Natural Product Movement Update

April is Earth Month. And in celebration, we’re delving into the ever-growing “green” beauty market—a category that has the potential to protect the earth while keeping hairdressers healthy. “Water is integral to our industry and it’s something we take for granted,” says Ian Michael Black, Aveda Global Artistic Director, Hair Color. That’s why hairdressers have to fight for a healthier planet. And going green isn’t just altruistic, it’s smart business. “The organic and natural personal care market is projected to grow 10 percent every year, totaling $22 billion dollars by 2024,” says Scott Mitchell, Simply Organic CEO. “The hair segment will be the second largest segment of that market.” Here’s an easy breakdown of the natural-product movement—what it means for your career, health and the world at large.

The Terms

Let’s be honest, the words “natural” and “organic” can be confusing. That’s why we asked our experts to break down what the terms mean. First, let’s unpack the word “organic.” As it turns out, the United States Department of Agriculture has very specific guidelines for labeling something organic. “The USDA states a product is certified organic if it contains 95 percent or more organic ingredients after water and salt are removed,” says Mitchell. “And, you can say ‘made with organic ingredients’ if the percentage of organic ingredients in the product is greater than 70 percent.” As for the word “natural,” that turns out to be a little less specific, but many companies striving to be more green have come up with their own natural-product standards. “Aveda defines ‘naturally derived’ ingredients as having more than 50 percent of the molecule coming from a plant, non-petroleum mineral, water or other natural source,” says Dave Rapaport, Aveda Vice President, Earth and Community Care. But the best way to really understand if a product is truly “natural” is to actually look at the ingredient list. “The front of the package is where all the clever marketing takes place,” says Chuck Frank, All-Nutrient President and Founder. “But the panel on the back tells you the real story.”

The Timing

This industry “green boom” has been gaining ground for decades. But why has it come to the forefront now? The category explosion owes its momentum to three very distinct elements: the healthy-food movement, scientific studies and online accessibility. “Consumers became very conscious of the artificial, heavily processed foods they were putting into their bodies,” says Charlie Gant, Biolage Marketing Director. “Then we saw a shift. People were becoming very aware of the chemicals they put on their bodies.” Further accelerating the natural beauty movement were scientific studies linking certain synthetics to illness. “There was a time when nobody cared about natural ingredients and synthetics were very popular,” says Jeff Orrell, Neuma Haircare President. “Then the rise in cancer rates and neurological diseases became more prevalent.” As consumers became more internet-savvy, they were able to read these scientific studies and started seeking products with naturally derived ingredients. As a result, manufacturers began to remove synthetic and questionable ingredients and replacing them with natural-based alternatives. Together, the natural-food movement, scientific studies and online accessibility created an unstoppable marketing force, making a new growth category for the professional beauty world.

The Benefits

Change isn’t easy. And the benefits for incorporating “natural” or “organic” products might not be overtly apparent to some. But the truth is, greener products help salons both on a personal and a professional level. For the individual hairdresser, the reason to go green could simply be to curb exposure to potentially toxic ingredients. “Stylists don’t realize that the chemicals they’re breathing on a daily basis could be extremely harmful to their health,” says Frank. For the salon owner—besides wanting to keep her staff healthy—there’s an economic benefit. “If you want to sell to the biggest clientele base, you need a ‘greentailing’ section,” says Orrell. “Otherwise, they’ll go to Whole Foods, Sprouts or somewhere else that offers a more natural solution.” And lastly, there’s the global concern. Research has shown that there is a positive impact on the environment when large groups of people switch to natural alternatives—groundwater becomes cleaner and air quality becomes healthier. To put a more personal spin on it, think of it this way: An overwhelming majority of stylists, colorists and salon owners have children, and our experts urge us to consider them. “At Biolage, being green is a continuous journey of improvement,” says Gant. “Striving to be sustainable means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. This requires continuous focus at every level of the organization.” As an ancient Native American proverb goes: We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. 

The Future

Staying ahead of the game is simply smart business. That’s why we wanted to know what the future holds for the green beauty market. For Mitchell the answer came easily. “At Simply Organic we’re using plants that aren’t just organic, they’re biodynamic—which means they’re grown without pesticides or polluting farm machinery. Instead the plants are picked by real people in accordance with the moon’s lunar cycles,” says Mitchell. This timing means that the plants are at their most potent and the soil isn’t overworked. Neuma Haircare is focusing their attention on “green chemistry” innovations. “Green chemistry duplicates natural materials that have no negative impact on us and our environment,” says Orrell. “It’s becoming a new benchmark for the green category in hair care.” At All-Nutrient the focus is solidly on vegetable-derived compounds replacing petroleum-derived materials. “We were the first hair color in the world to use Zemea propandiol, which is a 100 percent corn-derived compound. It delivers superior color, prevents skin irritation and is less harmful than oil-derived alternatives,” says Frank. Biolage is making huge strides in sustainable ingredient sourcing. “When developing Biolage R.A.W. our goal was to give back to the communities from which our key ingredients were sourced,” says Gant. “For instance we use quinoa husk from Bolivia, which is a great renewable cosmetic ingredient. Historically it was considered waste, but our purchase of this ingredient helps provide benefits to the growers in Bolivia.” And Aveda is particularly proud of its wind power initiatives that protect the Earth. “Aveda is the first beauty company in the world to manufacture with 100 percent wind power,” says Rapaport. “Our wind energy purchases offset 100 percent of the energy used by our primary facility in our company headquarters and institute.”

Natural Selection

Oway Hcolor is formulated to reduce the risk of allergies and is made with nourishing plant butters, pure essential oils, biodynamic botanicals and fair trade ingredients.

Biolage R.A.W. Recover Shampoo is 70 percent natural origin and 99 percent biodegradable, with no sulfates, silicones, parabens or artificial colorants. Formulated with yucca and goji berry, the shampoo helps restore shine and strength to sensitized hair. 

All-Nutrient  Professional Permanent Cream Haircolor uses a natural, vegetable-derived base that’s infused with active keratin micro-protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids—all of which reconstruct the hair from the inside out. 

Aveda Shampure Thermal Dry Conditioner is the perfect complement to dry shampoo, instantly conditioning, detangling and softening hair between washes. Bonus: This dry conditioner is 97 percent naturally derived and smells divine.  

Neuma Haircare  neuStyling Texturizer adds lightweight, touchable texture and hold with easy-to-restyle definition and movement. The nongreasy, humidity-resistant formula holds the hair while reducing frizz and boosting shine. 

From the April issue, click here for the digital edition.