A Shift In Perspectives
In the early 2000s, there was a general sentiment that eco-friendly meant inconveniencing yourself (purchasing a more expensive or less functional product) to support the health of the planet by reducing waste. For instance, when biodegradable straws were first introduced, they biodegraded while you were drinking your iced latte. As for the eco-friendly shampoo, sometimes it wouldn’t lather as well or come with a sub-par scent in addition to being way more expensive.
Green goods have come lightyears since they were introduced. In 2021, hair care and beauty brands are able to provide luxury product results, earth-friendly production, and more environmentally-focused packaging standards— all wrapped up into one superstar product.
This week, we’re going to make the case for environmentally-friendly hair care routines, vouch for some new products (which you should pick up ASAP), and show you how it’ll make a difference in the long run.
The Side Effects of Beauty
There’s a lot that happens environmentally when you embark on your daily beauty routine. Odds are, you haven’t thought about the resources it takes to bring you that morning glow. Water, electricity, and all the packaging components we consume are just a few to start off with.
First things first— water. Here are some shocking numbers about the water used in one year of daily hair washing.
- 3750 gallons of water consumed
- The energy equivalent of leaving a lightbulb on for 20,800 hours (over two years)
- The equivalent to a half-ton of carbon dioxide emission
Surprised by the size of these figures? They represent a single individual over the course of a year from one single task. Imagine if millions of households across the world implemented smarter washing habits. The saved water, energy, and reduced emissions would be staggering.
The consequences of excessive washing aren’t just environmental. Overwashing not only contributes to environmental waste, but also hair damage. So are you really winning when you take that extra daily wash? Nobody is.
Our natural inclination is to assume that eco-friendly practices are rooted in self sacrifice. However, if we dig into the micro decisions that make up our routines, we may uncover that modifying our habits to become increasingly sustainable actually helps us in the long run as well.
Forbes reported that the cosmetics industry contributes 120 billion units of packaging every year. This production volume directly aids the annual deforestation of 18 million acres. Why so much? Constant seasonal product redesigns and unnecessarily wide product offerings are a huge culprit. Some brands offer the exact same product in three different packaging forms in order to market it differently. This compounds the waste created.
Many beauty brands have stepped up to the plate and began reducing the number of products within a line, focusing on quality over quantity. They’ve also axed flashy packaging and replaced it with beautiful minimal designs. This practice of counter-worthy design has made shelves with natural products a social media phenomenon. More simple packaging makes for reduced waste and instagrammable beauty products.
More and more beauty brands are creating products with packaging sourced from post-consumer recycled materials. Another decision that cuts down on excess.
It’s A Win-Win Scenario
In the beauty world, forget having to compromise on quality in order to be eco-friendly. Beauty gurus and brands have risen to the challenge, creating products that radically reduce waste, cut out toxins, and still give you the look you want. Talk about natural glow.
We’re going to break down some of the key benefits— for you and for the planet.
How You Win
- Say goodbye to dryness. Cutting down on water usage makes for healthier hair. Excess washing strips essential minerals and oils from the hair, leaving it lackluster and brittle.
- The bliss of natural ingredients. Natural products tend to be less reactive, reducing irritation. They also are known for lacking chemicals which dry out the hair and skin. Plus, it’s nice to know that everything in your hair serum or shampoo is derived directly from real ingredients.
- Beautifully-crafted hair care. Less products within a line means more attention to detail. Eco-friendly hair care is often beautifully minimal and ready to be put on display. Would you leave your current hair oil out on your counter? Probably not. Many green brands will bring you beautiful product offerings made with recyclable materials.
- Scrap The Irritants. Ammonium chloride and formaldehyde are frequently used ingredients in hair care. They’ve been shown to cause eye and throat irritation. In some cases, even nausea, fatigue and other allergic reactions. Formaldehyde is also considered carcinogenic.
How The Planet Wins
- Fewer unnecessarily-consumed resources. Saved water, saved electricity, saved packaging materials. Less deforestation, less in the landfill, less overall waste.
- Less Toxins In The Water. Many shampoos contain sodium laureth sulfate. This chemical can cause dangerous mutations in animals if consumed. The large amount of this chemical entering the water stream has been linked to environmental damage when not properly filtered.
- The More (Activists) The Merrier. Fighting stigmas that eco-friendly products aren’t as effective is a difficult task. It can be hard to jump from your comfort zone and try a new routine. The more beauty lovers that join the movement, the easier it is to destigmatize green product offerings and promote more sustainable beauty.
Your New Eco-Friendly Routine
Here are the steps to developing your new and improved planet-focused hair care routine.
- Start From Scratch. Put your old non-natural products to the side for a bit. Invest in a new set of basics (shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, hair oils, texturizing cream) with naturally derived ingredients. Research a few brands and try the one which most speaks to you and your lifestyle. Or play around with different products from different brands till you find your new favorite.
- Wash Less. You’ll start to see dramatic personal results from this step pretty quickly. Less scalp flakiness, stronger hair, more elasticity. Planet wins. You win.
- Use Homemade Remedies. Instead of the packaged mask from the cosmetics store, try something straight from nature. Fresh aloe leaves can be purchased at local health foods stores. Dive into the impressive lineup of natural benefits for the hair strand and scalp. Plus, it’ll help you to unlock the naturalist aesthetic you've been grasping at for ages. Fresh eucalyptus is also a great routine additive as it contains antiseptic properties and a spa-worthy scent.
- Use Eco-Friendly Tools. The dryer and curler you’ve been using since college have a huge carbon footprint (and they’re frying your hair). Cut the cord with the last generation of hair care tools and embrace the functional luxury of AER. Our dryer operates at lower wattages, using less energy while still delivering the best quality dry. How does the cordless AER dryer deliver a dry just as quickly? You can thank our ionizer and AI drying sensor system.
- Follow The Leader(s). There are tons of vegan and environmentally friendly beauty gurus out there who share tips and routines nearly every day. Read up on some who stand out to you and tweak your routine along the way. The industry is constantly bringing innovation— especially in the green beauty circles.
No routine looks the same— and they shouldn’t. We all have different textures, curl patterns, styling needs, and routine time allowances. Have fun creating your new routine, allowing yourself to be adaptable along the way.
AER’s Investment In Sustainability
AER has had a commitment to sustainability since we were founded. We don’t need to be convinced to adapt our products to be eco-friendly— they were initially designed with that very intent.
The cordless AER dryer uses dramatically less power. Our wattage clocks in at a third of that of the leading brands. AER’s engineers constructed the AER Dryer with the ability to operate at lower wattages while still delivering the heat needed to get the job done. Having both was always possible, the tool was just waiting for someone to take a crack at the engineering puzzle— and after years of development, we’ve made it happen.
Let’s map out the impact. For every 100 standard dryers replaced with AER dryers, we remove the energy equivalent of 4.5 car emissions from the road annually. We’re leading the charge in luxury sustainable beauty.
That’s just the start. Our next goal is to replace 10,000 dryers. That’s equivalent to removing 450 car emissions from the road annually.
Between the sustainability commitments of our community and the coupled efficiency of our dryers, we’re expecting big results in the years to come.