Scanning the back of jars of peanut butter for palm oil, checking if apples have been grown in the UK: thinking about the quality of the food we put into our bodies is now standard.
But if, when it comes to shampoo and conditioner, you chuck this week's bargain deal in your basket with zero thought, you may have a contradiction on your hands.
One woman who wants to make us more aware of the environmental impact of our hair care choices is Anita Rice. She launched her first 'sustainable' hair salon Ralph & Rice in East London's Brick Lane earlier this year and knows that the time is now to pay the same attention to what we smother our split ends in as what we cook for dinner.
Her salon uses Davines – an Italian brand that takes its eco-credentials to serious lengths. It's part of the 'slow-food' movement and actively seeks out and supports farmers growing rare or soon to be extinct varieties of fruit. It's also a member of Bcorp, an international accreditation for 'good' business, uses vegetable ink and biodegradable materials in its packaging and bases production on renewable energy.
But for those of us used to picking up conditioner at the supermarket for a couple of quid, products like Davines – which retails north of £15 – can seem steep. But the availability of cheap products is another of Anita's big bones to pick with the beauty industry. "It's pretty shocking that you can buy shampoo in the supermarket for £2," she says. "I mean, for one – what's in there? Wouldn't the bottle itself cost £2?" Low-cost hair products tend to be filled with detergents to make them lather (and run out quicker) she says, which offer no actual benefit to your hair, while a more expensive bottle will last a couple of months.
Just like in the food industry there are a few key ingredients you can look out for on the back of your shampoo bottle. The obvious villain, she says, is palm oil – its links to large-scale deforestation, habitat degradation, and indigenous rights abuses are pretty well documented – but it offers no real benefit to the product. "It's just a filler."
Silicones are also pretty prevalent, which are just a varnish, she says. Parabens and sulphates are big no nos, she says, and you should look out for recyclable packaging, and production methods using renewable energy. And don't just stump for things that say they're organic.
"Just because something's organic that doesn't mean it's sustainable. Sustainable means it can be produced at a rate that isn't harmful and the producers are taking extra measures to look after the land around the product."
Things are starting to improve, she says. And some multinational brands are starting to follow Davines's lead. "L'Oreal and Wella are the big ones." Then there are smaller brands, like Australian-based Kevin Murphy, which uses local ingredients, or Avene.
You can also look out for natural bristled brushes, and natural hair colourants. "I'm not sure if anyone's started using low-energy heat tools yet though," she says. "Maybe that's coming."
When it comes to running a commercial salon things get a little trickier, she says, but Ralph and Rice has built a brand around being 'eco'. Anita decided to go it alone after becoming disillusioned with the amount of waste in salons. She recycles: "it's actually quite tricky in London to be careful about commercial recycling," she says. "Haircare is an industry where there is a lot of waste, we try to keep it to as little as possible."
"We're an environmentally friendly, sustainable salon. People who are already interested in that will travel to see us, as well as trying the products. It's just about opening your eyes more," she says.
Ralph and Rice – it's worth pointing out – is like a millennial Pinterest dream-land. All mid-century furniture, chipboard and lots and lots of plants. That's no coincidence, and Anita sees her business as tapping into a trend.
As she says: "You hear these words like organic, sustainable, plant-based all the time. You see a lot more plants and greenery. People want to bring a more earthy feelings into things. People want to feel like they're doing the right thing. Now's our chance."
Time to take your hair green? We think so. (Not literally, of course. Unless that's your thing. You do you.)