Aug 4, 2016

6 Zero Waste Shampoo Methods

no poo alternatives

While analyzing my waste production I saw that Hubby had me beat in the bathroom. One area that I thought I could quickly improve was with shampoo. I have tried a variety of alternative hair care methods in the past, and I can't honestly say why I did it. I wasn't really into zero waste or plastic free at the time, but I am an Oregon girl environmentalist at heart so maybe that was why. Here are some zero waste shampoo options and my experiences with them.

For background my hair is naturally straight and uncolored. It is dry and tends toward breakage. It doesn't really tangle and I don't typically use any products in my hair. Although a stylist friend introduced me to CHI Total Protect* which is AMAZING and I am considering buying it even though it is packaged in non-recyclable plastic! It's that good.

No Shampoo

This is as it sounds, you do not use shampoo or cleaning products of any kind. The thought is that you go without destroying the oils your body naturally creates and the production eventually evens out creating lovely, moisturized locks. There is a greasy period of time when the oils are figuring out how much to make and every time you cleanse your hair you are disrupting the natural oil production so you extend that greasy period. Using a boar hair brush*  you can spread the oils along the hair and make it seem less greasy. Well it seemed like I always needed to look presentable so I would wash my hair and thus never got to the non-greasy part of no shampoo. I have tried to extend the number of days between washes though. And I've realized that when my (naturally dry) hair looks slightly greasy it is what most people consider shiny, and I should embrace it. 

Conditioner Only

This is a cousin to no shampoo and I've seen it primarily recommended for curly hair. It is where you do not use shampoo products, but only conditioner. Apparently it helps keep the curls as curls and not frizz. I've even read that most conditioners have enough detergent action that they will clean your hair. I have probably had days where I only conditioned my hair, but not enough to comment on it. And my hair is straight I can't comment on its ability to keep curls looking good. 

No 'poo

Now you might think that going without any shampoo would be considered no 'poo, but the majority of time it is referring to washing your hair with baking soda and rinsing with apple cider vinegar (ACV). There are a myriad of recipes out there using different ratios of baking soda, ACV and water. Some have you apply dry baking soda to your head, others have you dilute it with water. I found that the best ratio for me was using a relatively small amount of baking soda mixed with water. I would add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 1 cup of water. I had an old crystal light container that I had marked the level of 1 cup on the side and kept in the shower. Prior to the shower I would add 1 teaspoon to the container and I would fill it up during my shower. I would then pour most of it onto my scalp and massage into my hair. You massage it for a little bit and your hair will feel slick, there is no lather. Then you rinse out the baking soda and rinse with ACV.  I would mix 1 T in 1 cup of water. I would not skip the ACV step, my hair was pretty dry afterward. And don't worry, you don't smell like vinegar even if you don't rinse it out. Once the hair is dry the scent is gone. The ACV is acidic and is supposed to close the cuticle and make it less frizzy. I did this for a while until we moved to Hawaii. I'm not really sure why I stopped other than it just became easier to switch back to conventional shampoo. I've heard this is kind of hard on your hair, and it may be, but for the several months I did it I didn't notice too much. 

Shampoo Bar

This has been the easiest transition. I purchased a variety pack* a couple of months ago. The bar will lather up when you use it. You can either rub it between your hands and then massage your scalp or you can rub the bar directly on your scalp. There are several different kinds of shampoo bar that tout different products so you may need to experiment until you find one you like. It is also possible to make your own, but I haven't ventured into that just yet. I have heard there are conditioner bars, but I haven't tried them yet.  Update: Read my review of shampoo bars and when I got a conditioner bar.

Coconut Oil

This is used as a conditioner or hair mask. It is thought that the protein in coconut oil is small enough to penetrate the hair cuticle and moisturize and strengthen the hair. I have not been very successful with it. A little goes a long way and many people suggest just applying it to the ends of your hair. You can apply it to the entirety of your hair it just may get greasy. That oiliness is why some recommend washing your hair, sometimes even twice, after using it. However other people love it and say their hair is great. I've not had overwhelming success with it, but I don't not like it. 

Cornstarch

I use cornstarch as a dry shampoo. I just apply it with a makeup brush, let it absorb the oils and then brush it through my hair. It makes my hair a little light while applying, but once it brushes out it isn't noticable. I do have light brown hair though. I've heard that cocoa powder (unsweetended, of course) also works for dark hair, but I haven't tried it. Using the cornstarch usually allows me another day without washing my hair. 

So there are some alternatives to buying shampoo in a plastic bottle. Although if you choose to buy shampoo in a plastic bottle, remember to recycle it!

Update: Hey guys I just wanted to add another option I just recently found out about. I loved the concept (and the product) so much that I became an affiliate for the company. So if you decide to purchase something I'll get a small commission, but your price is the same either way.

Plaine Products

Plaine Products* is a company that sells shampoo, conditioner and body wash in aluminum containers. You purchase them from the company, use their great smelling products, then return the empties back to the company for them to REUSE! Yes, they will refill the bottles (after cleaning, of course) and send them on their way to another customer. If the bottle isn't in shape to be reused, they will recycle it and turn it back into a bottle. The best part? They pay for return shipping! Oh yeah, their products are also vegan, color safe, and sulfate and paraben free. So it's good stuff too. I just wanted to make you aware of this option too. Check them out!

Bonus: Use the code skipthebag to get 15% off!



What do you use for your hair?

22 comments:

  1. Great ideas, i love these options!

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  2. :) No-poo'er for 8 years now! I use Kombucha that has hit the vinegar stage instead of ACV though. I do a deep cleanse once a month (lemon juice, salt, acv, and BS) then I do a coconut oil treatment after. The 6 years before dreads, I did not need any of that though. My two youngest have never used anything on their hair, ever. Hubby and son #2 use a shampoo bar so I guess we are a mixed family.. lol I do have a friend who uses diluted honey! Although I have not researched it, I thought that was amazing!

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    1. Hmm, honey, very interesting I'll have to check that out. And I never thought of using kombucha! Thanks.

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  3. I am slightly working on going no 'poo, but instead of doing it all at once, I've just slowly let me hair adjust to not being washed. I still do it once a week, but it's summer, so I'm trying to wait until it cools off to go any longer because I just feel gross when I don't wash it. But in the mean time, my hair looks and feels amazing. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I'm glad you hair is liking it not being washed as frequently!

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  4. Great tips! I never knew you could use cornstarch as a dry shampoo..I'll have to try it! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Share The Wealth Sunday!

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    1. Yes, it's one of my secret weapons! ;)

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  5. I haven't used shampoo for about 2 years now, I mostly just rinse my hair with water, but sometimes rinse with diluted lemon juice if it's feeling greasy or aloe vera gel if it's feeling dry. My hair's happier than it's ever been :D

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    1. Your hair looks great in your profile pic!

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  6. I've never tried the no shampoo method, after 3 days I'm just grossed out. I did try the baking soda and ACV route, my hair came out so dry and in a tangled mess I couldn't even comb though it, I had to wash and condition. Maybe I did it wrong. I remember as a child when we were sick, my mom would sprinkle cornstarch on our hair, back in the day people used to think if you were sick washing your hair would make you sicker. I've tried the bar shampoo, which is really handy when traveling. I only condition my hair about once every 4-5 weeks because conditioner makes my hair oily, I'm thinking just conditioner may not work well for me, but it's worth a try.

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    1. I'm guessing the ratios were off when you did the baking soda and ACV method. I had to dilute my baking soda way down or it would dry out my hair.

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  7. Hi! I'd like to go no 'poo but I'm concerned about how my hair will smell... is that an issue or does it fade after a while?

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    1. I haven't gone full fledged no poo (also called water only) for any length of time. I bet there will be a transition period your hair goes through re-establishing it's natural oils. But after that I wouldn't think so. If it did smell you could maybe apply essential oils to cover it? Sorry I can't be more help.

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  8. **** I'd like to stop using shampoo (in all its forms) *****

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    1. Some people do it! My husband has for years. If you have longer hair there might be a transition, but it can be done.

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  9. Hi Katy,
    I only use Dr. Bronner's soap on my hair for many years now. I don't use any kind of sprays or conditions except I do use the organic henna every 2 months or so and my hairs stays nice. I also use the boar hair brush - in fact I need a new one soon. Since I am chemically sensitive I haven't never use chemical on my body or hair. Thanks for the great information. Have a healthy, happy & blessed day. Visiting from #WasteLessWednesday blog hop.

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    1. I haven't tried Dr. Bronner's soap on hair. I would have though it would be too drying. I'll have to try it! Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. I wash my hair with just vinegar and it works very well for me! I have wavy hair that was mid-back length when I started this 13 years ago and is shoulder length now. I only have to wash it about once a week, whereas with shampoo I washed every other day! I tried using baking soda as well, but it made my hair feel dry and straw-like, as Judith experienced. Thanks for sharing all these options!

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    1. You are welcome. I enjoyed using vinegar as a conditioner, but didn't think about using it just by itself. Glad to hear it works!

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  11. Thanks for sharing on Be Clean Be Green With Kids. I have been interested in trying some zero waste shampoos and Plaine Products is on my list. Glad to hear you liked it! http://www.honestlymodern.com/category/blog-101/be-clean-be-green-with-kids-link-up/ Hope to see you back this week.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by I hope you enjoy Plaine Products!

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