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  • Nirvana
    224 N Santa Cruz Ave # B, Los Gatos, CA 95030 (Map)
    +1 408.354.7979

When owner Laure Chicoine first approached the Bay Area Green Business Program about making Nirvana the region’s first certified hair salon, they acted like she was crazy.

“They wanted nothing to do with me,” she remembers. But Chicoine was determined. An event she sponsored for Earth Day, “Get Your Green On,” had inspired her. She convinced the board to give her a chance, and threw herself into the grueling process of going green. Officials evaluated all the hair products Nirvana uses for eco-friendliness, inspected the plumbing, even tested the groundwater around the salon. By last summer, the deal was finally done.

“The process took five to six months, going back and forth,” says Chicoine. “Now we’re the first salon that does hair color to be certified green probably in the whole state of California. She admits that even some of her staff said, “What’s the big deal?” “I just feel if you’re going to be doing business in California in this new era, you have to stay ahead of the curve,” she says.

Nirvana has always been like that. When the salon opened in 1991, it wasn’t named after the band (the original business plan, including the name, was drawn up in 1985, before Kurt Cobain hit the scene), it was a statement of purpose.

“I was studying meditation, and I was fascinated with the state of nirvana,” Chicoine says. Indeed, Nirvana quickly became a center of all things metaphysical within the Los Gatos community. Even today, Chicoine networks with other Los Gatos businesses like Yoga Source and The Spa to give clients an easy way to get all of their body-care needs met locally. It’s part of her original plan for the salon—to create a holistic experience for the community.

At the same time the salon was green certified last year, Chicoine threw herself into a remodel of the salon, and after 18 years, she feels like she’s starting a whole new chapter. “My staff is totally pumped,” she says. “They’re working in a brand-new salon.”