Transitioning to a Low-Waste Hair Care Routine
Author: Sarah Brown
Scared to give shampoo bars a try? Bare Market blogger Sarah tell us more about her experience making the switch, and why she’ll never go back!
I like to think I’ve always been a low-maintenance hair routine kinda gal (don’t we all). Cue flashback montage of me spending my teens and twenties in hair salons, bleaching my waist-length hair, using countless products and heat-styling the f*ck out of it.
I just don’t have the time and can’t be bothered with the effort involved in hair maintenance (full disclosure: I am a white woman with unfussy straight hair, so I am lucky enough to not need to put in much work).
Recently I transitioned to a low-waste hair care routine. I had already committed to buying groceries at farmers’ markets and bulk stores, using natural beauty products and not buying fast fashion. I have my stainless-steel containers, bamboo toothbrush and vintage clothing shopping routine on lock down.
So, the next piece of the puzzle was my hair care routine. Despite the aesthetically pleasing nature of a shampoo bar, I wasn’t ready to let go of my synthetically-formulated, plastic-encased shampoo and conditioner. How could a bar of soap clean my hair in the same way?
After an afternoon of obsessive Insta scrolling I decided to commit. The plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles in my bathroom were cramping my zero-waste feng-shui. Why not try washing my hair with soap? What is shampoo if not a nice-smelling, liquid-y and sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) laden bottle of hair soap?!
I took the plunge and picked up a Skipping Stone shampoo bar from the lovely humans at Bare Market. It smelled heavenly. The bars are handmade in Toronto and the ingredients are top-notch, mostly organic oils with some activated charcoal thrown in for good measure. I also picked up some bulk Oneka conditioner in a reusable aluminum bottle as insurance (Bare Market stocks liquid shampoo and conditioner in bulk too!). I headed home, excited to wash my hair and—dare I say it—save the earth. No more plastic bottles or needless chemicals, hurrah!
Soap and Salad Dressing Hair, Don't Care!
Did it initially feel strange to wash my hair with a bar of soap? Yes. Was I pleasantly surprised at how easily the shampoo bar lathered and left my hair feeling clean? Also yes. I became a convert after the very first wash!
I even went the whole hog and decided to ditch the conditioner. Instead, I use diluted apple cider vinegar (acv) as a rinse after shampooing. I read online that this would work a treat, and it did!
I literally use soap and salad dressing ingredients to wash my hair and not only has it not fallen out, it is clean, shiny and soft. Despite my initial worries, the acv doesn’t leave me smelling sour and the soap doesn’t dry out my hair.
My new routine is super simple and for me, the results are the same as those I got from using conventional shampoo and conditioner. Even more excitingly, in a pinch I can use my shampoo bar as a face and body wash.
Switching to a low-waste hair care routine has been liberating. I’ve been on it for four weeks and can’t see myself going back. Not only am I doing my bit to avoid plastic packaging, I’m also not putting a whole bunch of chemicals (think detergent, SLS, parabens) down the drain.
Yeah, it basically goes against everything you’ve been taught about beauty, but you don’t need 20 different products to clean your hair! You can buy things in bulk that work just as well and cost you (and the environment) less in the long term.
I’m feeling pretty smug about these changes and you could be too! Take the leap and give bulk hair care products a try; you won’t be disappointed.
About the Author: Originally from sunny Australia, Sarah came to Toronto to experience a Canadian winter (really!). She found Bare Market via Instagram and was instantly drawn to get involved. She loves farmers’ markets, sustainable fashion, all things package-free and is way too excited about Toronto's compost bins!