An Eco-Friendly Way to Go Almost Zero Waste With Your Hair Care

In this article, you’ll find ten tips to help you follow a zero waste hair care routine.

zero waste hair care

We are living in a time when people are becoming more environmentally conscious. Some are doing so to help save the planet by making more eco-friendly choices.

Others are wanting to live a zero waste lifestyle by wisely choosing the personal care products they use. From ditching plastic products to repurposing what you have, zero waste hair care can be both rewarding and impactful.

Now, if we are going to be honest, it’s not an easy thing to have a totally 100% zero-waste hair care routine. In full transparency a zero waste lifestyle is really not possible. Things happen and not every consumable product has a sustainable alternative that leads to absolute no waste.

Fortunately, for those of us looking to follow a zero waste hair routine, there are more options now than there was even 5-10 years ago.

As you read further, you’ll discover a low of options to help you on your quest to living a zero waste lifestyle through your hair routines. Of course, while I’m writing from the perspective of someone with curly hair, these tips for zero wast hair care can be applied to those of any hair type.

Low to Zero Waste Hair Tips

Zero Waste Hair Care Tips – The Highlights

While you’ll find all the details below, for a quick overview of the tips share, here are the highlights:

  1. Use zero waste shampoo bars
  2. Make your products do double duty
  3. Dilute your shampoo
  4. Use a tool like the Beauty Spoon
  5. Reuse your plastic bottles
  6. Make your own hair products
  7. Freeze leftover DIY product concoctions
  8. Use hair products from zero waste hair care brands
  9. Use coffee grounds as a scalp scrub
  10. Use hair accessories made from all natural materials

Types of Zero Waste Hair Care Products

There are so many zero waste hair care products (including curly hair products) and I share some brands below. However, below are the types of products you can use in your hair regimen that are zero waste just based on the absence of plastic packaging:

  • shampoo bars
  • solid conditioner bars
  • dry shampoo – not a fan of these but listing it because I know many are
  • styling products

Zero waste shampoo bars and conditioner bars

When it comes to the cleansing and conditioning steps in your naturally curly hair routine, instead of using plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner, opt for shampoo bars and either liquid conditioner or solid conditioner bars.

These are truly zero waste because once they are done, there’s no excess packaging going to the landfill.

That is, provided you purchase conditioning and shampoo bars without packaging. If you do purchase a shampoo bar in a package, just make sure it’s a sustainable alternative to plastic. For example, a recyclable paper wrapper.

Liquid conditioner can be purchased or made in reusable containers.

And, if you’re concerned further about waste of product, you can house your solid shampoo bar on a plastic-free soap dish which you can use again and again.

Wooden soap dishes are an excellent choice. Then, when you go to use your shampoo bar, you can put it in a soap bag. Run it under some water to moisten and then wash your hair with the shampoo bar in the soap bag.

You can also use soap bags to house solid conditioner bars.

Make your products do double duty

When you use your hair products in more than one way, this saves money and the need to purchase as often.

Some examples include:

  • Using shampoo for more than just washing your hair. You can also use it to clean makeup brushes instead of buying an expensive brush cleansing product.
  • Combining similar but different products for styling. For example, aloe vera can be mixed with a bit of flax seed gel for curl defining.
  • Natural oils can be used in many ways to care for your hair. For example, coconut oil, jojoba oil and olive oil are great choices to care for your hair. They can be used in myriad of ways including:

While oils aren’t necessarily zero waste hair care products (due to the packaging they are typically housed in – unless glass), being able to use them in more than one way at least makes them low-waste options for hair care.

Dilute your shampoo

If you still prefer to use traditional shampoos from a bottle, there are ways to reduce the waste. One of those ways is to dilute bottles of liquid shampoo so you get more out of them. Your shampoo can go a long way when you dilute it.

Since shampoo is activated with water, you don’t need to use commercial shampoos at full strength.

In fact, when you dilute traditional shampoos with water before use, you actually cut down on the risk of the shampoo stripping your curls of beneficial natural oils and moisture.

Use a tool like a beauty spatula

The first beauty spatula that I ever saw on the market was The Beauty Spoon. There are now many knock offs of this tool that can help you to achieve zero waste of hair products. 

A little spatula that is curved just right for fitting deep into product bottles is genius. It allows you to scrape every drop of product out of a bottle.

Alternatively, you can add a little water to a bottle, shake and pour the rest out as you need it. OR, you can can cut the bottle open to scrape out remaining product.

I just think a beauty spatula is an easier way to get to all of your product without compromise.

Reuse your plastic bottles

Speaking of plastic packaging and even glass, let’s reuse them. I find that I can reuse a lot of the plastic bottles and plastic tubs for warming my oils for a hot oil treatment. You’d simply add product to them and all the jar or bottle to sit in a pot of warm water.

Also, conditioner bottles you purchase can be used to mix up your own liquid conditioner.

You can use the plastic tubs you’ve purchased in the past (not just plastic tubs from hair products but also food products) to mix up DIY hair masks.

This is another zero waste hair care method. Any time you do it yourself, you can cut out waste.

eco-friendly hair care routine tips

Make your own hair products

While i’m on the fence with making all of my own hair products (because time and experience knowing how to mix ingredients), there’s definitely some benefits to doing so.

When you make your own hair products, you would use natural ingredients that are good for you and good for the environment. You can find these ingredients right in your kitchen most of the time too.

Green tea, aloe vera, carrier natural oils like olive oil, tea tree oil and other essential oils are just to name a few.

Also, because you’ll mix up your products in containers you already have, you won’t have the waste of throwing away any bottles.

Freeze leftover DIY product concoctions

DIY-ing your hair products is a great way to drastically reduce waste but only if you make sure to use up all that you make.

Because hair care products that are made in your kitchen won’t typically have a preservative in them, they will spoil faster.

To remedy this, simply freeze any leftovers (like you would do with food you don’t intend to eat in a couple days) and you’ll extend their “shelf” life.

Use hair products from zero waste hair care brands

If you’re not really feeling the DIY route, you can absolutely purchase products from zero waste hair care brands.

You may pay slightly more for them in some cases but in the end, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint while helping to save our planet.

Some zero waste hair care brands to check out:

  • Hibar (this moisturizing Hibar shampoo bar is a fave amongst zero waste consumers)
  • Plaine Products – They make refillable and sustainable products that are vegan 
  • Lovette Sundries – They use recyclable glass bottles.
  • Rainwater Botanicals – They also make vegan hair products and use an aluminum bottle over a plastic one to house their products. Aluminum containers are great to reuse for things like DIY lip scrubs and masks

These brands are very mindful to avoid questionable ingredients and artificial colors in their products.

Use coffee grounds

If you brew your own coffee, a great way to foster a zero waste lifestyle is to take those grounds after they have been brewed and use them in your zero waste hair care routine.

Coffee grounds can be used in hair routines in so many ways:

  • to create a scalp scrub for exfoliation
  • for a final rinse that adds moisture to the hair (yes coffee can help your hair retain moisture AND add shine!)
  • to create a hair mask when mixed with honey
  • for a hair oil – you’d mix the grounds with a carrier oil (coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, or argan oil) and essential oils. Lavender essential oil and sweet orange essential oil are great for the scalp.

Using coffee grounds in your hair is another way to make a product work double duty for you.

Use hair accessories made from all natural materials

Most cheap hair accessories on the market are made from synthetic materials which are not good for the environment. They can also cause you to get frizzy hair or dry hair due to the moisture stripping which can occur.

For zero waste hair care, you want to opt for accessories made from natural materials like:

  • natural rubber
  • wood
  • linen
  • silk
  • cotton

Some hair accessories made from these natural materials include:

  • hair brushes like a wooden brush or bamboo hair brush
  • silk or linen scrunchies

Zero Waste Hair Care is Good for More Than One Reason

If you haven’t figured it out by now, there’s good news about being mindful to follow a zero waste hair care routine. It isn’t just good for the environment. It’s good for promoting healthier hair and can potentially save you money in some ways.

Using nature friendly hair products and accessories can protect you from dry hair so that if healthier hair is your goal, you’ll be well on your way.

tips for zero waste hair care

Check Out This Posts for More Ideas on Sustainable Hair Care

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Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

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