Earth-Friendly Hair Care: The Future of Sustainability in the Beauty Industry

Today on B. Spoke, one of our favorite #BriogeoBabes gets real about sustainability in the beauty industry! Our girl, Lauren Ritchie, studies Sustainable Development at Columbia University and is based right here in NYC! She's here to talk about what inspired her to pursue a career in sustainability, her hair journey and how to make even the smallest difference for our environment. 




As a girl with a head full of thick curls, I spend a lot of time on my hair. From washing to brushing to lathering on layers of products in a vain attempt to get my unruly mane to cooperate, I expend an unhealthy amount of time, energy, and resources into making sure that my hair looks the best possible. That being said, it wasn’t long before I began to fully understand the toll that my hair was having on the environment. What to me felt like just a simple regimen was actually increased carbon emissions, harsh chemical ingredients, unethical practices, and non-recycled single-use plastic waste -- a​ll wrapped up into my everyday morning hair routine.


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Growing up in The Bahamas, the environment was always very important to me. On small islands, it’s very easy to see the damage that climate change and environmental degradation can cause, especially for the nations that negatively contribute the least. I took part in a lot of beach cleanups and volunteered for environmental organizations as means to contribute to saving my home in any way that I could and now attending Columbia University in New York City, that passion for the environment has increased tenfold. My desire to preserve the natural environment has led me to study Sustainable Development, a major dedicated to creating solutions to some of the world’s biggest social and environmental issues.

Nonetheless, although (big picture) I always knew that I wanted to do my part to save the planet by implementing international environmental laws, it served as a rude awakening to grasp that I needed to do much more​ with the seemingly small aspects of my everyday life to reduce my negative environmental impact.

And that started with my hair. 



When you have hair like mine, trying to find a hair care brand that works for you is already hard enough, but finding a brand that ​also​ does its part to practice sustainable beauty? It feels near impossible.

So, what do you do if you want to ​look great​ and respect the planet​ too?

I stumbled upon ​Briogeo​ one day last summer through an ad on Instagram (the ones that seem a little suspiciously ​too​ specific to exactly what you’re looking for). Around this time, sustainability was beginning to become a much bigger hot topic of discussion in the global community but for girls with naturally curly hair, there still didn’t seem to be quite enough earth-friendly and practical options for us.



For me and B​riogeo​, it was love at first sight...or in this case, love at first w​ash and go. ​Not only did I love everything that ​Briogeo​ stood for with clean, vegan, and cruelty-free ingredients, but I can honestly say that the Curl Charisma line contained some of the few products that actually gave me great results on the first try.



Even better, I admired everything that the company did, and continues to do, to reduce their carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets and sending PR packages in recycled packaging, as opposed to single-use plastic. Even the products themselves are contained within recycled plastic containers, a great way to remain practical but also reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste that harms marine life ecosystems.

My favourite thing overall about Briogeo,however, is the fact that they are so open to trying to learn and improve. Whilst I feel like most companies that have achieved their level of environmentally-conscious success would have become complacent, Briogeo remains eager to learn more and do more to help the planet (even if that means consulting plucky college students like myself and listening to me blabber on for hours about “how cool sustainability is!!”. Seriously though, it’s pretty amazing.



I think there’s more that we can all do to be more eco-conscious in our everyday lives and even for someone like me who devotes most of her time to sustainability-related activities, there’s still much more that I can do and learn as well. The easiest way to become more eco-conscious in your everyday lives, and particularly within your hair and beauty routines, is to actively look into brands and companies that make an effort to be earth-friendly and stock up on those products instead. From there, it’s all about the​ little things ​that we often wouldn’t even think twice about like turning off the shower water when you’re washing your hair, or using reusable wipes instead of cotton pads, or using recycled jars and containers, or maybe even trying to simplify your beauty routine to include less products and cut back on waste.

Although some of these tips are probably a lot easier said than done, the important thing is that you make a conscious effort to at least ​try. Sustainability in the beauty industry is still a pretty new concept and thus, revamping your beauty routine to include more sustainable alternatives isn’t going to happen overnight! Moving forward, let’s all just work towards being more mindful of our choices and how they impact the environment (and we can make sure we still look awesome while doing it!)


Lauren Ritchie | @laurenaritchie


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