Simple Swaps for a Zero-Waste Haircare Routine

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Unless you are incredibly lucky, haircare routines can be somewhat of a nightmare. Even now that I’ve massively pared down my collection, taking care of my hair still takes up more of my time than I wish it did (it is very Hermione-in-the-Philosopher’s-Stone-esque). Even after I’ve done my hair, it doesn’t look done.

Going plastic-free with your haircare routine is no mean feat, but I have a few tips to make it easier. I feel like I’m constantly telling people the same thing; it’s not a race. You’re not going to win life because you started using solid shampoo before someone else did. You can’t ditch every single thing made of plastic in your kitchen and expect to still function normally. Living a low-impact life is all about making small, meaningful changes that last.

That being said, as a whole, the human race isn’t doing its best. I’m not thinking of any group or nation in particular, I’m just thinking of Blue Planet II and shuddering. Slow, and steady. I really don’t feel as though there’s an end of the road (at least not one in sight); there will always be things we can do to better take care of our planet.

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Soap Bars

These marvellous things have had their time in the spotlight recently, and rightly so! You can get bars to replace your soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, body wash – you name it. Yeah, you guessed it, we use solid shampoos and conditioners from Lush.

I know the more organic-loving readers out there will be screaming SLS at their screens right now, but I just can’t do without it yet. I know it’s bad for us, but I honestly haven’t found anything else that really cleans my hair. I’m working on it. Besides their penchant for sulphates and parabens, and contrary to current ‘green’ opinions, I actually adore Lush.

If you’re really adverse, Friendly Soap do some great SLS-free alternatives.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

So many things you have lying around in your kitchen can be used to take care of your hair. My favourite for this coconut oil, although I know some people can be funny about this. I use coconut oil for loads of things; deep conditioning my hair, taking off my makeup, moisturising… oh yeah, and cooking! Olive oil is another great option, although I find it a little too clingy for my liking. 

Baking powder is great to clean your hair with in a pinch (or not, if your hair is nice to you). I love using it as dry shampoo; it’s better for me, it’s better for the planet and, as an avid baker, it’s one less thing to put on my shopping list.

If you want to help your hair grow then massaging in a little apple cider vinegar is great for stimulating your hair follicles (I’ve heard it’s good for dandruff, too, although it’s not something I’ve ever struggled with). I’ve heard the same about cinnamon (although I’ve never tried it myself), and what’s the worst that will happen? Your hair will smell like the most divine thing ever? Yeah.

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Discovering New Brands

Hair-O are a massively underrated brand. Maybe I read too many American blogs, but I hear of them far less than I ought to. Most of their shampoos and conditioners come in bars, in tins, which are super cool and look ever so retro, and they do specifically SLS-free bars! What’s more, they’ve recently pledged to go entirely plastic-free with their packaging, so I’m hoping to see their hair oils in glass bottles in the near future.

Another great brand I just had to mention was Bleach London. Although they’re not down to completely recycled packaging yet, they use 100% recycled cardboard and have pledged to use 100% recycled plastic by the end of the year. They do a huge range of products, including hair masks, dyes, bleaches and styling products, as well as an entire range of makeup. I know, I know, plastic is bad, but hear me out: there are millions of tonnes of plastic in the world, whether we like it or not. If nobody buys it, where will it end up? Most likely, in the skies or in our oceans. Until we find a responsible way to rid of the stuff, plastic is here to stay. We may as well put it to good use!

Zero Waste Shops

Until last month, I had to travel half way across the city to stock up at a zero-waste shop. Needless to say, I’m beyond thrilled that a new refill store has opened up a ten minute walk from our flat. Although we usually use bars, I’m not averse to using refills from the zero-waste shop. 

When it comes to body soap Joe prefers liquids, so I get all of our hand wash and shower gel from zero waste shops, filling them straight into reusable containers. I do find it a bit more of a faff than bars because I can buy them in bulk and store them for as long as I like, but it’s still a great option if you can’t get on with solid shampoo!

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