What is zero waste ?

Definitions vary, but in general, zero waste doesn’t really mean “zero.” It goes beyond what we send to landfill, including recycling, energy, water, and food waste. Typically, zero waste is an industrial term for a consumer movement encouraging manufacturers to eliminate single use items and non-biodegradable materials. The aim is to push towards a circular economy and increase demand for package-free products or reclaimable packaging. People blog and post about it to heighten awareness about unsustainable consumption and affect change.

– Ariana, Paris To Go.

zeroWaste hair routine

Shampoo bar : Moisturizing Formula Bar Shampoo by J.R. Liggett

Wet the bar. Work up some lather on the palm of your hands. Transfer the lather to the scalp and massage. Wash it out.

There was no learning curve/transition period with switching to a bar shampoo. My hair was doing alright from day one.

I am keeping track of number of washes I get from one bar. Will report back with a cost analysis.

This has been an easy switch. I was using klorane shampoo which was a good natural shampoo.

I tried no-poo method and failed each time. I couldn’t wait out the transition period. I intend to try it again in the future.

Finding a bar shampoo has been a relief. I put off trying zero waste for a long time because I was scared of giving up a shampoo. I even wrote the comment : “I can never be zero waste because I need my shampoo” on Ariana’s blog. It’s been a relief. One by one, the list is getting checked.

Hair oil : Dry Remedy by Aveda

Using an oil of some sort creates a barrier between the hair and environmental elements. It’s moisturizing. It’s nourishing. It tames the frizz. It adds some shine. I have been using this oil for 3 years now. A bottle lasts me for about 8 months. For the length of my hair, I use 3 drops and concentrate on the ends. It’s light weight and works for my fine hair. Anything heavier than this takes out all of it’s natural texture and makes it flat.

hair accessories

Scissors : Utopia Care.

Hair pin : Sylvain Le Hen.

Bun screws : Goody.

Hair cut :

I chose a hair style that requires no skill to upkeep. I trim my hair on my own.

( I try to save where I can so that I can afford the sustainable choices I make. )

Hair style :

I like the messy unkept look. Combing my hair makes it straight. So I don’t. Day 1 hair has curls and volume. Day 2 is straight hair with some bounce. Day 3 is oily hair which looks flat and limp. I try to not interfere and let it be.

Frequency of washes :

I can go 3-4 days without washing if I don’t do intense workouts. If I go for a run/bike/hike/camp/play a sport, I wash it more often. I wash my pillow case every week.

Bad hair days :

We go camping often and it has taught me to not sweat these little things. A hat hides it well. When in the civilization, I often put it up in a bun or braid it. My scalp shows the signs when it’s expecting a wash. I tell it “one more day dear” and make it wait a little.

Shower cap : Klorane

Fully recyclable and washable. Helps keep the frizz at bay. I sometimes wear the cap when I cook to prevent food odors from settling into my hair. I refuse to go out smelling of curry and it saves me from washing my hair after a cooking session. It looks silly but it really works !

Towel : 100% cotton, Made in India.

Flipping the damp hair upside down and putting it in a turban gives me some volume. I don’t use any heat styling tools. ( Once upon a time, I used to flat iron it. It fried my hair and ruined it. It took me years to grow it out. I have since embraced what comes naturally to me and quite like it. )

Notes :

I have a conventional shampoo and conditioner for my house guests. I do offer my products to try out if they are up for it. The shampoo bar seems to trigger what-about-ism but the the hair oil has been a huge hit.

My husband does a water only method that works great for him. He sometimes uses a shampoo after he plays outdoor sports to get the dirt out the hair.

I have a medical grade dandruff shampoo stored in my bathroom cabinet. I use it as a treatment if I ever need to. I don’t sweat about it in the name of zero waste.

I had massive hair loss in the last few years when I was in grad school. Stress, erratic sleep routine and bad eating habits were the culprits. I have been eating well in the last two years. I now live with Harsha and Cinco who are two very humorous beings – helps with stress. Life has improved since and my hair problems slowly abated. ( Not looking for medical advice. )

I don’t think I have the perfect hair to model for a shampoo bar. Mine is normal. This is what comes to me naturally and I am content.

What else does one need to keep their hair healthy ? I think I have it good without foregoing anything. This routine is sufficiently nourishing given my hair and body type. Some folks can get away with less and some folks need more tropical nourishment. (Apparently, elasticity and porousness of the strands matter. Classifications like fine and thick hair don’t often translate across the board. Scalp health matters. Genetics play a role. I do not have knowledge in these matters to give out generic advice. ) My solution is one of the many zero waste solutions out there.