have owned the farm for 125 years and never allowed chemicals on the land.” These certified organic products achieve professional results without the toxic chemicals that may contaminate other hair salons.

Traditionally, hair care products are filled with chemicals such as formaldehyde, which has been linked to an increased risk for cancer and other major health concerns; thus many people experience itching, burning and coughing during and after use. “For years I was getting traditional Brazilian blowouts. I loved the way they looked, but my eyes would water and my throat would burn. People come in now and don’t believe our products are working because they don’t feel horrible, but then they love the results,” says Goldstein.

The products at Organic Roots are chosen because of their health benefits and effectiveness. The Organic Way (OWay) line of hair color, with added essential oils and active botanicals, is organic, biodynamic and fair trade. Davines is a color cream enriched with antioxidant carotenoids and melanin that is ammonia- and PPD-free. Cezanne Perfect Finish is a keratin-smoothing treatment that is formaldehyde and carbocisteine-free. The milk_shake products are made with real milk, fruit and other natural ingredients.

As one of few salons in the area that offer organic color, Goldstein finds that most of her clients come in for hair coloring, but Organic Roots is also a full-service hair salon. “We offer haircuts, color, highlights, deep conditioning and keratin treatments, organic perms, updos and hair extensions. We can really do whatever people ask for,” she says.

Everything about the Organic Roots Eco Salon is as healthy as possible, including LED lighting and composting bags that disintegrate in a landfill. Goldstein works with a company that repurposes hair clippings into mats that mop up oil spills. “When you walk in, it doesn’t smell like a hair salon. You wouldn’t know we’re doing hair color here,” she says.

Goldstein studied cosmetology in high school, bought her first salon when she was 24, and has been doing hair for more than 30 years. She notes, “Women used to all want to have the same hair style. Now I see that people are much more individualistic and are expressing themselves with color and highlights a lot more.”

Organic Roots serves people of all ages and backgrounds. Most of Goldstein’s clients are women, but she does have some men and sees children and people in their 70s. “A lot of young women are interested in natural products, but I have older people who say they’ve been eating organic food and using organic products since 1972 and don’t want to stop now,” she says. Because there aren’t too many all-organic salons around, people come from all over the Chicagoland area; some travel all the way from Bridgeport, Gurnee and Downers Grove.

Goldstein says it’s a lot of work to own her own salon, but very rewarding. “A lot of salons have so much drama,” she comments. “I wanted to create an environment that’s peaceful, healthy and stress-free. I absolutely love my clients—many of them become my friends—we go out to concerts and lunch together. I love that I get to talk and share with people while I’m doing their hair. It’s really fulfilling when people come in and maybe they’re not feeling great, but I get to help them feel beautiful and confident and looking their best.”


Organic Roots Eco Salon is located at 3417 W. Dempster, in Skokie. For appointments, call 847-423-2653. For more information, visit


Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at