From sourcing our ingredients to the ingredients we choose, to packaging and shipping, we consider the whole lifecycle of our products and the effects of our processes on you and on the environment. We interviewed the director and maker of Organic Chemistry, Alan Kolb, about some of our ingredient, supplier and process choices, and the overall sustainability philosophy of Organic Chemistry.
What is different about the ingredients you choose?
We don’t use the harsh ingredients that are pervasive throughout the haircare industry. Silicones, for example, are inexpensive to buy and will make your hair look shiny at first. But they do this by coating the hair with what is essentially a plastic film, suffocating and starving it over time.
We take pride in a sustainable approach to hair and scalp health. By nourishing the hair and scalp with beneficial herbs and oils and using gentle, non-oil stripping cleansers, hair and scalp progressively come back to their natural oil balance.
How are these ingredients gentler on the environment?
What do you look for in sourcing your ingredients?
First, it has to be proven safe for humans and the environment. Secondly, it has to be effective. And finally, it must be sustainably and ethically grown and harvested. Maybe there is some magic bark in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest that might work well in a product. Or an incredible essential oil attainable from threatened plants or trees. We won’t use them, ever.
How do you choose a supplier?
We have trusted partnerships with our suppliers. Many of them do their own in-house testing for purity, and all provide us with official documentation of organic certifications and safety data sheets. Most importantly, we research and vet our suppliers for their own sustainability practices, ethical harvesting and sustainable growing.
What is your philosophy on packaging?
Environmentally sustainable packaging solutions are by far the biggest challenge we face. Biodegradable containers and/or suitable post-consumer recycled containers are on the horizon, but they aren’t available yet. We opt for recylclable plastic bottles and jars that aren't custom-made in order to cut down on energy consumption in the production and the shipping process.
Most of all we want our packaging to communicate the beauty, simplicity and authenticity of what is inside. When it comes to packaging our company ethos is "less is more". We would rather put our limited resources toward the quality and quantity of what is inside the bottle and keep the packaging pure and simple.
How do we support our salon partners in their own sustainability practices?
Our relationships with our salon partners are one of things we take the greatest pride in developing and nurturing. We have a unique refill program for salons that partner with us. It reduces waste by allowing clients to come to the salon and refill their empty bottles, and also receive a discount. This has been really popular amongst our salon partners because it also allows them to extend their own sustainability values to their clients, which we love to see!
Also for our salon partners, we offer our products for in-salon use in bulk-sized bags. One bulk bag can eliminate eight 1-liter bottles. The bags can then be sent back to us and we will wash and refill them.