Over the last couple of years, companies worldwide have been making slow strides towards a sustainable future. In this day and age, consumers are more well-informed regarding the products they purchase and have rightfully pressured most mega-corporations to find new ways to source their materials sustainably. This sustainability shift is even more apparent in the beauty industry, specifically the wig and hair-extension market.
It’s no secret that the demand for faux-pas hair has skyrocketed over recent years and has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry, and for a good reason. However, this success story doesn’t come without its environmental and sustainability struggles. Since synthetic hair is composed of fine strands of plastic and other harmful chemicals, it has been a nightmare for companies to shift into a more sustainable business model.
Why Do People Purchase Wigs?
Before jumping to any conclusions and judgment, we must first understand why people purchase synthetic wigs in the first place. Synthetic wigs can be a form of self-expression for those who are currently battling cancer or have alopecia. However, this isn’t to say that other people don’t have cause to use synthetic wigs.
For others, synthetic wigs are a matter of personal style and a non-committal way to change their hairstyle and hair color without getting stuck with it for months. Synthetic wigs can give its users the flexibility to change hair-styles for different occasions every day. It is no wonder then why synthetic wigs are widely used worldwide.
How Long Does It Take for Wigs to Decompose?
While there isn’t an exact answer as to how long it takes for synthetic wigs to decompose, we can make an educated guess based on the commonly used materials for synthetic wigs. According to a study, synthetic wigs use numerous petrochemical products and could take about 500 years to decompose.
How Do We Reduce Carbon Emissions and Waste?
Get Your Hair Cut By Professionals
One of the best ways of reducing carbon gas emissions to the environment and the production of toxic man-made wastes is by having your hair cut by barbers and professionals. Fortunately, Mensch (Male Image & Grooming), a barbershop with some of the most professional barbers in the industry, is known for providing the best haircut and grooming techniques. Not only will you be helping the environment by having your hair cut naturally, but you’ll also look younger and sleeker in the long run.
Recycle Old Wigs
Recycling old wigs can be one of the most effective ways to reduce the carbon emissions caused by wigs. As mentioned before, synthetic wigs take a considerable amount of time to decompose, and most of the used wigs will most likely end up in landfills once it has been thrown out.
However, this excess carbon emission can be negated as long as old wigs are appropriately reused. There are multiple tutorials on YouTube that can teach you how to recycle, restyle, and revitalize old wigs for newer styles and purposes.
Do Not Purchase Wigs at All
While it is understandable why people would buy synthetic wigs, the fact of the matter is that synthetic wigs and even human hair wigs just aren’t sourced ethically or even produced sustainably.
Synthetic hair is produced through the use of manufactured chemicals such as PVC, and PET plastics release toxic fumes harmful to the environment. For the time being, there are no known methods that allow manufacturers to without the use of chemicals that produce air pollution.
While human hair wigs last longer than synthetic wigs, most human hair wigs are sourced unethically. These hairs are mostly taken from underdeveloped countries such as India and Brazil. Although women volunteer to donate or sell their hair, there have been reports of women having their hair taken by force. Some companies have even resorted to sourcing their hair from the deceased.
Additionally, human hair is also not biodegradable because it tends to release harmful chemicals into the environment.
There is no getting around this situation. Synthetic hair is harmful to the environment as companies have yet to find a way to make their wigs organically and sustainably.
The only way we can reliably reduce our carbon missions on wigs is if we don’t use synthetic wigs at all or recycle and repurpose old ones. We can also ask these companies to be more responsible with how they source and manufacture these synthetic wigs.
Additionally, if we follow the global trend, it is unlikely that these wigs will see any sustainability improvement any time soon.