Designing a new solution to reduce the environmental impact linked to hair-washing

The partnership between L’Oréal and the environmental start-up Gjosa has enabled us to design an innovative low flow shower head coupled with an easy-to-rinse shampoo, which helps to reduce the volume of water needed for hair-washing by up to five times.

Main project's drivers for reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

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Energy and resource efficiency

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Energy Decarbonisation

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Energy efficiency improvements

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Improving efficiency in non-energy resources

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Emission removal

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Financing low-carbon issuers or disinvestment from carbon assets

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Reduction of other greenhouse gases emission

Project objectives

Reducing the water and energy consumption of hairdressing salons by developing a low flow shower head together with an easy-to-rinse shampoo.

When considering the life cycle analysis of a shampoo, the use phase creates the greatest impact, both in terms of water footprint and carbon emissions. In fact, it represents up to 80% of these impacts. Also, reducing the consumption of water during the use phase in hairdressing salons and thereby lowering the energy needed to heat water during the use phase is central to reducing GHG emissions.

Water is essential to the design and use of our company’s products, and sits at the heart of L’Oréal’s activity. Its capacity to function effectively and respond to consumers’ needs depends on sustainable access to water, and sustainable water management and conservation. In this respect, L’Oréal has worked for many years to preserve high quality water, consumed in responsible quantities, across our value chain, as well as in all the water basins and communities where the brand is present. The innovative nature and evaluation of our products therefore plays a vital role in our efforts to conserve this precious resource.

 

Elsewhere, through a life cycle analysis of a shampoo, the use phase has the greatest impact, both in terms of water footprint and GHG emissions arising from heating water. In fact, it represents up to 80% of these water and GHG impacts. In addition, reducing water consumption in the use phase in hairdressing salons will also therefore lead to a reduction in the energy needed to heat water and a significant reduction of GHG emissions for a salon shampoo.

 

In 2020, the Group updated the calculation of the carbon footprint related to its 2019 activities. The study shows that the stage with the greatest impact in terms of GHG emissions is the product use phase, in the consumer’s home, when he/she uses hot water. These emissions represent 49% of the entire emissions linked to the Group’s activities.

 

To achieve this, L’Oréal joined forces with Swiss start-up Gjosa to develop a technology that enables consumers to rinse off shampoo with just 1.5 litres of water, instead of the usual 8 litres. The start-up Gjosa developed a low flow shower head (two litres of water per minute), which reduces the water flow while accelerating the speed of water droplets, so that rinsing is just as effective as rinsing with a conventional shower head.

 

To optimise the process, scientists at L’Oréal developed shampoos that are easier to rinse, applied directly through the shower head. Certain parameters were adjusted according to real conditions of use, in order to ensure a good level of rinsing and contribute to reducing energy consumption (for hot water) and water by around 70%.

 

The two companies have launched a low flow shower head linked to an easy-to-rise shampoo, which enables consumers to reduce by up to five times the volume of water needed for hair-washing and go from 8 litres (per wash) to an average of only 1.5 litres.

 

This innovative shower head reduces the flow of water but compensates for this reduction by accelerating the speed of the droplets, so that the easy-to-rinse shampoo is applied directly via the shower head, rather than being applied by hand to the scalp. By infusing the water and the shampoo simultaneously, the shower head helps to reduce the volume of water consumed in professional hair salons.

 

First tested in L’Oréal’s laboratories, the prototypes of this new shower head are now available in many hairdressing salons in France and the USA. A global roll-out is planned by 2023, with the aim of equipping around 10,000 salons in the next few years.

Emission scope(s)

on which the project has a significant impact

  • Emission scopes
  • Description and quantification of associated GHG emissions
  • Clarification on the calculation

Scope 1

Direct emissions generated by the company's activity.

Scope 2

Indirect emissions associated with the company's electricity and heat consumption.

Scope 3

Emissions induced (upstream or downstream) by the company's activities, products and/or services in its value chain.

Emission Removal

Carbon sinks creation, (BECCS, CCU/S, …)

Avoided Emissions

Emissions avoided by the activities, products and/or services in charge of the project, or by the financing of emission reduction projects.

Scope 3 - Développement d’une technologie permettant de d’utiliser uniquement 1,5 litre d’eau à la place des 8 litres habituels pour rincer un shampoing 

  • Quantification : cette solution permet une réduction de la consommation d’énergie et d’eau d’environ 70 % dans les salons de coiffure 

Impact carbone (en tCO2eq/an) non mesuré à date car le projet est en phase de test

Key points

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Invested amount

NC

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Starting date of the project

2015

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Project localisation

France and the United States

Project maturity level

Prototype laboratory test (TRL 7)

Real life testing (TRL 7-8)

Pre-commercial prototype (TRL 9)

Small-scale implementation

Medium to large scale implementation échelle

Economic profitability of the project (ROI)

Short term (0-3 years)

Middle term (4-10 years)

Long term (> 10 years)

Not disclosed

Illustrations of the project

This innovative solution contributes to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 7 Clean and affordable energy and SDG 13 Climate action; the solution helps to reduce the energy needed to heat water;
  • SDG 6 Clean water and sanitation and SDG 12 Responsible production and consumption; the solution helps to significantly reduce the volume of water used to rinse off hair products in hairdressing salons. This saving will deliver reduced energy and water impacts.

L’Oréal and Gjosa’s key objective is to implement this new technology in professional hairdressing salons worldwide, in order to help hairdressers reduce their consumption of water and their CO2 emissions.

L’Oréal and Gjosa, a Swiss environmental start-up, reinforced their partnership at the end of 2019 with the aim of developing a first industrial version of this shower head, which will be tested in real conditions. 

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Contact the company carrying the project :

alexandra.vickery@loreal.com

L'Oréal’s other projects :