These days, eco-consciousness is prompting the demand for sustainability in various products and services. This is largely because people want to shrink their carbon footprints while maintaining a modern lifestyle. The beauty industry had a poor reputation as a global polluter back in the day, but things are changing now.
In the past, the industry’s association with animal cruelty limited its eco-friendliness. As a result, environmentalists evaluated prior challenges within the industry and developed conscious solutions, which are particularly evident in the haircare sector, to help consumers reduce waste while maintaining their health.
Environmental Challenges With Hair Care
A significant portion of the haircare industry’s pollution derives from plastic waste. Shampoos, conditioners, and styling products come in plastic bottles, creating surface-level degradation. In addition, inadequate waste management processes create landfills and pollute the oceans as bottles break down.
Roughly 8 million tons of plastic invade the ocean annually, decomposing and becoming microplastics. Then, aquatic species mistake the small beads for food, ingesting them and transferring them up the food chain. Over time, microplastics end up on our plates and harm our health.
Manufacturing these bottles also creates greenhouse gas emissions that degrade the atmosphere. Producing one 0.53-quart water bottle releases nearly 82.8 grams of carbon into the environment. As the emissions invade the atmosphere, they alter Earth’s organic temperature control process.
Naturally, the planet absorbs solar radiation, produces heat, warms its surface, collects unnecessary energy, and sends it to space. What’s more, carbon dioxide and other air pollutants have a higher sunlight-to-heat conversion rate, overheating the surface. They also trap excess energy in the environment for extended periods, raising Earth’s temperature over time.
As the global temperature rises, it causes a ripple effect of ecological degradation. The enhanced greenhouse effect raises sea levels, increases the evaporation rate, fuels water displacement, causes food scarcity, and more. To decrease climate change and slow down the rate at which these issues occur, we can start purchasing sustainable, plastic-free hair products.
In America, the waste management system only recycles roughly 9% of plastic. It means that the system does not work, so eliminating packaging can effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and marine pollution.
Some haircare products also use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to power aerosol sprays. Unfortunately, when CFCs reach the atmosphere, they degrade the ozone layer and worsen the greenhouse effect. To combat that, individuals can increase the sustainability of their haircare routine by researching a product’s ingredients before buying.
Researching haircare products before going to the store increases consumers’ awareness, helping them access the least harmful goods. For example, instead of using CFC-powered sprays, you can buy hand-pump spray bottles. Additionally, you can ditch health-degrading ingredients like phthalates and phosphates.
Phthalates can increase your risk of asthma and other respiratory conditions. So instead of using chemical-filled products, try choosing natural shampoos and conditioners.
Another great way to lessen your carbon footprint is to use glycerin. It’s derived from plant oils, eliminating adverse ecological effects. In addition, you can limit waste and be healthier by using pure glycerin instead of conditioner or smoothing products. It may also heal and hydrate your hair, reducing tangles, breakage, and friction.
Glycerin is especially beneficial for curly hair. It reduces frizz and holds curls together for extended periods. Additionally, avocado and olive oil increase hair’s moisture level, eliminating damage and healing scalp eczema.
Using raw ingredients also improves the sustainability of your hair care routine by minimizing packaging waste.
Reducing Packaging Waste
These days, many beauty companies are decreasing municipal solid waste (MSW) by offering products without packaging. For example, Lush is a sustainable beauty brand that strives to eliminate unnecessary waste. The company creates bars of shampoos, conditioners, and moisturizers, thus reducing packaging.
Lush products that require bottling come in reusable containers, decreasing landfill waste. What’s more, the company never uses microbeads, which create microplastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems. Other companies also limit MSW by creating reusable bottles reliant on pods. This is helpful since when consumers reuse their shampoo and conditioner bottles, they shrink their carbon footprints.
Research Animal Testing
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) increased consumers’ awareness of animal testing in the beauty industry. As you may know, some companies test their products on rabbits and mice to ensure they’re safe for humans. Unfortunately, when ingredients are unsafe, animals suffer the consequences.
Individuals can research the ethics around hair care products before purchasing them to increase animal safety. Sadly, there are no current regulations on animal testing in the beauty industry, so it is essential to fully evaluate a company’s practices before buying its products.
The Benefits of Sustainable Hair Care
Using eco-friendly hair care products benefits the environment and individuals. On top of that, reducing your interaction with preservatives and added chemicals can improve your hair over time. Going back to the basics and using natural products can strengthen your mane and support efficient growth cycles while enhancing the planet’s health.