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Best friends start San Diego’s first zero waste hair salon and apothecary

Scister’s Salon and Apothecary in La Mesa works to reuse or recycle 99% of what is used and provide toxin-free, sustainable beauty items to the public

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Two best friends in La Mesa have launched San Diego’s first zero waste hair salon and apothecary called Scisters, which looks to reuse or recycle nearly everything that comes into the salon.

Co-owners Melissa Parker and Easton Bajsec met at a previous salon and began attending business classes together when they decided to combine their passion for the beauty industry along with sustainable environmental efforts. 

“I had this idea and I thought well let's look for somebody who’s doing it,” said Bajsec. “I wanted to use them as a model. I could not find a single salon doing this. In business school, they talk about what differentiates you and I thought, well, this might be the golden ticket that sets us apart.”

News 8 visited the salon on a busy Friday afternoon. The friends set up their salon with customer after customer coming through -- often having conversations about how they can reduce their environmental footprint along the way.

“There came a point where we were like, 'we need to do better, we can do better,'” added Parker on the process of opening the business. 

She said when Bajsec asked if she was nervous she responded with, “I feel like in my heart it’s right. It’ll be wrong to not do it.”

One survey found the average household wastes 24 plastic bottles a year just on items like shampoo and conditioner. Here, customers bring reusable bottles, even household jars that the salon cleans and then refills. This helps prevent the pile-up of plastics that’s already causing our landfills to run out of space.

“I use this term called professional righteousness. If you know better you do better,” said Bajsec. “If you’re going to get into business you have a responsibility to do it in the way that is most ethical and responsible to the consumer. I think it’s quite important that industry is first and makes it easy for the consumer to make that choice rather than the other way around."

“Thus far a lot of the waste and how it’s disposed of has been placed on the consumer,” said Parker. “From the beginning, it should be the responsibility of the business or whoever is making it to make it a sustainable practice.”

The best friends have thought of nearly everything along the way. There are no paper towels, only reusable linens. They wash foil used to dye hair to make sure it’s recyclable. Even the hair itself can be composted or sent to organizations that can reuse it.

“A customer can bring their own bottle of shampoo that they’ve used at home if it’s empty. They can fill up with any of our products,” said Basjec. “We also have a jar library. Our clients often bring us salsa jars, pasta sauce jars, anything glass that can be sanitized. We’ll sanitize it ourselves so if you forget your bottle we can give you a free container. We also have either glass or aluminum if they want a new bottle with a pump on it.”

While the waste at a typical salon can sometimes be a second thought, the organization Green Circle says the beauty industry creates 877 pounds of waste every minute. That’s 421,000 pounds ending up in landfills each day. While it can seem daunting, Parker and Bajsec say it’s about incremental changes. Starting small can have a big impact. You can also favor zero waste businesses that can do most of the work for you, like theirs.

“If somebody’s gonna do it, somebody’s got to start, and why not it be us?” said Bajsec.

You can find more information about Scister’s on their Facebook and Instagram platforms, or visit their website

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