Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of your latest hair styling product? And did you understand everything listed and now know exactly what you put on your head each day? I bet the answer is ‘no’. Willingly, we decide to overload our biggest organ, the skin, with chemicals and all sorts of nasty things when it is absolutely unnecessary. Keep reading to see how all-natural and zero waste hair care looks like!
Why Look After Your Skin and Hair
The skin absorbs everything you put on it. So why would we put something on one of your organs which we would never put on or in another organ inside of our body?
Two years ago I have decided to put only things on and in my body which I was also willing to eat. That meant that every time I finished a product I would go and look for a chemical and plastic free, natural, vegan version of it. If I couldn’t find anything, I would make it by myself!
Newly being on the minimalist lifestyle, I questioned everything: Did I really need a conditioner or expensive hair masks? What makes most sense for my hair? Which natural products are good for my special hair type and which are not?
12 Ingredients You Should Avoid
Consciousness starts from a research. Let’s have a look at the most common bad boys in your list of ingredients.
- Alcohol: Not every type of alcohol is bad for the hair. Make sure that your product only contains organic alcohol types that start with ‘s’ or ‘c’. These can moisture the hair. Avoid everything else.
- Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Although sulfates strip the oils from your hair, they also leave them dry, ‘naked’ and vulnerable to any harmful. SLS is also responsible for the foam which can lead to toxic effects.
- Chemical fragrances: Stick to natural aromas that are organic and derived from plants.
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine: An ingredient that increases foam. It can cause irritations on the skin.
- Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA): Studies have shown that these ingredients can cause cancer.
- Dimethicone: This silicon makes your hair shiny but also makes it greasy very quickly again. It can also clog your pores and thus lead to hair loss.
- Formaldehyde: Another ingredient which can cause cancer.
- Parabens: They are used to kill bacteria. Studies have shown that parabens are linked to increase the growth of cancer cells.
- Polyethylene Glycols (PEG): It is derived from petroleum and often contains byproducts that are very harmful to the human organism.
- Retinyl Palmitate: Can cause skin irritations and damage on other organs.
- Sodium chloride: Another term for salt. Avoid it if you have sensitive skin. It can also lead to hair loss and irritations in the eyes.
- Triclosan: This chemical also kills bacteria. It can cause cancer and damage in the brain.
Zero Waste Products and How to Use Them
Please remember that the products I use work for me but might not work for you. Everyone has their very own hair structure and you should embrace it just the way it is. Don’t give up on zero waste hair care if you have trouble finding the right way for you; there is a natural way for everybody!
Brushes and Morning Routine
Each day I include hair brushing in my morning routine. First, I comb out any frizz I made overnight with a wooden brush. Organic wooden brushes don’t contain any chemicals and leave the natural oils, which your head produces, on your hair. Make sure you find a high quality brush, as their bristles are smooth.
Second, I comb my hair with a boar brush, like this one. This will take up to 10 or 15 minutes because I comb carefully from my hairline along the round shape of my scalp into the lengths of my hair.
After I am finished, I flip my head and hair upside down and do the same: Comb carefully from your neck all over your head into the lengths, then flip my hair back and start all over. I will do this 3 or 4 times.
Do not put too much pressure on your head as the bristles of the boar brush might break.
The bristles do not have to be made of boar but it has to be a natural, soft material so the oils (called sebum) can be absorbed and then spread into the lengths of your hair. If you are vegan and want to avoid animal products I recommend this brush. It may contain sisal or agave fiber. Make sure that it does not contain bristles of any other synthetic material.
Once you are finished and look like Medusa, use your bamboo or wooden brush again to tame the hair.
Do this every day and you can get rid of all hair masks and conditioners because you give your hair exactly what it needs: the oils your own body exclusively produces for that reason – to protect and care for your hair.
Shampoo and Washing the Hair
Try to extend the times you wash your hair. Embrace your natural oils and be thankful that they protect your hair from any damage, especially in winter or while being exposed to the sun.
When it comes to washing, keep it as simple as possible. Try to find a product that does not include any or very few of the harmful ingredients mentioned above. If you try to go zero waste I can recommend hair soaps, for example Peppermint Shampoo Bar Soap. Some shops offer also zero waste packaging.
Wash your hair only once, never twice. This is totally unnecessary and leaves your hair super dry and vulnerable.
Related Post: 5 Shampoo Bars for Lower-Waste Hair Care
Hair Treatments and Natural Conditioners
After washing, I like to rinse my hair with organic apple cider vinegar which I mix with cold water. For one rinse I use about 100 ml ACV and 100 ml water. Always rinse your hair with cold water so the hair structure becomes tight and protective again.
Once I am out of the shower, I knead my hair carefully with a towel and then apply a tiny bit of my favorite organic oil mixture. I only dip my fingertips in it, spread it all over my hands, and softly massage my hair ends. Be very minimalistic here, or it looks like you put your hair in a bucket of oil. Make sure to purchase only unrefined, organic, cold-pressed oils.
Here are some oils I absolutely adore:
- coconut oil (heat protectant, repairs hair damage and breakage, helps to prevent hair loss, aids hair growth);
- argan oil (protect your hair from heat, nourish and moisturize it, reduce dry and brittle hair, reduces the frizziness);
- castor oil (many nutrients: vitamin E, minerals, and proteins + controls hair loss, fights scalp infections, prevents split ends);
- jojoba oil (chemical structure resembles the oil that is produced naturally by our scalp, hydrates the hair from deep within).
Related Post: 20 Best Hair Oils for Your Perfect Locks