Being able to quickly look at an ingredients list and comprehend them makes for an easy and pain-free shopping experience. Especially during this pandemic, I’ve grown to appreciate products that only need a quick glance at their ingredients list to understand their product. The quicker I can get in, get my beauty products and leave, the better. I personally have used milk_shake hair products for awhile now because of their short, natural, and easy to read ingredient lists. However, there is an alarmingly small amount of public knowledge on how milk_shake harvests their natural ingredients and manufactures their hair care products. If z.one concept does not begin to provide more information on their product’s life cycle and commit to sustainability goals, then it may be time for me to switch haircare products.
The biggest selling point to milk_shake is their dedication to using the most natural active ingredients they can find. In a lot of beauty products, there are so many chemicals listed and it is difficult to find out what they are and what their purpose is in the product. In milk_shake products, most of their ingredients are either self-explanatory or can easily be understood with a quick search. This type of shampoo and conditioner has one of the more lengthy ingredients list compared to their other products, yet it is still only a handful of ingredients and pretty comprehendible. Below is the active ingredient list from the milk_shake website on what you can find in the volume solution products: (1) UV Filter: the same ingredients that help with UV protection in sunscreens. However, you often wash out a lot of this ingredient when you wash the shampoo/conditioner out of your hair, so it is better to use a leave-in conditioner that has UV filters; (2) Integrity 41 (hydroglycolic sunflower seed extract, rich in antioxidant polyphenols): the ingredient that keeps your hair color from fading. Hydroglycolic means blend of water and glycol that dilutes the sunflower seed extract, which is good for reducing scalp irritancy. Polyphenols are a common micronutrient that we get through plant-based foods; (3) milk proteins; (4) quinoa proteins (shampoo only); (5) rice proteins; (6) organic fruit extracts; and (7) sugar cane derivatives.
From first glance, the main ingredient that raises a question mark to me, personally, is the sugar cane derivatives. Despite the long history of deforestation and social injustices surrounding the sugar cane industry, sugar cane derivatives still appear in a number of milk_shake products. There is no evidence provided from z.one on if they ethically source their sugar cane derivatives.
The next ingredient that could be cause for concern are the UV filters. Although it is a great ingredient to have in their products to protect the scalp and hair from sun damage, they did not specify the type of UV filter and if it contains chemicals damaging to life below water.
There was an extreme lack of transparency in how milk_shake, or its parent company z.one concept, make their products. Neither of their websites had information available about how their ingredients are sourced, harvested, processed, manufactured, shipped, or their impact post-use. There is also no public record of any corporate sustainability reports, their environmental and social commitments, or any sustainability goals made by the company in terms of product manufacturing. There is a MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) that is open to the public but you must first contact customer service and request permission for them to send you a copy of this report, which often deters consumers from taking the extra step to learn more about their products.
The lack of available information, or information that is available only once you’ve researched and requested it, is a little more than alarming for milk_shake products.
The z.one concept company has made a commitment to using the most naturally occurring ingredients in their haircare products. The company has released a statement saying they are switching from less synthetic ingredients to more organic, naturally derived ingredients. Yet, there was still no comment on if these products would be sustainably sourced.
The one good thing milk_shake products has going for them is that they are starting to switch over to sustainable packaging, “to reduce waste and the products’ environmental impact, making our carbon footprint more sustainable and satisfying the needs of the more eco-conscious consumers.” The first purchase of milk_shake k-respect products (their keratin product line) come in their sustainable packaging, and every purchase after that can be refilled rather than purchasing new bottles. If milk_shake products or their parent company, z.one concept, want to be ranked higher in sustainability, they need to be more open about how and where they harvest their ingredients.