Where Do We Start?
Today there are many ways to become more environmentally friendly, cutting back on food waste, recycling clothing, eating Fairtrade chocolate, and using reusable glass bottles are to name but a few. Our recent obsession with the vegan lifestyle has dominated the beauty industry, revolutionising a trade that once left consumers in the dark to take charge and demand answers. It has become increasingly important that we delve deeper into the industry to ensure we take care of, and give back to the earth we reside in. A good point to note is that sustainability is not just about what we are receiving right now, but also spurring accountability for where we are taking from and the impact this may have on future generations. Though we have a long way to go there are a few companies that are paving the way for ethical hair care.
One of the major ways a company can move towards sustainability is for them to note the ethical procedures they can take to ensure an eco-friendly establishment. L'Anza does this by going the extra mile to reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption by using electric and hybrid vehicles wherever possible. They also adhere's to strict environmental policies at their power plants using only Wind and Solar energies to run them. These policies conserve energy and reduce pollution at a time when air pollution affects around 9 million people a year. A massive problem we face is that global carbon emissions are on the rise to as much as 4.4% in some countries, mostly India and other developing countries populated with factories and workhouses. It is now more important than before that we reduce personal emissions by looking at our emissions chain from the manufacturers to our shelves.
Following the Blue Planet II documentary, one thing is frighteningly clear, plastics are killing our environment. In response to this, the beauty industry has started taking a look at it's increasingly destructive packaging problem. One brand that has been ahead of the game is Lush. With it's flagship store in the heart of West End, they champion handmade products with an ethical fair trade payment plan, but more surprisingly they offer plastic-free products in their Naked range. This range has gone above and beyond to set stellar examples by offering solid bar conditioners, hot oil treatments and shampoos. They've even taken the initiative to reduce packaging by using reusable knot-wraps for gifts instead of the usual clutter, so we can send a hair care package without feeling guilty.
Sadly, is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. With just 32 years to go, the pressure is on to reduce the waste in our lifestyle starting with eliminating unnecessary plastic from our hair care. Thankfully, the zero-waste movement also has big impacts on our wallets as around 40% of payment goes on the packaging alone. By opting for a package-free shampoo you get a more economically sufficient alternative, saving the environment and yourself money.
Many black-owned brands have developed schemes to raise money for, or give back to communities in developing countries. On top of boasting a plastic-free line by garnering the use of glass bottles and shampoo bars, Anita Grant has set up a loan scheme which offers budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to have the funds to start up businesses and help their families from a percentage of the profits. So far this brand have given loans to 48 individuals supplying them the means to earn their way out of their poverty. Working closely with their farming communities allows them to oversee and regulate the fair trade policies and ensure they never purchase raw ingredients from independent suppliers or intermediary agents who have conducted, commissioned or been party to animal testing for cosmetics. This commendable act is another way in which brands can contribute to a motivating and global community.
AG Hair Cosmetics
The most popular way to respond to increasing sensitivity towards health-consciousness is by using natural and certified organic ingredients. Certified organic ingredients mean no GMO fertilisers, pesticides and dyes are involved, reducing unwarranted exposure to carcinogens. This drive towards natural substances came in response to the statistics that 1 in 2 people will encounter cancer in their lifetime. In order to stay relevant and keep millennial and Gen-Z populations buying, most companies are using naturally-derived substances. AG Hair moves one step further by ensuring over 95% of the ingredients in their product line are either bio or photo degradable with 100% being natural and ethically sourced. Products containing silicones and EDTA, a substance comprised of heavy metals, can take centuries to degrade and breakdown. Thus by focusing on bio-degradable ingredients and packaging this means the products can be used freely without fear of releasing toxins into the environment.
With the cosmetic industry now racking in over $443.68 billion and providing 1 million jobs, filling the gap between sustainability and our beauty regimes may just be exactly what the doctor ordered.