A wake-up call to hair and beauty products manufacturers

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Excessive beauty packaged products numb me. Why? I’m concerned about why I should still maintain my healthy skin and hair but still contribute to plastic pollution. Why I should keep to the standards of buying way too many products in plastic packaging then trash them when I am done. In essence, these are still single-use plastic packaging which we mostly do not reuse after we are done. This is only a revelation I had after the number of beauty collection I had amassed while back when I wanted to know how much product I use. I turned out I’m very frugal and use fewer products. Maybe because the notion of a woman must be beautiful and needs to use a variety of products to reach a certain look has not been engraved in my mind. We get so many promises from the hair and beauty industry that promise to de-wrinkle, soften, illuminate, gloss, plump, moisturize among other beauty terms used. It is very apparent that this market is generating a lot of ugly plastic waste in the name of beauty.

Most of the beauty products we use are packaged in plastic. Technically, this is ‘wasted’ beauty that ends up in our landfills and incinerators. Realising how much we waste as individuals can be an eye-opener. This is especially so if you are concerned about the future of the planet with or without you. Our trash is filled with basic items which we use on a day to day basis. Living without these products could be horrifying. But, we can choose to be responsible citizens.

Lipbalm in glass packaging © MugziesNaturals

This is as easy as reading ingredients on beauty products. Some products contain harmful chemicals which are not only harmful to your body but the environment as well. Another question one should always be asking themselves is the packaging. Is it biodegradable, reusable or can it be recycled? Recycling should be your last resort.  Not all plastic packaging ends up in a recycling plant. Most, end up piled up in dumpsites and clogging our drains. However, in the case you think you cannot live without this items, how about thinking in the lines of always buying in bulk (that large container lasts longer anyway) or even making your own beauty products.

Responsible consumption and production are clearly highlighted in Sustainable Development Goal 12. It is a two-way street. Manufacturers should be responsible for the packaging they use on frequently used products, while we consumers should be aware of what we buy every day. This way, we can ensure, manufacturers are kept to pace on how products are packaged when the consumer is fully aware of the environment and is seeking to have packaging that is sustainable and not harmful to the environment.

We urgently need to reduce our ecological footprint and it starts with noticing our habits from what we use on bodies to what we feed our bodies. As Goal 12 stipulates, there is the need to substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse. If you have ever wondered how you can reduce your carbon footprint, think about the beauty products you use. You will be surprised by the number of alternatives available.

Glass packaged Coconut oil © Sheth Naturals


The top priority beauty products packaging materials include glass, stainless steel and bio-degradable materials. With the beauty industry thriving in Kenya, especially the Natural Hair industry, a majority of this enterprises prefer to use glass for their packaging.  Our closets, wardrobes, bathrooms or wherever one keeps their beauty products need not be an environmental hazard. Less is sometimes always more. Even though the majority of companies seem slow to embrace environmental packaging strategies we can choose to spark change by ‘demanding’ waste-free packaging.

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Vicki Wangui
Vicki Wangui
Vicki Wangui is a believer in all things beautiful. A believer in spreading information in regards to environmental awareness. A believer in sharing all that is good in Kenya's natural world. A believer in speaking truth with no boundaries. Do you have a story, photo, experience or message you need to share? Send your work to nyikasilika@gmail.com.

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