Don’t get me wrong, packaging is important, but it’s not the only thing to be conscious of.
As a major hair product collector myself, I understand how guilty it can feel to have so many and therefore produce so much waste. If this also sounds like you, fear not, because I’m here to help break down the ways you can make better decisions to help the planet (and said guilty conscience…).
Sustainable haircare tip 1: A note on packaging (let’s get it out of the way…)
The industry has made strides in this area, it has to be said. Thankfully, a lot of plastic product packaging can now be recycled, but it’s always important to check both the back and the bottom of the product (as well as things like lids or pumps) to see if they can actually go into recycling and if so, which parts. Online guides like this one by UpCircle can be really handy here.
The easiest way to spot if packaging can be recycled is by looking out for the triangular recycle symbol. But as mentioned, ensure you know your stuff and read carefully, as you may need to separate certain parts of the packaging out between recycling and household waste.
Many sustainable brands package their products in glass, aluminium and paper, all of which are easy to recycle, re-purpose and refill, which takes much of the confusion away!
Sustainable haircare tip 2: Invest in trustworthy brands
When you buy from sustainable and ethical brands, you know the planet and humanity have been considered throughout the product manufacturing to the packaging process.
Ingredients are also an important element, with many brands avoiding palm oil (as much as possible) as well as perfume or toxins and overusing water.
Below, I have listed some brands going the extra mile to protect the planet while also catering to curly hair needs.
One thing I know puts a lot of us off buying from sustainable and ethical brands is expense, but there are several high street options now beginning to make small changes, like using recycled plastics for their packaging to help move towards a happier planet. These are good curly hair options:
Sustainable haircare tip 3: Opt for multi-purpose products
This is especially relevant when discussing conditioners, masks and leave-ins. Although we have been led to believe we need a 10-step curly hair routine, we really don’t, and stripping back my routine over the past year is probably one of the best things I have done for my hair.
Sometimes, you can get away with only using a rinse-out conditioner, only using a mask or even just leaving some of your rinse-out conditioner in your hair for a bit of hydration before going in with a gel. These are all great options that can help minimise excess product use or doubling up:
Sustainable haircare tip 4: Refreshing your curls doesn’t need *more* products
You don’t always need to apply more product to your hair in order to refresh your curls. It is possible to just use water or steam to reactivate the product that is already in your hair, meaning less excess usage and less waste.
Take note of when your hair needs a refresh, head into the shower without a shower cap on, and just let the steam rehydrate your hair for you.
When you come out, scrunch your hair a little bit and leave it to settle. Provided you used a product with hold in the first place, the cast should reform as if it’s a brand-new wash and go, extending your hairstyle for another couple of days and saving on product!
Sustainable haircare tip 5: Swap, give away & find new homes for unwanted product
If you’ve picked up something that doesn’t work for you, don’t just throw it away; give unused products to charities and shelters wherever possible.
There are also plenty of product swapping groups on Facebook and Instagram that encourage helping each other through the product searching process while also slowing down waste; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, after all!
If you have a beauty or hair product-obsessed office, another great idea is to organise a quarterly product swap or just have a nominated product box and treat every day like it’s Christmas. It’s certainly a smart way to score some extra points with your work besties…
Making all these changes at once is probably unrealistic, but why not introduce a couple of these ideas to help kickstart more sustainable routine? I guarantee you’ll feel good about it.