How to Adopt a Sustainable Hair Care Routine

July 08, 2021 3 min read

a wild vanilla shampoo bar display by the earthling co

It’s more important than ever to be aware of the impact our daily habits have on the planet, and that includes our hair care routines. From the harmful chemicals lurking inside traditional shampoo bottles to the high levels of water and energy used to style our tresses, our hair care routines can wreak serious havoc on the environment. And don’t even get us started on all that plastic packaging!

Luckily, adopting a sustainable hair care routine doesn’t need to be a daunting task. In fact, with more and more brands releasing eco-friendly alternatives to our essential hair care products, it’s easier than ever to show your hair and the planet some love. Keep scrolling to learn how to make your hair care routine more sustainable without sacrificing your healthy, beautiful mane.

1. Swap plastic bottles for shampoo and conditioner bars

Did you know that Americans throw away 552 million empty shampoo bottles each year? Shampoo bars, which easily stand up to the performance of liquid shampoo, are travel-friendly and infinitely more sustainably thanks to their plastic-free packaging.

Our shampoo and conditioner bars are formulated for all hair types and contain plant-based ingredients (read no sulfates, parabens or artificial fragrances) that leave hair feeling soft, shiny and clean. They’re also more affordable than traditional shampoo because they tend to last longer (around 75 washes). 

Still not sold on solids? Check out our blog – How to Use a Shampoo Bar – and see for yourself how easy it is to get a soapy lather going.

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a pair of women holding out shampoo bars

2. Learn how to recycle your empty hair care products

Chances are, even if you aren’t fussy about your hair, there’s one hair care product in your lineup that you simply can’t live without. If you can’t find a plastic-free alternative to your go-to hair care products, learning how to recycle your empties can go a long way in reducing plastic waste.

While most shampoo and conditioner bottles are large enough to be sorted at recycling centers, other hair care products can be trickier to recycle. Check with your local municipality to see what they can accept and to ensure that you’re recycling your beauty products properly (i.e., rinsing out bottles before you toss them in the recycling bin). Alternatively, you can also check to see if your hair care brand has a take-back program that collects your used hair care products.

3. Opt for refillables

a person dispensing soap from a large container

Source: Iryna Inshyna/Shutterstock.com

What’s better than recycling your hair care products containers? Reusing them, of course. Thankfully, more and more brands are finally getting the memo that consumers want refillable products, which help reduce plastic waste by allowing consumers to easily refill the original container.

Some beauty brands have refill stations at their brick-and-mortar stores, making it easier than ever for consumers to go plastic-free in their hair care routines. But if you don’t have a refill station nearby, don’t fret! You can also order refill pouches online. While refillable pouches are often made from plastic, they typically use less than a brand-new bottle.

4. Look into the ingredients

Plastic packaging isn’t the only problem with traditional hair care products. Many personal care products also contain nasty chemicals — synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates and more — that go down the drain when you wash your hair, potentially harming both humans and wildlife. For example, parabens have been linked to reproductive issues in animals and contribute to the destruction of coral reefs.

When shopping for hair care products, always read the ingredients label carefully. Avoid parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), phthalates, formaldehyde and other ingredients that may harm the health of humans and wildlife.

5. Embrace the waterless hair care trend

Did you know that water makes up to 80 percent of traditional shampoo? With our planet currently facing a water crisis and the American West drying out, there’s no better time to switch to waterless hair care products.

Shampoo and conditioner bars are incredibly popular in the world of waterless hair care, but dry shampoo is another waterless option to consider. Dry shampoo works by absorbing oil from the scalp, keeping oily hair looking refreshed without leaving behind residue. To keep your hair care routine sustainable, stay away from ozone-depleting aerosol shampoos and try an all-natural dry shampoo instead.

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Treat Your Tresses to Low Waste Hair Care

When it comes to building a sustainable hair care routine, remember to practice the most important of the three “Rs”: reduce. The reality is that your hair doesn’t need a lot of products to look good. Eating a healthy diet, embracing your natural hair texture and using a nourishing shampoo and conditioner will serve your hair and the planet better in the long run.


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