Eco-friendly hair removal is a beauty procedure that, by definition, must not deplete or monopolize resources, harm animals, or create unnecessary waste. It is defined as one that is ethical in practice and does not poison or litter the environment.
There is no federal regulation on the use of the word eco-friendly, so be wary of the word when it is used for advertising. To confirm that a hair removal or shaving product is eco-friendly, look for descriptions like “organic,” “fair trade,” and “sustainable” on the packaging.
The word describes a lifestyle where people refuse to harm nature in any way. This also means not using methods to remove body hair that require electricity, such as electric razors, synthetic hair removal products, or creating chemical waste.
Sustainable Hair Removal
If resources are to be used, then the eco-friendly person makes sure that they are removing hair while ensuring the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Practicing the rule of reduce, reuse, and recycle represents a concerted effort to avoid clogging landfills with items such as disposable plastic razors. Choosing ethical hair removal options also prevents harsh chemicals from entering the water.
Those of us who are trying to be Eco-friendly also don’t buy cruelty-free products from companies such as Lush cosmetics. This means that the company doesn’t source labor from exploited countries or participate in the depletion of rare resources.
A contentious issue in the beauty industry right now is the use of avocados. Growing avocados requires too much water to sustain the demand for them in natural skincare products.
An environmentally friendly company uses next to no cardboard packaging and dispenses with plastic shell packaging. Unfortunately, cheap plastic razors are sold in plastic packaging. In addition, most shaving creams contain petroleum products and toxic aerosol agents that endanger the environment.
The Most Sustainable Way to Remove Body Hair
The leading contenders for the most sustainable hair removal methods are sugaring, threading, and shaving with a stainless steel safety razor. However, each has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to removing unwanted hair.
Sugaring is one of the simplest ways to accomplish sustainable hair removal. It is not only degradable and reusable, but this eco hair removal technique involves only three ingredients: sugar, water, and lemon juice.
The recipe for sugar wax is easy. Mix three cups of sugar with 3/4 water and a 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Heat the mixture in a saucepan until it turns into a sticky wax.
When the wax is a bit cooled off, roll it around in the palm of your hands and then stretch it out over the area that needs hair removal.
Press the sugar wax firmly down on your skin, hold for a few seconds and then rip it back quickly.
Note that as ecologically correct as sugar waxing is, it works best on longer, softer hair. It is ideal for removing peach fuzz, but it is not that effective on short, coarse beard hair or removing tweezed hairs from the eyebrow area.
There are two very subtle environmental concerns related to the use of sugar wax. One is that energy is expended heating the wax, and if the energy used is gas or oil, it is considered ecologically incorrect.
The other concern is whether or not the sugar has been sourced ethically from countries with fair labor practices. Look for the Fair Trade symbol before you buy.
Threading is one of the most straightforward procedures around, only involving a certified threading artist, her hands, and a piece of thread. The thread is then looped around her fingers to make a mini lasso and rolled back and forth across the skin to remove the hair.
Although threading is a form of sustainable hair removal, it is only suitable for use on small areas of skin. This is why it is mainly used to remove hair from the eyebrows. It would take a couple of hours to remove a significant amount of hair from the entire body using this method.
Threading is also desirable for men and women who want their eyebrows arched and shaped. Eyebrow threading usually takes less than ten minutes, and because there is no use of toxic chemicals or scraping with a razor, it is ideal for sensitive skin.
Shaving With Stainless Steel Safety Razors
One of the most convenient ways to remove hair is to use a razor. However, if you are using disposable ones, then you are not doing the environment a favor. They are not recyclable and often end up in a landfill.
Shaving with metal razors is the way to go, and for maximum eco-friendliness, use a stainless steel safety razor. Although the blades must be replaced, they last months longer than disposable razor blades. It’s a one-time investment that will last you for years.
Many companies that sell safety razors also offer recycling options for worn-out blades. If the blade is dull, then you can sharpen it yourself. There is simply no need to buy a new razor, ever.
Eco-Friendly Shaving Cream
The problem is that foam-based shaving creams tend to contain toxic ingredients for both your body and the environment.
The most common poisons and pollutants found in commercial shaving creams include ethylene oxide, ammonia, and propylene glycol (the chemical found in antifreeze.) Aside from poisoning fish and wildlife, these chemicals have been known to cause allergies, asthma, and eczema.
Aerosol shaving creams contain propellants such as propane and butane. These are hydrocarbons that contribute to greenhouse gasses and global warming.
Shaving with natural oil, such as coconut oil, which is anti-bacterial and heals the skin at the same time might be a good alternative to commercial shaving creams. Expired yogurt, which is clarifying and moisturizing, can also be applied to the place and used to remove hair.
Of course, the most eco-friendly way to remove hair is not involving shaving cream at all. Instead, consider a procedure like threading that plucks all of the hair out of the shafts all in one go.
Is Laser Hair Removal Eco-Friendly?
When it comes to sustainability, it almost qualifies because it removes facial hair and body hair permanently after five or six treatments. This means that the world saves resources and energy because you are not visiting a beauty professional for regular treatments.
As laser hair removal requires transportation to get to the appointment (unless you walk) and electricity to operate the laser, it is not considered a true eco-friendly hair removal method. However, it has proved to be very effective, painless, and permanent.
Avoid These Hair Removal Options
Many of us have been using toxic hair removal cream or plastic razors for years without realizing how bad they are for the environment and fair labor practices.
By avoiding the following three ways of removing hair and opting for eco hair removal instead, you will be doing your part to save the environment.
Shaving With A Disposable Razor
It is time to stop using disposable razors as part of your shaving routine and invest in an actual stainless steel razor that is so sharp that you will never get razor burn.
Using a steel razor is also much safer and more effective than using a disposable razor. Cheaper razors cause burns after just a few swipes. Steel razors are also best for shaving beards and removing hair from underarms and legs.
Aside from being the number one cause of skin irritation and ingrown hairs, cheap razors are also one of the number one causes of plastic pollution. You can get a much smoother shave with a safety razor.
Plastic razors are one of those products with built-in obsolescence. You are meant to use it once or twice and then throw it out, which is a common ploy used by the beauty industry to make you spend more money. Two billion disposable plastic razors end up in landfills and waterways each year.
Hair Removal Cream
Hair removal creams work by using chemicals to dissolve the hair on your face, so you can imagine what happens when these toxic hair removal products are rinsed off and seep into groundwater and waterways.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an organic hair removal cream, even though beauty manufacturers try to disguise the obvious sulphuric odor of these creams by adding cocoa butter, coconut oil, and essential oils to their formulas.
The proper name for hair removal cream is “chemical depilatory.” Chemicals such as calcium hydroxide and strontium hydroxide have a pH of 12 and work by destroying the keratin protein in each hair strand.
Veet, Magic Shave, and Nair should never be used for facial hair for this reason. You could burn your upper lip if you remove a mustache or risk blindness if you apply it to the brow area and it accidentally enters your eye.
The same chemicals that break down your hair will also break down the upper layer of the cells on your dermis, so this toxic hair removal method is not the way to go if you have sensitive skin.
Waxing is not the absolute worst of the hair removal methods available to you as long as you are using a ball of natural wax that is rolled up, warmed in your hands, and repeatedly used to remove hair growth patches from different parts of your body. The problem with this type of sticky wax agent is that it is just not that effective at removing the body or facial hair.
To minimize the discomfort and drying effect of the waxing process, mainstream brands use either mineral oil or paraffin in their waxes, which are derived from petroleum. Unfortunately, petroleum is damaging to the environment because its extraction involves damage to the landscape and labor exploitation.
To Wrap Things Up
Here are some things to remember about sustainable hair removal.
An eco-friendly person is conscious of the carbon print they leave behind. They reduce, reuse, and recycle all waste from any beauty procedures in their life. They also ensure that any professional beautician they choose does the same, refusing to produce unnecessary waste or use synthetic products.
The rule of thumb is the simpler the hair removal procedure is, the more likely it is to be eco-friendly.