How will Global Warming affect the hair care industry? Essay

How will Global Warming affect the hair care industry?

Today, global warming is an undeniable fact rooted in scientific research, and the entire planet, including every life form on it is in trouble. Global warming affects many areas of human life, such as health, politics and economics. The pre­dictions of scientists worsen as emissions of greenhouse gases and global temperatures increase at shocking rates. Sadly, global warming is mainly caused by human activities around the world. Industry is one of the main sources of environmental pollution and global warming today.   Mandatory changes resulting from global warming will affect the hair care business, forcing it to reevaluate its current emissions.

The hair care industry represents a large market with “global sales amounting to US$42.4 billion” (Briney).  Because global warming is becoming severe, politicians and law makers are beginning to suggest strict regulations and quality standards to be applied to many industries including the hair care industry and its market. As a result, hair care industries will need to make drastic changes in order create hair care products which are not damaging to the environment while maintaining sales and profit rates.

According to research results during the last 200 years, a significant climate change has occurred, caused by high levels of carbon dioxide released into the air. Studies show that human activities have a profound impact on the greenhouse effect and the level of CO2 in the atmosphere (Pidwirny ). Carbon dioxide is present at higher concentrations than the other greenhouse gasses and therefore plays a bigger role in global warming.  However, because, the greenhouse effect is the direct result of burning fossil fuels, agriculture and land clearing, the gasses produced by these activities are also harmful.  They are carbon dioxide, methane (CH4), the halocarbons (CFCs) and nitrous oxide, which causes the destruction of the rainforests (Pidwirny).

Most air pollution results from combustion (burning) processes. The burning of gasoline to power motors and the burning of coal to heat buildings and help manufacture products are examples of such processes. Each time a fuel is burned in a combustion process, some type of pollutant is released into the air, damaging the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from radiation (Global Warming).

Many hair care products contribute to this damage.  Strict regulations will affect the hair care industry tremendously. If certain hair care products were proven to contain any greenhouse gases, regulations would have to be enforced to control or eliminate their production.  Clearly the news media would report these issues on television, in newspapers and on the internet in order to inform consumers about their dangers.  Campaigns might be undertaken by environmentalists or by companies to create awareness of the danger of using certain hair care products.  But would people stop buying these products?  Maybe, and maybe not.

Consumers can control other forms of damaging pollution, such as driving hybrid cars and recycling, but clearly fewer people than necessary actually take part in these activities.  Thus, the government may have to impose legislation to control pollution caused by the hair care industries, forcing them to pull their products off the shelf and to make substantial changes to them.

Unfortunately, the pollution control legislation may cause these businesses to lose profits which can cause other problems, like reducing the quality of the product, terminating employees, or reducing marketing and advertising in order to compensate.  In USA Today, according to the Bush administration, global warming is not severe enough to warrant new pollution controls because these controls can cost millions of Americans their jobs.  In addition, the ability to monitor hair care industry may actually worsen in the future because the most cost-effective ways to control some emissions will be extremely difficult to monitor. On-site inspection is rare; independent data that might be needed to verify compliance are seldom sought or used.  However, the time may soon come which sees this type of legislation occurring.

In the meantime, changes will need to be voluntary.  Many hair care industries now have taken many steps to improve their products quality so as to reduce the emission of certain greenhouse gas. For instance, in the past CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) was used lmost exclusively as the aerosol repellant in hairspray. Research scientists later learned that CFC is considered as one of the greenhouse gases which deplete the ozone layer. While some companies voluntarily sought alternative methods to project the spray, this was by no means a requirement.  The problem is that aerosol sprays, such as those in hairsprays, produce gasses, that in very small amounts, actually trap large amounts of heat, thus perpetuating the damage to the ozone (Top Ten Manufactured Items that Hurt the Environment). Other greenhouse gasses produced by aerosol cans include carbon dioxide, propane and butane (Eliminate Aerosol Cans).

In addition, aerosol cans are expensive.  “Ounce for ounce, spray on product sold in aerosol cans is about twice the cost of bulk product” (Eliminate Aerosol Cans).  Consumers pay for the extra propellant ingredients in aerosols.   Also, used cans that still have some of these chemicals and gasses inside are hazardous waste materials.  “Under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), aerosol cans may only be recycled or disposed of as non-hazardous wastes if they have been emptied through normal use or punctured and drained to remove significant liquids” (Eliminate Aerosol Cans).  How many women have properly disposed of that ‘nearly empty’ hairspray can in this manner?  Very, very few.

Luckily, effective alternatives to aerosol cans are readily available. They include refillable spray bottles which may be metal canisters that use compressed air to spray the product and plastic containers that use a hand pump to activate a type of mist or misty stream of the product (Eliminate Aerosol Cans).

Therefore, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, many countries replaced these chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) in hair spray with non-aerosol materials and many other organic materials (Senese).   These organic materials are not grown or produced using chemicals. For example, many fruits sold in the supermarket are exposed to pesticides whereas organic fruits are healthier because they are not exposed to pesticides. By using organic products there is little chance that dangerous greenhouse gases will be produced.

Being organic has become a popular trend and is even used in the production of hair care products now. Information about the use of organic materials can be seen in every product’s containers. Because the use of organic materials is believed to reduce pollution, consumers are not discouraged to buy the organic hair care products. Companies such as The Body Shop and Bath and Body Works have already begun using environmentally friendly products.

The Body Shop was founded by Anita Roddick and sells products that are made without animal testing. These products are produced while sustaining healthy and functioning ecosystems. As for Bath and Body Works, the company specializes in numerous brands of fragrant lotions, bath items, personal care items, home fragrances and hair care products. The company boasts that it is now only selling 100% organic products with natural ingredients (Global Warming).

JPMS has recently launched a multimillion dollar advertising campaign which is printed on recycled paper.  The most interesting thing about the ad by a hair care company is that absolutely no products are mentioned in this ad.  Instead, the ad says “Join together to preserve our natural resources, protect our animals and ensure the rights of all people” (Breyer).  The companies CEO boasts that his is the first hair care company to sell the environment and only the environment like this.   “We’re the first hair-care company that ever ran a major ad campaign that talks about changing the world for the better, fighting injustice, and we have 200,000 hairstylists working on this campaign with us.  We do it because we can actually make a difference” (Breyer).

Another company joining JPMS in this awareness campaign is Aveda, which uses 100% wind power to power its plants and uses only plant based ingredients in its products.  Even Aveda’s stores are built with materials such as bamboo.  Aveda and Deborah Milner, a prominent fashion designer, combined efforts to create a line of clothing known as “ecoture” (Breyer).

However, not all of Aveda’s customers care so much about the environment.,  Global marketing director for Aveda notes that “About 50% of our customers aren’t necessarily aware of our environmental practices, but even if they don’t get it, it’s okay, because our commitment to the environment caused it to be a better-performing product for them” (Sacks 50).  He goes on to show the unity of the ‘green’ crown who constantly write letters urging the company to do things like having larger bottles made of recyclable plastic, to the ‘hot pink’ crowd who love following the newest hair care trends no matter what.  Aveda appeals to both groups, and in doing so, emerges as a leader in the new, environmentally friendly, hair care community (Sacks 50).

There is a possibility that hair care industry will be able to use global warming to actually maximize their profits.   For example, many hair care products are now formulated to protect hair and scalp from the sun’s damaging rays.  Many advertising campaigns created to sell their products stress the importance of environmentally friendly products and also of protecting the sun and skin. According to Gabriela M. Wis-Surel, a hair scientist with Unilever in Edgewater, New Jersey, “The natural environment, including sunlight and humidity, changes hair’s structure and color.  Protein makes up about 95 percent of a human hair. The rest is fatty molecules, such as lipids, and pigment molecules” (Gorman).  She designed several studies that evaluated the sun’s effect on hair color and stability to determine sun damage and humidity characteristics.

Rahn Cosmetics is an example of a company that is committed to purer products.  Their line of hair care products is called Puricare which uses botanical peptides from the Moringa tree seeds.  This line of products has earned the company’s own Innovation Award in 2005 (Pitman).  Puricare  product manager Isabelle Stussi said about the Puricare line:  “Natural care ingredients are gaining market share because their health and protective benefits meet consumer demand for products that make a positive contribution to wellness” (Pitman).

While this trend has led to much development in the product lines of numerous companies who are striving to offer antioxidant based products, the bottom line is that the complex formulas have a much higher cost (Pitman).  Consumers must be willing to foot the bill for the time being.   They just might be willing to do just that if they could be certain that the products work.  Advertising dollars are spent in the millions to prove that these organic products do work.

For example, one new product, made from organic materials, may just be the answer to a common hair ailment that many individuals suffer from – dandruff!  “ElestabTM HP 100 (Hexamidine diisethionate) is a polyvalent preservative with a particularly broad anti-microbial spectrum against bacteria, yeasts and moulds” (Elestab TM HP 100). This product has two special properties, its cationic character (the substance and consistency of it) and its efficacy against Malassezia furfur (the fungus that causes dandruff), which led to the further investigation of this product as an additive for dandruff shampoo.

A clinical study was carried out on 32 volunteers, using a shampoo containing 0.1% ElestabTM HP 100 every day during 4 weeks, against                                  placebo and positive control (zinc pyrithione at 1 %). Evaluations by the                                  users    have shown that:

1) The anti-dandruff effect is visible after 1 week and increases                                       during the 4 weeks of treatment, and

2) The obtained efficacy is at least as good as the positive control,                                   and the effect is maintained 2 weeks after ending the treatment for                                    more than 70% of  the persons, better than zinc pyrithione” (Elestab                           TM HP 100).                                                                                     If the consumer believes the product will work, he might then be willing to spend the extra money for the environmentally friendly product.

However, this is a gamble for the company.  They have millions of dollars of advertising and marketing money tied up in these concepts.  Large companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, and L’Oreal spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year researching their products in order to discover what will sell and what will not sell. While many of these claims are scientifically proven, many are not.  Consumers, sadly, do not often make decisions based on what is FDA approved or scientifically proven.

Not surprisingly, many consumers make choices based on what Hollywood actresses and actors are using.  Thus, simply the recognition of a product is enough to make people buy it.    As a matter of fact, “a well known product recently made over one hundred million dollars without any data to support its claims!” (Reese).  Advertisers could certainly choose to “fake” their research in order to appeal to Hollywood and the consumers who follow its lead.

One example is the hair-color industry.  These dyes contain many harsh, environmentally damaging chemicals and do not even fulfill their advertising promises:                    Although these dyes are marketed to people with a ‘long-term commitment to  color, Dr. Wis-Surel says, she discovered that the color is not nearly as                           committed as its wearer-at least not right away. Some dyes continue to react                  with the hair over the first 2 or 3 days, she found. The color of a person’s hair  when he or she leaves the salon [or finishes treatment]might not be exactly the                same a few days later (Gorman).

Thus, even if consumers want to be educated, they cannot trust the companies to give accurate information.

The precise impacts of global warming are often hard to predict because the world’s climate system is so complicated. One effect may cause another, resulting in a cascade of problems. Hair care industry has such inventory programs in place or under advanced development to decrease level of emissions and pollutants. Many studies and numerous real-world projects show that strict regulations in hair care industry is one of the cheapest ways to manage atmospheric carbon and global warming. The problem is that at the national level of resolution, which is what matters for commitments under international legal agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, many countries are unable to monitor all industries. That a major threat to human activity can be so easily put to one side raises several questions over the conduct of research and the role of scientific information.

Works Cited

Breyer, Michelle.  “Hair Care Companies are Going Green.” June 2007             http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlcolumns/articles.php?id=22080

Briney, Claire. “Global Cosmetic Industry.” goliath.ecnext.com. 01December. 2004.      Goliath. 2007 http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/summary_0199-     3512046_ITM&referid=2090

“Elestab TM HP 100.” Signature:  The Know-How at the Source of Innovation.  11 May           2006 http://www.laboratoires-serobiologiques.com/portals/0/       pdf/LSigNature_11_EN.pd   `

“Eliminate Aerosol Cans.” Maryland Department of Environmental Protections 4 June             2007http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/deptmpl.asp?url=/content/dep/Factshe        ets/ aerosol.asp

“Global Warming.” Wikipedia.org. June. 2007        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming

Gorman, Jessica. “Chemistry of Colors and Curls.”  Science News 160.8 8/25/2001

Pidwirny,  Dr. Michael. “Atmospheric Composition.” physicalgeography.net. 18 March.             2007. University of British Columbia Okanagan. 1999-2007                                          < http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7a.html>

Pitman, “Cognis Awards anti-pollution hair and skin ingredients.”  Cosmetics Design.  2            June 2007 http://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/news/ng.asp?id=65852-  cognis-ls

Reese, Vail.  “Is Hollywood at war with the Cosmetics industry?”  Skinema.  2006             http://www.skinema.com/SpotFaceCreams.html

Sacks, Danielle.  “It’s Easy Being Green.”  Fast Company 85, August 2004: 50             http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/85/aveda.html

Senese, Fred. “What is hairspray made of?.  1999-2005.             http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/consumer/faq/hairspray-       ingredients.shtml

Top Ten Manufactured Items that Hurt the Environment.  5 June 2007             http://loveasanastronaut.tripod.com/id4.html