Zero Waste Hair Care: 6 ultimate tips to get started

6 tips for a zero waste/plastic free hair care

Hair is so individual like you and I am.
I have really thin hair. A dry scalp but also my hair get’s greasy quickly. 

A friend of mine has really thick hair and no problems at all. Another has curly hair and flakes…. I find it really hard to make ONE suggestion for the best hair care. Everybody needs to find their own best hair care. But what I can say so far: since I switched to a more natural, plastic free hair care, my hair get’s stronger and healthier.

That’s why I like to share a few tips what you could try to find your individual perfect hair care, without using a huge amount of plastic bottles and chemicals… 
All the synthetic chemicals in shampoo we use too often, makes hair get greasy quicker and you need to wash even more often… it’s a devils tail!
But also a good reason to stop using conventional shampoo.
Besides all the synthetic chemicals getting washed down the drain and all the plastic bottles that are still non recyclable in quite a few city recycling facilities.

Yes I am talking about chemicals, and no I am not a chemist and I don’t know if those ingredients in conventional shampoo are harmful or not. But I have very sensitive skin, so conventional shampoo and soap makes it worse, that’s why for me personally natural, organic soap and shampoo does make a difference and is better. 

If you try a new shampoo or no poo, be aware that your hair might need a while to get used to the new treatment.
So in case your hair doesn’t look awesome after a few usages of solid shampoo or rye flour shampoo please don’t give up! You need at least a few weeks to see a difference. But it’s worth it. 

If it won’t change, try the next method.

(Some Links on this side are affiliate links. This means if you buy from one of those links I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you)

1) Switch from shampoo bottles to solid shampoo

Easy, there are a lot of solid shampoo and conditioner bars** out there already.
You just need to find them. 

I found them on farmers markets, in some bigger supermarkets, organic stores, Zero Waste Stores and of corse in online shops like Lifewithoutplastic.com.

 Look out for natural soaps. If you wan’t to take one step further, look for palm oil free soap (or find sustainable organic palm-oil based soap- click here to read my blog post about palm-oil).
SLS is an ingredient where some people say it’s bad (mostly for sensitive skin) and some people say it’s good… (Google it yourself and you will see you find pro and cons). If there is a choice, I would always chose the SLS free soap because I have a sensitive, dry scalp and I have the feeling that the shampoo with SLS makes it a little worse. 

I also used my olive oil based body soap as shampoo, and it worked well after my hair got used to it (it needed a few weeks).
You can find a few recommendations for some soap and shampoo bars here-> Soap and shampoo

Handmade does not automatically mean natural

Lush is a great company when it comes to unpackaged products! But if you are looking for natural cosmetics don’t get fooled by the advertisement handmade products (they actually don’t claim they are natural and organic by the way)! The term handmade makes a lot of people think it is natural… The term handmade doesn’t mean natural! (So Lush is not a natural cosmetic company.)
They use a lot of natural ingredients but also use chemicals and synthetics that are not allowed in real natural cosmetics. Like SLS. 

So if you are looking for real natural products this is not the place for you. If you don’t have problems with that, go for it. (I tried two different shampoo bars from Lush and they made my hair very dry while other people have great results with Lush shampoos).

2) No Poo method

You might have heard about people using “No Poo”. That means they don’t use shampoo at all. 
It is water only!!!!

It always takes weeks, or even month’s for you hair to get used to it. It will look greasy in between and you scalp might get really itchy, but I know some girls they don’t use shampoo since years and their hair looks awesome! 

I tried it once but I worked as a waitress and when the hair got too greasy I washed it again because I couldn’t go to work like this. And I couldn’t wear a hoodie or beanie either 😉

I tried it a second time when I lived in Mexico for a few months, but again, my hair got extremely greasy and I needed 2-3 weeks with vinegar rinse and shampoo bars until it got normal again. Paris To Go (one of those girls with amazing long hair and not using any shampoo) told me she heard about that problem from a few girls having thin hair, so maybe no poo is better for thicker hair, but just give it a try yourself and let me know how it goes!

Another no poo method would be to wash with baking soda and rinse with vinegar, some people say: never use baking soda and vinegar because they lost some hair doing though. (I unclogg my drain with baking soda and vinegar so I am a little skeptical too ;D). But it works for some…

I also used rye flour as shampoo and rinse with vinegar. It works fine.
Read more here-> rye flour as shampoo

3) Conditioner Alternatives

Instead of a plastic bottled conventional Conditioner where you don’t understand one word on the ingredients list, use these natural alternatives: Apple vinegar, white vinegar or lemon juice (don’t use lemon juice just before you go out in summer. Sun and lemon juice can burn your skin. So use it in the evening or make sure to wash it out pretty good).

I tried all of them and like all of them. Some girls complain about that the hair smells like vinegar after rinsing, but I never had that problem.

For dry hair ends, use a little Natural Oil: coconut oil, Arganoil, Jojobaoil…. But not too much, that would make your hair look too greasy.

I used coconut oil as hair mask already when I had really dry and fizzy hair. It’s just a little heavy to wash out of the hair and might need two washes. I mostly made this at a weekends where I don’t go out much, and after two days and two washes (and a rinse with vinegar) my hair looks great and my scalp loves the treatment too.

4) If available: use refill stations

If you are lucky to have a organic shampoo refill opportunity use it! Most Zero Waste shops have this opportunity and a few organic stores are following already. Bring your own bottle or jar and refill!
(But make sure to only use natural/organic shampoo without chemicals and silicones)

A few brands already think about offering refills or returnable container, so stay tuned and hold your eyes and ears open… 

The company Plaine already takes back bottles to get them sterilized and reused (how awesome), but only in the US and Canada so far.

5) zero waste hair styling

I actually don’t use a hairdryer. I actually always have been a little too lazy and my hair just gets more volume if I let it air dry. 

It is also much healthy for you hair if you don’t air dry. Too hot air can cause that your hair “breaks” and look dry. That’s why a lot of people use a lot of other stuff to help their hair stay healthy while drying with a hair dryer. 

So try to just air dry, or if you need a hair dryer, don’t use hot air, only warm.

If you want to style your hair with spray or gel, you could try to make your own. Or opt for organic hair spray in a glass bottle.

6) Hair brush and ties made from natural materials

Get a nice brush without plastic. 

I can remember that the plastic ones always made my hair electrically charged… awful feeling 😀 

Since I use one made of natural materials I don’t have that problem anymore. You will find brushes made of: wood (look for FSC certificate), natural rubber, silicone, steel.

If you are looking for hair ties, have a look at plastic free ones. 

I actually don’t buy any hair ties anymore because I find too many on the streets. I know some people might be afraid of germs, but I put them into the freezer to get rid of nasties if there were any, and then I wash them with hot water and vinegar or baking soda. I have so many I won’t need to buy any the next years. It’s crazy how many people lose their hair ties on the street.

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