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in collaboration with Eco Hair and Beauty and Green Salon Collective // funding from UK Research and Innovation // support from L'Oréal, Wella, Aveda and Toni & Guy // research assistance from Stephanie Hodgson
ECO TIP 10: True or false: Lots of hot water, air and chemicals is good for your hair and skin.
False! Too much of these is most definitely not good for your hair condition nor skin. Not to mention the planet or your bills!
Read on for:
Washing hair in tepid or lukewarm water rather than hot water is better for the follicles and overall hair condition. It is also less ageing on the skin and less likely to irritate the skin especially if using shampoo or shower gels, which often contain harsh chemicals.
Blow drying too much or for too long can strip natural oils from your scalp. It can also make your hair brittle.
Shampoo often contains chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulphate which also strip the oil from the hair (made worse if water is too hot) and can be very harsh on your skin and hair.
Shorter showers and air drying your hair can result in cost savings. Reducing the amount/frequency of washing your hair can result in cost savings as electricity and water usage is reduced.
Heating water is the most expensive thing we do in our homes – a hot shower costs between 50 and 100 times more per minute than leaving the television or computer on for example.
EXPERT TIP: Wash your hair in tepid or lukewarm water rather than hot water – this also saves money!
Water is becoming a scarce resource. Yes, even in the UK! You can help by taking shorter showers and shampooing less.
Also, heating water produces greenhouse gas emissions. For example, if you have a hot shower for 8 minutes every day, this amounts to approximately 7kg of CO2 emissions per week.
You can significantly reduce your carbon footprint just by having shorter showers.
Compared to heating your home or heating water, blow drying doesn’t use an enormous amount of energy. But the message here is the awareness of how our daily activities affect our energy usage and ultimately our carbon footprint.
1: Shorter showers and shampooing less often saves time. If you share bathroom with others this can be a real bonus!
2: Less blow drying, less noise. We think noise reduction is definitely a bonus! Just think about the conversations you try to continue with your hairdresser when they get around to blow drying!
3: When you start to pay attention to the harsh chemicals in the products you buy, you may also start to notice ingredients like palm oil which is associated with deforestation, climate change, air pollution and habitat loss.
Many of the above issues apply just as well to other household activities that involve hot water and electricity. Showering for less time, filling the kettle only as far as necessary and washing clothes only when you need to are all ways to save money and help the planet.
Laundry detergents are now designed to wash clothes at 30 degrees not 40 or 60. If you look at the washing instructions on your clothes/bedding, very few ask for temperatures above 40.
If you have stubborn stains, it is much better to pre-soak and use a stain remover than to hammer the fabric with excessively high temperatures for a long time.
Scientists are increasingly realising that our body and skin is protected by its own healthy bacteria which fights off germs and viruses. Therefore if we wash too long with too many chemicals, not only are we washing off unwanted bacteria – we are washing off our skin’s natural protective bacteria.
Many people are switching to probiotic cleaning products which have been proven in tests to work for much longer than conventional anti-bacterial cleaning products for just that reason – a recent study showed that probiotic cleaners and soap were more effective at dealing with harmful bacteria than detergent.
Just as overuse of antibiotics can destroy your body's ‘good’ gut bacteria, too many washing products like shampoo and shower gel can impair the effectiveness of your skin’s natural ‘good’ bacteria. Hair colour and bleach is especially harsh.
Many cleaning products, not just shampoos and shower gels, but also detergents that include ammonia and/or bleach are toxic and release volatile organic compounds that can be bad for our health. In tests, simple baking powder and white vinegar is almost always at least as effective as the harsh detergents, and much cheaper and less toxic to our health and the environment.