Zero Waste Hair Care

Zero Waste Hair Care

When it comes to hair care, almost all the products you find on supermarket shelves come in plastic bottles and are packed with ingredients that aren't so great for your hair like silicone and sulfates. Plastic-free hair ties, styling products, and masks can be equally difficult to find zero waste alternatives for.

I have super long hair but it's pretty easy to care for so swapping to eco-friendly sustainable hair products was pretty straightforward for me, it might be trickier for you. As with everything zero waste, what works for one person won't necessarily work for another. Knowing what options there are makes the process a whole lot easier.

This is guide to zero waste hair care wt plenty of options from shampoo bars to bulk buy conditioner; how to style and treat your hair, as well as options for which brushes, combs, and hair ties to buy. I'm hoping it will help you to transition to a zero waste bathroom.

Bulk Buy

Fill up at the bulk store; this is what I was doing until I figured out it was more cost efficient (and convenient) to buy the same size bottles my local zero waste store use for customers to fill up from, and recycle them myself. Faith In Nature sell 5L bottles of shampoo and conditioner (I like the coconut formula) with reusable pumps. I purchased mine with a hefty discount during a Black Friday sale and both 5L bottles are set to last me well over a year, that's with two people using them. Filling up at a bulk store if you live close by is the best option; buying bulk and recycling is the next best thing. For me, the 80 minute round-trip on foot wasn't convenient nor easy to carry heavy bottles back alongside bulk pantry staples so I opted for buying online instead.

Shampoo and Conditioner Bars

Shampoo and conditioner in bar-form require a little more effort to work the product into your hair to get it to clean. They're typically free of a lot of the ingredients traditional hair care likes to stuff into their products, namely silicone and sulfates.

I'm not sold on shampoo and conditioner bars. I've yet to find one that leaves my extra long hair clean, shiny, and frizz-free but I know they're super popular and a couple of brands always stand out in recommendations. Beauty products are so personal; don't let me experience put you off trying these for yourself.

Beauty Kubes sell a combined shampoo and body bar as well as separate shampoo and conditioner bars. They're free from sulphates, silicones, palm oil, and synthetic ingredients; they're plastic-free and vegan-friendly.

Ethique, most notably stocked in Holland & Barrett making them very accessible, have a range of plastic-free hair care products. They only have shampoo bars and conditioner bars, no hair treatments or styling products yet. Each bar contains the equivalent of 3 bottles of liquid hair product.

Lush stock packaging-free shampoo, conditioner, and hair treatments as well as hair styling products, some of which are vegan-friendly. They're expensive but a good entry point if you're looking for accessible low waste hair care options.

WiDEYE have recently launched a really affordable range of packaging-free, vegan-friendly shampoo bars free from SLS, parabens, synthetic colours or fragrances.

If you're able to, use your money to support small independent businesses like Hairy Jayne who are providing low waste hair care options. There are shampoo and conditioner bars as well as plastic-saving refills.

Zero Waste Hair Care

Hair Masks

Oil is great for deep treating hair. Coconut, jojoba, argan, or almond oil all work to care for stressed, frizzy, or dry hair. Try them out and see what works best for you. When the ends of my hair start looking a little tatty, I smooth almond oil into the tips and leave it on for a couple of hours and then wash it out during my usual hair care routine.

Dry Shampoo and Hair Spray

It's best to avoid aerosol sprays and make your own if you really cannot live without dry shampoo. A quick DIY recipe requires:
1 tbsp Cornstarch
1 tbsp Baking Soda
1 tbsp of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (for dark hair only)
Mix together (you can also add essential oils) and apply with a makeup brush directly to your roots, buffing in.

For hair spray, there's a few DIY recipes online but I'd be mindful of putting lemon juice and alcohol on your hair. One recipe in particular seems rather innocuous although I'm skeptical of its effectiveness. You'll need:
1/2 cup of warm water
1 tbsp sea salt
1-2 tsp of coconut oil (melted)
Combine in a spray bottle and shake until the sea salt has dissolved. This seems to be more of a sea salt treatment for beachy waves than a hair spray but it's probably the closest you're going to get.

Hair Brushes and Combs

Although plastic, the Tangle Teezer is arguably one of the most effective and durable brushes you can buy. Wooden brushes with natural fibre bristles have a tendency to break hair and cause frizz. I've had an Original Tangle Teezer for years; it's easy to clean and unlikely to ever break. If you really want to avoid the plastic, try a wooden hair brush or comb.

Hair Ties and Sticks

The only option I can find for plastic-free hair ties is Kooshoo. These ties are made from responsibly-sourced materials including GOTS certified organic cotton and natural rubber, which is 100% biodegradable. A variety of shades to suit different hair colours are available too. Alternatively, you could use a hair stick for pinning your hair up and styling it. SAYA Designs create their hair accessories from waste material salvaged from old plantations.

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