/ Eco-blog

Microplastics in Haircare – The Facts You Need to Know

by wedo_act

07/07/2022

Underwater image of fish swimming in the sea surrounded by plastic cups, bags and packaging

Microplastics have received a lot of media attention in recent years, and ‘free-from microplastics’ is a growing beauty trend that continues to increase awareness around plastic particle water pollution.

Microplastics can be found in a wide range of commercial products that we use daily, like cleaning substances, hygiene products, cosmetics, and haircare – including cleansing and personal care products. In haircare products microplastics are usually conditioning agents, styling ingredients and exfoliating particles.

The impact microplastics are having on our environment is concerning, but there are ways we can help to prevent the distribution of microplastics in our oceans, soils and freshwater ecosystems. Here at weDo/, we are committed to providing eco-friendly products and helping to educate people on environmental issues that urgently need addressing. Read on to find out more about microplastics and how we can all act together for a more sustainable future.

Line up of weDo/ Professional Moisture & Shine Conditioner, Shampoo and Mask for normal or damaged hair

What are microplastics?

Microplastics are small, plastic polymer particles that are less than 5mm (0.2 inches) in size1. They are categorised as primary and secondary. Primary microplastics are produced for commercial use like cosmetics, while secondary microplastics derive from larger plastic items – such as plastic bottles and packaging – that have broken down due to exposure to environmental factors like the sun and ocean2.

The biggest issue with synthetic microplastics is that they are non-biodegradable and insoluble in water, which means they contribute to plastic pollution and pose an environmental hazard for aquatic animals and pose an environmental hazard for aquatic animals in fresh water and ocean water who unknowingly consume these tiny plastic particles.

It is important not to confuse all microplastics with microbeads. Microbeads are manufactured solid plastic particles with abrasing and exfoliating functions. They are a type of microplastic that are mainly used in cleaning products and personal care products like haircare. Due to their environmental consequences, microbeads have been banned from rinse-off personal care products in several countries across the globe. However, today the public expectation about the absence of microplastics in their products goes far beyond the absence of solid microbeads.

Lots of solid plastic particles tangled in a net and spilling out onto a sandy beach

How Can I Identify Microplastics?

More and more consumers use ingredient scanning apps to easily identify ingredients in cosmetic and personal care products - including microplastics.

It is important to note though that these types of apps do lack the comprehensive information necessary to gauge the environmental footprint of a product just based on the ingredient name alone. Therefore, some of the polymers identified might be natural, biodegradable or water soluble, meaning they would not pollute. 

If you are unsure if a product contains microplastics, it is best to look up this information on the brand’s webpage. Alternatively, you can contact the company or manufacturer. 

The weDo/ approach

weDo/ Professional shares concerns about the issues surrounding microplastics and plastic pollution. As well as being silicone-free, vegan and of natural origin, our products also do not contain polymers that can be classified as microplastics based on the most recent definition proposed by EU regulatory bodies3. So, not only are weDo/ products great for your hair, but they’re also environmentally friendly, too.

But our commitment to helping to reduce plastic pollution doesn’t stop there. We are proud to have a collaboration with Plastic Bank where for each weDo/ product sold, eight plastic bottles are collected from the environment. By helping to fund the Plastic Bank’s amazing work, weDo/ customers are helping to fight ocean plastic and alleviate poverty in disenfranchised communities.

Phoebe Dynevor holding weDo/ Professional Moisture & Shine No Plastic Shampoo Bar next to statistic on plastic bottles saved
Woman holding weDo/ Professional Moisture & Shine No Plastic Shampoo Bar for normal or damaged hair behind her head

Are you ready to make a difference? Start your sustainable haircare journey today by taking our hair quiz to find out which weDo/ products are right for you!

Keep up to date with weDo/’s world by following us on Instagram and TikTok and keeping up with our weBlog for advice on sustainable beauty, plus tips on how to use our products and more.

 

 

1*based on European Chemical Agency´s Opinion of SEAC, Dec 2020 (ECHA/SEAC/RES-O-0000006901-74-01/F)

2https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/microplastics/

3*based on European Chemical Agency´s Opinion of SEAC, Dec 2020 (ECHA/SEAC/RES-O-0000006901-74-01/F)

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