Invest in your hair! You wear it every day. Hair care is important for not only aesthetics but for overall hygiene. Did you know that the health of your hair is directly correlated to the health of your scalp? And an unhealthy scalp can lead to multiple conditions like eczema and dermatitis. However, some hair care products contain more than 5,000 harmful chemicals. In addition to that, as products like shampoo leave your hair, the chemicals in that shampoo go down your drain and into the water supply. At least 350 million gallons of shampoo and its unregulated ingredients flow into (and out of) U.S. drains every year. Let’s change that!
Today, we’re talking all about clean hair care, for yourself and for the planet. Below, you’ll learn how to make your hair care routine a bit more sustainable and environmentally friendly. You’ll also take home some quick tips about shopping for cleaner, greener, and safer products. It certainly takes a bit of time and effort to green up your hair care routine, but, with the advice in this blog, you’ll be well on your way.
For the Planet
You may already know that the beauty industry generates 120 billion units of plastics packaging per year contributing to the loss of 18 million acres of forest annually. So, where can you start in making your hair care routine more sustainable? Keep reading to find out!
Reduce Water Use
This one seems simple, but is truly valuable when embarking upon a more sustainable lifestyle. When we spend less time in the shower, we’re wasting less water and that small change can go a long way. But, you can also make your shower routine a bit more sustainable as well. By installing a water-saving showerhead like this one from WaterSense, the EPA estimates the average family can save 2,700 gallons of water, the amount of electricity needed to power a home for 11 days, and more than $70 in energy and water costs every year. You can also try taking shorter showers, or refrain from washing your hair with hot water to reduce your carbon footprint. Also, did you know that hot showers and baths can inflame the skin and disrupt the skin’s natural balance of moisture, robbing you of the natural oils, fats, and proteins that keep skin healthy?
This next tip is a great one. Have you heard of the waterless hair care movement? Waterless hair care is designed with sustainability in mind, given that water makes up 80% of most shampoos. Going waterless also helps you cut down on plastic waste and take shorter showers. If you’re wanting to give waterless hair care a try, we recommend checking out Everist’s Waterless Haircare Concentrates Starter Kit. Its shampoo and conditioner features a 100% plant-based paste formula, a refreshing blend of five essential oils with both hair and scalp benefits, and packaging with a zero-waste tube key. And better yet, each 100ml travel-friendly tube will give you at least 30 washes because it is 3x as concentrated as regular shampoo and conditioner. If that’s not enough to convince you, check out what people are saying about this product – the Everist Waterless Haircare Concentrates Starter Kit won TIME’s Best Inventions of 2021 and the COSMOPOLITAN Holy Grail Beauty Award of 2021.
Tackling the Packaging Problem
At this point, we’re all aware of the plastic waste associated with traditional haircare products like shampoo and conditioner. So, what can we do about it? To get started, here’s a list of 9 brands who use sustainable packaging. Check to see if any of the products in your shower caddy made the list.
We also love shampoo bars and conditioners. They’re a simple way to reduce plastic waste since they’re completely plastic-free. Shampoo and conditioner bars are also travel friendly and space-saving, perfect for our travelers and people living in dorms or apartments who need to maximize their space. Typically chemical-free, shampoo bars are great for hair health because they won’t strip your hair of its natural oils. Check out this one by The Earthling Co. It’s suited for all hair types, lasts a whopping 50-75 washes, and is formulated with coconut oil, apricot seed oil, Vitamin B5, and glycerin. If you’re looking for a shampoo bar specifically curated in line with curl care principles, take a look at the Professor Curl bar by Ethique.
If shampoo and conditioner bars won’t work for you, you can also try switching to refillable shampoos and conditioners. We love Fiils’ line of reusable beauty products. Its four core formulas – lemongrass, pomelo, coconut, and rose absolute – are completely clean and sold in packs of two, with each pack containing 2 refills. To save some money, you can even sign up for its subscription service to have your favorite products delivered straight to your door.
Take a Look at your Tools
For sustainability purposes, it isn’t just about the ingredients and packaging of the products we use. It’s also important to take a look at our hairstyling tools, which is something that a lot of us can forget about. So, how can we use more sustainable hair tools without compromising style? It’s easier than you might think.
Switching to a wooden or bamboo hairbrush instead of plastic is better for your hair and the environment. They’re more durable, longer lasting, and plastic-free, and using one promotes a healthy scalp, less frizz, improved circulation, and hair growth, and more shine! Take a look at this list of 7 eco-friendly hair brushes to try at your next shopping trip.
We all love flat ironing, curling, crimping, and a good blow out, right? However, heat styling can wreak havoc on our hair and on the environment. A blow dryer alone takes 1200-1875 watts of energy! It’s best to use less heat on our hair, but you can also check out this list of fair trade, energy efficient styling tools. Now, you don’t have to choose between your favorite style and sustainability.
We bet you’ve never thought about the impact of hair ties on the environment! Think about it. Have you ever taken a walk around town without seeing at least a few hair ties littered on the ground? Usually, they end up in landfills and are made of synthetic rubber and polyester, which either don’t decompose or take thousands of years to do so. For a more sustainable option, check out Terra Ties’ biodegradable and compostable hair ties.
For Hair Health
Clean hair care – for the environment and for your hair health – certainly go hand in hand. Here’s a few quick tips for taking better care of your hair.
Since 2009, 595 cosmetics manufacturers have reported using 88 chemicals, in more than 73,000 products, that have been linked to birth defects or reproductive harm. So, when it comes to hair care, it’s important to shop for products that feature clean ingredients, which is also better for the environment because it means less toxic chemicals floating down your drain.
There isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are the top 7 toxic hair care ingredients, courtesy of Alodia.
- Synthetic colors
- Propylene glycol
- Mineral oil and petroleum
- Sodium lauryl sulfate
For the skinny on clean product certifications, reading product labels, and finding safer beauty products, check out Our Guide to Clean Beauty to keep learning.
Quick Tips for Healthier Hair
- Less is more! Sometimes, when it comes to hair, it’s best to simply leave it alone. That goes for products, coloring, and styling.
- Don’t be afraid to get dirty. While you must wash your hair for optimal scalp health, you may be washing it more frequently than you need to. Check out these guidelines for hair washing, based on your hair type and concerns.
- Use a scalp massager to exfoliate your scalp, loosen debris and dandruff, and increase follicle circulation.
- Sleep on a silk pillowcase.
- Focus conditioner on your ends to restore oils and prevent breakage and split ends.
- Brush your hair from the ends to the top to prevent breakage.
- Color your hair less, and take steps to care for it afterwards.
- Protect your hair while swimming by deep conditioning it before your dip and after. If you’re a frequent swimmer, invest in a swim cap!
Thank you for reading our blog about how to have a healthier and greener hair care routine! Practicing sustainable hair care takes a bit of time and patience, but with our tips, you’ll soon have a routine that you know and love. And creating a more eco-friendly hair care routine is better for your hair health, too! From shampoos to brushes to hot tools, we can improve our lives with simple changes for healthier hair and a cleaner planet.