Peaceful Dumpling has delved pretty deep into several of the various ways one can green her beauty—from the basics to sunscreen to makeup. However, one element of my beauty routine that I often neglect to think of—in terms of whether or not it’s eco-friendly, at least—is my hair! Although I tend to think of my haircare routine as fairly simple, I do wash my hair frequently, use a handful of products, and reach for hot tools when I really want to make it behave.
All of these actions have an ecological footprint, and I’ve recently begun thinking about how to make my hair look it’s best(ish) while being as minimalist as I can be with my routine. (Added perks being—less time and efforts, less money spent on hair stuff, healthier hair, and perhaps greater self-acceptance?? Okay, maybe that’s pushing things, but there’s no harm in dreaming, right?)
Luckily, I’m not the only person with eco-hair care on the brain. In fact, ‘dos that are all about less-is-more ‘do
In a recent article in Vogue, environmental reporter Zoë Schlanger is quoted explaining that haircare is a relatively tiny percentage of the issue: “Haircare is ultimately such a fraction of the problem…but I find that it’s easier to cope with the existential threats of climate change with small actions and unplugging is one of the smartest ways to shrink your carbon footprint.” To put things into numbers, the piece reports that a hairdryer, on average, consumes roughly 1,500 watts of energy per blowout and emit roughly 57 pounds of carbon dioxide a year (with average use).
Of course, electricity and carbon are just parts of the puzzle—we also must consider the amount of water involved in washing our hair. According to a study commissioned by the California Department of Water Resources, the average shower uses about 18 gallons of water. (And I’m sure that on days when I wash my hair, my showers are longer than average!).
So what’s to be done? The answer will depend on the individual–hair texture, hair cut, styling preferences, and current routine–but the following are a few ideas worth considering.
How to Green Your Hair Routine with Style
Take a break from hair coloring. If you’ve been regularly using permanent dye, you may want to check out our piece on the health risks it involves. Not only will you avoid exposing yourself to potential carcinogens, you’ll also prevent those chemicals from washing down the drain.
Skip the blowout. Hairstylist James Pecis is known for his hot tool-free looks for the runway. His styles showcase models’ natural hair texture and have an ethereal yet lived-in vibe.
Pecis encourages sleeping with wet hair (and styling cream/your fav texturizer). Experiment with sleeping with damp braids and buns, too. Play around with sea salt spray (you can make your own).
Ask your stylist about a “wash and wear” cut. A “wash and wear cut” is designed to look good even if it’s just air-dried. This may translate to having your layers more (or less) blended or having your overall cut restructured.
Wash your hair less frequently. See what happens when you reduce your washing to one fewer shampoo per week. (Don’t forget that a little dry shampoo is your friend!) These days, I aim for twice a week.
Twinkle Apothecary Dry Shampoo (packaged in glass)
Opt for hair care brands that hold sustainability as a core value. Rahua is one haircare line that comes to mind. The products are luxurious, effective, natural, and created with care.
Keep your product collection minimal and streamlined. We really don’t need five different leave-in conditioners. Make it a goal to completely use something before replacing it.
Try a shampoo bar. A shampoo bar minimizes plastic (most are packaged in recyclable paper or a handy reusable tin).
What are your favorite eco-friendly ways to treat your hair?
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