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solid hygiene and cosmetic products such as shampoo and conditioner in paper packaging


the company ranks high with B Corp for financial security, engagement and satisfaction, and health, wellness, and safety among employees


Brianne West and extended team


human cleaning and personal care


Ethique products are available on three continents via online shops and are widely available in local stores. Purchase prices range from $3.00 USD - $17.00 USD


Ethique products are vegan and cruelty free

Life cycle

Ethique products are plastic-free and leave less than 10% of the carbon footprint of the equivalent in liquid form; beginning in March 2021, the company offsets 120% of its carbon emissions

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Taking your Morning Shower: An Unexpected Pollutant 

The environmental impact of washing yourself ranges from a minimal use of cold water on one extreme to the production of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to driving a gas car for a few miles on the other. Where the impact of your bathing habits falls on this spectrum depends on a range of factors, such as how much water you use and how that water is heated. The types of products you use while bathing also create a significant difference.

Most shampoos, conditioners, and other cleansing products result from a series of chemicals and industrial processes that go back into the water system after they go through your hair. The main ingredient in conventional liquid soaps and other care products is water. But after that typically comes a long list of chemicals used to stabilize, preserve, and alter the appearance and scent of the product. Propanediol, for example, gives cosmetics that runny texture and originates from petrochemicals or corn raised with pesticides. When it mixes with hot water, it can poison the land it comes in contact with next. The production of synthetic fragrances commonly used in personal care products releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, which are dangerous to humans and other species. Conventional cleansing products also contain plastic or micro-plastics, which never goes away and leaches into waterways to contaminate water sources and animals. Similarly, conventional products contain parabens, which mimic the hormone estrogen and can enter the body. This causes  problems for everyone — creating hormone imbalances in all animals, including humans. These ingredients not only flow into our waterways after use, but they leach throughout the production processes, which are also water- and resource-intensive. 

The professors studying this phenomenon at the Institute of Natural Resource Sciences, Life Sciences and Facility Management, Zurich University of Applied Sciences have high hopes for solid shampoos made of natural ingredients to decrease the pollution of bathing, as conveyed in their recent publication. The authors celebrate the decrease in water use, absence of plastics, decreased packaging, and the possibility of decreasing shower time when using solid shampoos. The company Ethique agrees. 

Ethique’s Solution

The New Zealand company Ethique designs, manufactures, and distributes shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions, and just about everything else in your bathroom in a compact bar form. Each bar contains only natural ingredients, lasts about five times as long as its liquid relative, and contains no preservatives. Bars come in a range of bright, joyful colors and cater to a range of hair and body types. Their healthy ingredients, cute appearance, and low purchase price have created a strong base of users who celebrate the products online. The company is verified by EKOS as offsetting 120% of its carbon emissions — from manufacturing to office work and employee travel. It does this first by diminishing its own emissions: it runs on 100% renewable energy, uses no plastic, and has designed processes that result in less than 10% of the carbon emissions created by the liquid equivalents.. Ethique also plants trees to offset the remaining impact. The company is certified as cruelty free and does not sell its products in regions that require animal testing on cosmetics. Its Overall B Impact Score is double that of an ordinary business.    

Ethique and M21D

M21D has added Ethique to its study collection due to the company’s comprehensive approach to design, including production and distribution methods. These result in decreased impact on the environment and increased availability of ecologically sound products, which give millions of people the opportunity to easily remove harmful ingredients from one important area of their lives.

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