So you want to switch to eco-friendly hair care. Huzzah! You’re in the right place. But… you also want to make sure it works for your gorgeous, voluminous, curly/natural/wavy/coily/kinky hair. We got you covered! Below, we’ll dive into some of our favorite low-waste and toxin-free hair care products, and how you can integrate them into a routine that works for your hair type. Let’s get started!
When it comes to washing your hair, we like to break it into 2 types: clarifying, and cleansing (although it may not always be labeled that way on the product!). While very similar, clarifying focuses a bit more on deep cleaning and scalp health, and should be done a bit less often, while shampooing can be done more regularly. In terms of low waste packaging (which is our jam!), you can usually choose between bottles/jars or shampoo bars.
Picking a shampoo depends entirely on your hair health, and hair goals. If you have colored hair, we suggest this Natural Color Care Shampoo. If you want more shine and moisture, this Sea Shine Shampoo is awesome – and comes packaged in recycled, ocean-bound plastic. For less frizz, try the Natural Anti-Frizz Shampoo. A wonderful, very gentle option for all hair types is Plaine Products Refillable Vegan Shampoo – and it comes in a refillable aluminum bottle. Whichever shampoo you choose, ensure you massage your scalp while working the product in. Massaging your scalp promotes circulation and hair growth (and feels amazing!)
Depending on your hair type, you may love or hate shampoo bars. To create a sudsy foam, they require you to lather them either in your hands and apply to the hair, or lather directly against the hair. To deep clean product buildup, we suggest either this Apple Cider Vinegar & Citrus Shampoo Bar – or the Maintain Shampoo Bar – both are great for fully cleaning the hair and scalp while keeping natural oils you need. For more regular cleansing, we love the Moisturize Shampoo Bar (curly hair always needs moisture!), the Jojoba & Baobab Shampoo Bar, or the Rosemary Avocado Shampoo Bar.
Looking for more of a deep clean? With curly hair especially, products can build up – and you’ll want to refresh your scalp and hair with a cleanser that packs a bit more of a bunch. We love the Hibiscus + Black Soap Moisturizing Hair Cleanser for all hair types. Made by Belle Bar Organic, a black-owned, woman-owned, and family owned company, this hair cleanser uses hibiscus and African black soap to remove product buildup and leave curls bouncy and healthy.
Let’s talk about conditioners! Especially for natural or curly hair types, moisture is extremely important. They are available in a few types: bottles/jars, conditioner bars, or more intensive options like hair masks (which can usually be paired with conditioners as well!) Some have more protein, and some have more moisture. Not sure what your hair needs? Grab a strand of dry hair and pull it gently between two hands. If your hair easily snaps when stretched, it needs protein. If it feels dense, and will stretch a bit, but does not go back to its texture when stretched, then it lacks moisture.
As we mentioned with shampoo bars, conditioner bars require more lathering than creams to apply into the hair… and this may or may not work for you! But, they last incredibly long compared to creams or other alternatives, and can enhance your natural texture beautifully. For hair needing moisture, try the Moisturize Conditioner Bar, or the fragrance free version. For hair craving volume, go for the Volumize Conditioner Bar. A wonderful choice for all hair types is the Lavender Hemp Conditioner Bar.
When we think of conditioners, we typically think of classic creams. A lightweight conditioner for all hair types we love is the Refillable Vegan Conditioner, or the Natural Lightweight Conditioner. For hair that is combating frizz, opt for the Natural Anti-Frizz Conditioner or the Sea Shine Conditioner. For colored hair, grab the Natural Color Care Conditioner. In terms of application, it is super important that you work the conditioner into your hair – don’t just slap it on! Start with a small amount of conditioner on wet hair, and massage it into your hair, roots to ends. The water will work with the conditioner to bring moisture into the hair strands. Once you’ve massaged and squeezed it into the hair, let it sit for a few minutes to absorb!
Styling Products + Oils
You’re out of the shower, and now it’s time to style. There are a ton of different styling products, and what works for your hair will be different from someone else. There are sprays, gels, mousses, leave in conditioners, balms, creams, oils, and butters that all deliver different results. We prefer ones packaged in glass, aluminum, or recycled content plastic – things that can be curbside recycled whenever possible.
Healthy hair = healthy scalp. Products like this Black Sage + Ginseng Hair Tonic balance dry or oily scalps, while fortifying and strengthening your hair. For irritated or itchy scalps, especially those that utilize protective styles, the Moringa + Marula Soothing Sensitive Scalp Oil heals irritation, prevents breakage, and promotes new growth. If you’re out in the sun a lot, try the Sunstone Revive Hair Elixir, it projects from sun and pollution, and increases circulation and stimulates hair follicles (it can double as a hair oil as well!) A great way to ensure any of these products are correctly worked into the scalp is with a Gemstone Gua Sha + Massaging Comb. This gua sha has “prongs” similar to a comb, and allows you to massage your head – which promotes circulation and hair growth.
Sprays + Creams
For hair spray lovers, we love this Beach Waves Ocean Hair Spray (it also comes in versions infused with ethically sourced mica for a shimmery glow!) or this Spirit + Salt Hydrating Hair Styling Mist – especially for hair types that are more on the wavy side of the spectrum. If your hair is combating frizz, this Natural Anti-Frizz Hair Smoothing Cream uses jojoba oil to manage unruly hair. A good Leave-In Conditioner will help lock in moisture, and can be used as your first step right out of the shower. In terms of the order of products, we usually suggest Shampoo, Conditioner, Leave-in Conditioner, Cream, Gel, Mousse, Oil – but don’t feel like you have to use all of them… find what works for you!
Typically the last step in your routine to seal in moisture and other styling products is oil! To promote hair growth, try this Onion + Garlic Thickening Ayurvedic Herb Hair Oil, or the Mermaid Hair Oil. A wonderful lightweight option that can also be used on the body is the Natural Hair and Body Oil with sea salt, sunflower seed oil, and bergamot. Keep in mind with oils not to use too much! While oils are an amazing last step to seal in moisture, they need to be layered with other products like creams or leave-ins that add the moisture as well.
Okay, now your hair is looking amazing with sustainable hair care. Let’s look at some tools to help you maintain it! We love biodegradable hair ties and plastic free combs and brushes. Investing in high quality pillow cases will reduce breakage while you sleep as well. Here are some of our favorites!
Traditional hair types are made from non-renewable materials, and cannot be recycled… and aren’t biodegradable. Considering how easy it is to misplace hair ties, they can create a ton of waste! We recommend switching to biodegradable hair ties. Terra Ties has the classic black elastic style hair ties, and they’re biodegradable at the end of their life. KOOSHOO also offers biodegradable hair ties, but theirs are slightly thicker and are flat, making them great for reducing breakage. They also offer a bunch of scrunchies in fun colors – and these are our go-to for curly and natural hair to keep breakage at a minimum.
Brushes + Combs
When it comes to detangling, it’s more sustainable to go for options made from sustainably harvested wood handles as opposed to plastic. This Handcrafted Wooden Hair Brush has a classic shape great for detangling wet hair, while this Handcrafted Vegan Hair Brush is better for those with wavy hair as opposed to true curls. This Handcrafted Wooden Comb helps with separating hair for braids or other styles, and this Wooden Afro Comb is great for creating volume thanks to the wider bristles.
Pillowcases + Towels
So you’ve done your entire curly/natural hair routine. How do you extend the life of your wash day? The answer is high quality pillowcases and towels! Organic cotton, linen, bamboo, or natural silk pillowcases create less friction on the hair then polyester blend pillowcases, which reduces frizz and breakage on the hair. Similarly, bamboo or organic cotton towels will do the same! Our must have product is this Bamboo Waffle Hair Towel.
Now that you’ve learned about some of our favorites, check out all of our eco-friendly hair care here! There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to hair, and we recommend doing your own research into specific ingredients your hair may not vibe with, or products you know you need in your routine. Have any questions or recommendations? Let us know below!