How to have a zero-waste and eco-friendly hair care routine

We love our hair and the environment, but how do we have good hair whilst also being kind to the environment by avoiding plastics and nasty chemicals?

I always thought that I needed loads of products to tame my dry and damaged hair, but being on the road has shown me that I can achieve a lot just by using the right products, instead of the scattergun approach to buying hair care products based on advertising.

We’re bombarded with adverts for shampoos and conditioners that offer a dizzying array of benefits, but do we actually need them? I thought that I did, but actually I’m generally disappointed by some of the products that I’ve bought in the past and now that I use less stuff, I’m loads happier.

My bathroom and bag are both much tidier as a result and it has taken the stress of having half-empty products that I’ll never finish away from me (Marie Kondo would be proud!). Although it would be good if someone could invent a zero-waste hairspray, as that is the also thing that I use that I can’t find a replacement for, so I’m going without it for the time being.

I wanted to share my minimalist and eco-friendly hair care routine with you, because you and your hair are worth it!


If you want to go the whole way and make your own products, then Refinery29 has several recipes for DIY hair products, some of them involve things I’ve never heard of, but many, like the coconut and honey hair mask, are definitely achievable.

If you’re more interested in supporting sustainable brands or a combination of homemade and bought, then read on for my minimalist and zero-waste product recommendations.

Shampoo bar

Stock up on your organic shampoo bars with this set from Djtanak! When I started using solid shampoo, I was worried that they wouldn’t foam up on my dry and damaged hair, but I have been proven wrong. These bars are so much better than plastic bottled shampoo, and they’re cheaper.

If you travel a lot, they actually take up less space in your bag which is an added bonus! The main thing to remember with shampoo bars is to let them dry out so that they don’t become soggy and disintegrate. I keep mine in the metal container but I make sure that there is no water that’s sneaked in there first, which seems to do the trick.

Solid conditioner

If you’re like me, and your hair is dry or unmanageable without conditioner, then never fear, as solid zero-waste conditioner bars are finally on the rise! This one is great, especially if you have dry hair because it contains argan oil, coconut butter and avocado oil and its vegan! It’s also very good on your pocket because a little goes a very long way. Just be sure to store it in a dry place like your shampoo bar.

TIP: To avoid having to dry your hair with a hairdryer which uses electricity, try towel-drying your hair until its damp and then putting a buff (neck gaiter) around your head while it drys to stop it going frizzy and keep your head warm. This works especially well when travelling!

Bamboo hairbrush

Bamboo really is a wonder material for making sustainable products, and this hairbrush is one of them! Even the bristles are made from bamboo and this is a great multi-purpose brush for both detangling and styling. It’s also not too big so you can take it travelling with you. I’ve had mine for quite a few years and I’ve found the bristles don’t bend like plastic ones do and they don’t pull out as much hair so you clean them less!

Organic coconut oil

Coconut oil is one of the most versatile beauty products that you can buy, and it comes in glass jars! So many nourishing oils are organic but come with plastic bottle caps so organic coconut oil is a wonder product for eco babes. If you have finer European hair like me, I’d suggest using it sparingly to avoid getting greasy hair as less is definitely more.

Eco hair wax

It’s very tricky to find zero-waste hair products as they either come in plastic packaging or have some element of plastic in there. If you find any hairspray or gel that doesn’t include plastic then I’d love to hear about it!

In the meantime, if you want to keep your hairstyle in shape, then try a hair wax that comes in a metal tin. These two come in metal tins and are made from natural and/or organic ingredients. Unfortunately, the No Gunk and Sante Natural Form hair wax both contain beeswax so if you’re vegan, then try Anchors Aweigh Vegan hair clay.

Biodegradable hair glitter

If all of that seems very serious and dull, then there is still a way that you can have fun with your hair, without harming the environment! While glitter is very bad for the environment, a British company has come up with a type of glitter made from eucalyptus cellulose (harvested sustainably) and mixed with cosmetic pigments like the ones you find in your makeup.

If you love a festival, then be sure to spread the word about biodegradable glitter so that we can be jazzy and sustainable all at the same time! Always do your research when it comes to glitter companies as some claim to be biodegradable when, in fact, they just degrade into smaller pieces of plastic instead of disappearing completely as they should do.

These tins are made from aluminium which is easily reused or recycled and you get four colours in each pack so you’ll be a gorgeous mermaid in no time at all!

What’s your favourite eco-friendly hair product or are there any natural ingredients that you recommend? If there are any products or recipes that are good for Afro or Asian hair then I’d love to hear about them.

If you’re interested in eco-friendly beauty then have a look at how to have an eco-friendly facial and 8 organic and sustainable make-up bag essentials.

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