The Eco Style hair gels use some natural ingredients and utilize recyclable containers. However, the hair gel is just a green-washed product that panders to minority communities. The product and ECOCO as a company are quite sketchy in terms of its commitment to both supporting racial justice and creating a sustainable product. In the past, ECOCO has claimed that their main mission was to unite beauty with environmental consciousness. However, the company and its products reveal no real evidence that this is the case. In addition, the company is not transparent about its product’s ingredients as the harmful chemical Triethanolamine also known as TEA had not been mentioned in the ingredients until at least the 2019 products were released. Even still, the company is not transparent on whether it follows the 5% limit on TEA given by the United States Food and Drug Administration. There are certainly alternative hair gels that are more sustainable and provide a positive impact to minority communities. Instead of Eco Style products, you should try and purchase either locally created gels that were made by black owned businesses. You could also find products that are more transparent about their commitment to sustainability and if their products are fair trade, recyclable, and if they contain harmful chemicals like TEA.
The gel itself is made of water, Carbomer, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, PVP, Triethanolamine, Glycerin, Aminomethyl Propanol, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, Olive Oil, Fragrance, Blue #1, Yellow #11, and Love and Pride. There is quite the controversy surrounding the ingredient Triethanolamine or TEA. The product is quite common in many mainstream hair care products and gels. TEA is a known skin irritant, however the FDA has stated that it is safe for cosmetic use when concentrations do not exceed 5%. In general, when using a product containing TEA, you want to rinse your scalp or face within 24 hours of using the product. The ingredient was previously unlisted on ECOCO’s products as recently as 2018. However, it does appear on the Eco Style products currently. The container is made of recyclable plastic, which can create micro-plastics and cannot biodegrade.
The product is made in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Since the process of making hair gel is purely mixing ingredients to create a gelatinous product, Eco Style incorporates the chemicals like TEA (Triethanolamine) to allow the what would be liquid to swell and transform into a jelly-like substance. As stated before, the container itself is made of recyclable plastic. ECOCO is not transparent about their supply chain either, and thus it is unclear if their workers are ethically and equitably. In addition, it is not clear if their ingredients are ethically sourced either.
The company ECOCO, which stands for Ecology Company is the creator of all the Eco Style gels and products. According to the website’s about us section, “Ecoco is a cosmetics brand founded in 1983 with the vision of creating innovative products that celebrate individual style. Today, Ecoco continues to pioneer and produce high quality products on a global scale.” This statement is really strange as they do not have any concrete evidence of them being an ecology related company. Additionally, on the Eco Style Instagram page, they state in their bio that they are making “eco-friendly products in the USA”. This also is very vague and is unfounded as well. The company also stands with the Black Lives Matter Movement, which seems to be a case of performative activism as they have no links or mentions to any organizations, petitions, or have any initiatives for supporting BLM and minority communities.