What a shower can change

What a shower can change

Sponsored by: COSSMA | Written by: Helga Hertsig

What a shower can change: How cooler shampooing and colder, less frequent showers can make your personal care routine more sustainable and how the personal care industry can support consumers with innovative formulations

In her article in Cossma (www.cossma.com), Helga Hertsig of Hint Futurology in Dublin, Ireland, talks about the environmental impact a simple personal care routine like a shower can have.

Sustainability is the catchphrase par excellence when you ask about current trends and demands regarding cosmetic products. Consumersw themselves can change a lot with their behaviour – for example when showering. With an improved formulation, brands can support them in this while strengthening their sustainable reputation.

Cooler shampooing, colder showers… consumers and the personal care industry need to make some big and uncomfortable changes if we’re going to have a sustainable future. If we don’t address this now, then everything else is plastering over the cracks.

Approximately 90% of the carbon footprint of hair products comes from warming the water for showering. Consumers have the power to dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of many products. Just as we’ve learned to only boil the water we need (not fill up the kettle for only one cup of tea), we need to shower shorter. Quick foam and no rinse or fast rinse products already exist and need to go mainstream. Also consider how much water we waste, letting the shower get to the right temperature! Washing at 37°C would immediately cut that time down.

Is it really necessary to shower so frequently? For a brief time, some Hollywood celebrities were claiming to take fewer showers and only wash the bits that need it – citing the Californian drought and their microbiome as the reason why. Then there’s ‘hair training’ – a TikTok trend to gradually prolong the time in between washes – which isn’t taking off as it only works for certain scalp and hair types. What are the consequences for hair and body care? Should shampoos be ‘stronger’ to deal with a greater build-up of grease, dirt, styling agents, etc? If water shaming becomes mainstream, then will styling hair with excessive amounts of product be shameful, or something only for the wealthy? What can we learn from hygiene protocols in hospitals, nursing homes and even camping?

Unfortunately, the glow of knowing you’re doing the right thing, won’t make up for the little discomfort we experience with shorter and cooler washing. Our industry must create new moments of wellbeing to replace those that will be ‘lost’ with new washing practices. Focus on mindful touch in pre- and post-shower habits – i.e. water free – dry brushing for example is great for exfoliation and warms you before you shower. Explore warming formulations post shower. This is an exciting opportunity for body care.

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