Best Sustainable Hair Care Ingredients

Friday, June 25, 2021

More than ever, consumers are seeking sustainable beauty products. To stay competitive in the personal care market, companies should consider using environmentally friendly resources and practices. For a beauty product to be sustainable, it should come from natural ingredients and renewable raw materials. Cosmetic and hair care developers are seeking bio-based oleochemicals to fill these requirements.

Oleochemicals are chemical compounds from renewable, natural fat and oil sources. They're useful in a wide range of industries, including industrial cleaning, metalworking, pharmaceuticals and personal care. Oleochemicals make for healthy, safe and sustainable hair care ingredients. If you're looking to create environmentally friendly, competitive hair care products, consider using oleochemicals such as castor oil, glycerin, benzoic acid esters and sodium coco sulfates.

What to look for in your shampoo

Castor Oil 

Castor oil is an age-old natural remedy with many health and beauty benefits. Derived from castor beans, the oil contains ricinoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It can improve hair health, promoting growth and protecting against loss. It can also increase hair luster, minimize dandruff and make hair smoother, enhancing appearance. All it takes is a few drops of the oil rubbed into the scalp about once a week. Consumers looking to boost hair growth or mitigate hair loss will be quick to buy hair care products with castor oil.

Jamaican Black Castor Oil

A prevalent, well-known castor oil option is Jamaican black castor oil, made from the ash of heat-roasted castor beans. This form of castor oil gets its name from its traditional Jamaican processing technique and its deep hue. It's rich and dark-tinted, with an earthy aroma. It also has a higher pH value than other forms of castor oil, which contributes to its effectiveness. It works best on coarse hair.

Jamaican black castor oil is sought-after thanks to its many health and personal care applications, from relieving joint pain to fighting skin aging and improving digestive health. This versatile substance has dozens of in-demand and emerging uses, making it an ideal investment for any company in the health and beauty industry.

Hydrogenated Castor Oil

Another option is hydrogenated castor oil, also called castor wax, which makes for an effective hair conditioning agent. As the name suggests, creating this oil involves adding hydrogen to the mixture, which gives the finished product its wax-like consistency. The ancient Egyptians used this form of castor oil as lamp fuel. It's also an effective lubricant, paint additive and cosmetic ingredient. It has a pale yellow hue and a distinctive, luxurious smell customers will enjoy.

Unprocessed, Natural Castor Oil 

If you prefer to process ingredients in-house, you might consider ordering natural, unprocessed castor oil. With castor oil's many applications, the possibilities are virtually endless. You might use castor oil for a wide range of health and beauty solutions, including hair and skin care products.


Another excellent option for natural hair care ingredients is glycerin. Glycerin, also called glycerol or glycerine, is a simple chemical compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It's abundant in plant and animal fats. Typical plant sources include soybeans and palm. At first glance, glycerin looks like water, as it's colorless and odorless — however, its consistency is much thicker than water. It's a prominent ingredient in many health and beauty products and, thanks to its sweet flavor, food. It can help preserve foods and serve as an artificial sweetener.

Glycerin is a humectant, which means it draws moisture from the air. Because it attracts moisture where applied, it can heal and hydrate hair. Its thick, sticky consistency also helps detangle hair, reducing friction and breakage. Overall, using glycerin can improve hair health and appearance.

Glycerin is a humectant, it can heal and hydrate hair
The chemical is ideal for curly, natural hair, especially in dry climates where the air is low in humidity. Since it's odorless, it's a great base for adding vibrant, consumer-friendly fragrances.

Vegetable-Based Glycerin 

Opt for a vegetable-based glycerin ingredient made from sustainably sourced palm — sustainability is an essential quality to look for, as harmful palm sourcing practices are rampant today. An increasing number of consumers value ethical sourcing, so this will be an excellent selling point for your brand.

Organic Glycerin 

If you choose to incorporate glycerin in your hair care products, you might consider sourcing organic glycerin in liquid form, made from flaxseed or rapeseed oil. Environmentally conscious consumers appreciate USDA-certified organic products. A certified organic label makes a product more compelling and attractive for these consumers.

Since glycerin is so prevalent in personal care products, using organic glycerin will offer you a competitive edge. You can use raw, organic glycerin in any of your skin and hair care formulas. Its moisturizing qualities make it ideal for facial cleansers, toners, sunscreens, soaps and other personal care solutions.

Esters and Surfactants

Must-have ingredients for skin and hair care products, esters are emollients and surfactants stabilize oil and water. Esters soften and smooth surfaces without leaving behind an oily feel. Meanwhile, surfactants keep oil and water from separating in personal care products, making a more convenient consumer experience.

Ensense™ Silk ALB

Ensense™ Silk ALB consists of a mixture of benzoic acid esters that can help moisturize and condition hair. It's also a welcome additive for skin care products, as it creates a light, smooth feel and is never greasy. For that reason, you'll find it in lipsticks, foundations, eye serums products and skin moisturizers. It's a versatile, useful additive for many beauty solutions.

Sodium Coco Sulfate 

Derived from environmentally sourced palm oil, sodium coco sulfate is a standard natural surfactant. It's also useful as a dispersing or foaming agent. This quality makes it an excellent ingredient for soap, body wash and toothpaste. Consider using sodium coco sulfate if you're looking for an oleochemical-based surfactant for your personal care products.

Browse Sustainable, Bio-Based Ingredient Solutions 

If you're looking to make your personal care product business sustainable, think about using ethically sourced, natural ingredients like those listed above. Oleochemicals have inherent properties that make them ideal for boosting hair health. These substances can help moisturize, strengthen and reinvigorate hair, creating a beautiful result.

At 18c by Acme Hardesty, we offer natural hair care product ingredients in small and large quantities. Our products are perfect for small boutiques, craft manufacturers or those looking to test new recipes. Everything we offer is sustainable, responsibly sourced and affordable. Browse our collection of sustainable, bio-based ingredient solutions, and create the best hair care products for your consumers. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us today.

Brows Sustainable, Bio-Based Ingredient Solutions from 18c