Weekly Tip 87 – Brush Your Hair Sustainably

It’s Friday which means weekly tip time

Living a sustainable lifestyle or running a sustainable business may seem daunting and if you look only look at the endpoint, it might be.

But, if you break it down into steps and see it as a journey with the goal being a sustainable lifestyle, it gets easier!

That’s why Play It Green’s weekly tips are here, to help you take small steps and to educate you on the little things you may not have thought about.

By taking these small steps, you will soon find you are living a considerably different lifestyle and will have more consciousness around the decisions you make, not only that but your changes will send out ripples of change, positively influencing those around you.

This week’s tip looks at something most households have and is used every day – the hairbrush.

The History of The Hairbrush

The comb is where the history of the hairbrush begins.

Combs are among the oldest tools constructed by humans, and they have been discovered by archaeologists at Palaeolithic dig sites all around the world.

But as the comb evolved, it turned into a fashionable hair accessory worn in nations like China and Egypt to flaunt riches and power

The hairbrush, the comb’s cousin, originated from this display of riches.

Hairbrushes were a luxury reserved only for those with the money to buy them because they were primarily used as a styling tool (instead of a grooming item). Each brush was distinctive and painstakingly hand-made even in the 1880s.

It took the industrial revolution to increase the production of hair brushes and by 1898, Lyda Newman, an African-American inventor, hairdresser, and women’s rights activist, modified and patented the hairbrush to include durable synthetic bristles.

With industrialisation and mass production and being mostly made up of synthetic materials, hairbrushes suddenly had a huge environmental impact.

An Egyptian comb from around the 3rd century BC

The Environmental Impact of Hairbrushes

The global hairbrush market is now worth a whopping USD 914.70 million and is expected to grow to USD 927.79 million by 2028.

With recommendations that hairbrushes are replaced every six months and the fact that they are often made with non-replaceable parts, hairbrushes are not generally made with sustainability in mind.

Plastic hairbrushes are not recyclable and don't last long

As hairbrushes are also made from mixed plastics and other materials they are very hard to recycle.

With the size of the market, that’s a lot of plastic hairbrushes entering landfills (think in the 10s of millions every month)!

The plastic in hairbrushes is made from non-renewable resources such as crude oil– they take hundreds of years to break down and they end up as microplastics contaminating our ecosystems.

The nylon in hairbrushes is basically a stronger plastic and is made up of the same natural, non-renewable resources and equally supports the fossil fuel industry!

The extraction process for these resources is as harmful to the environment as their use is.

Sustainable alternatives we love​

If you want to make your hairbrush sustainable, look for ones made from natural, renewable resources such as bamboo.

You can also look for ones that are made from recycled plastic that can in turn be recycled again.

Having replaceable parts will also extend the life of your hairbrush and finding ones that are manufactured in your own country will also reduce your footprint.

Here are some of the products we loved that fit the bill of a more sustainable hairbrush.

The first brush we love is the Waxed Beechwood, Large Natural Brush from the Green Turtle.

Their large natural hairbrush is made from beechwood and hornbeam and is a stylish addition to any dressing table or bathroom. It is expertly crafted by hand from naturally sourced products and is made to last.

The reviews on their website are fantastic and you can’t go wrong with a switch to this sustainable hairbrush.

The next brand we loved was Croll & Denecke and their plastic-free, biodegradable hairbrush.

Available from Chateau Du Savon this premium quality hairbrush is made from sustainably sourced materials and is biodegradable, vegan and cruelty-free.

The packaging it comes in is also made from either recycled or recyclable card and paper which is a bonus in our eyes.

The final brand we loved was The Green Turtle’s Eco Living Bamboo hairbrush.

This plastic-free bamboo hairbrush is 100% biodegradable and compostable at the end of its life.

It has wooden pins made from sustainably sourced hornbeam and a rubber cushion.

The brush is also handmade and vegan and comes in three different sizes and all its packaging is eco-friendly too!

Best of all, if you subscribe to the Green Turtle’s mailing list, you can currently receive a 10% off your purchase!

That’s it for this week. Hopefully, you discovered something new and worthwhile and remember if you did and you pass on the information as well as acting on it, you can double your positive impact!

We hope you enjoyed this week’s tip and if you have any products or tips we haven’t covered, please reach out and let us know using the contact us link above or email hello@playitgreen.com.

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