Greener Hair Care

I have long hair. Really long, as in I can sit on the tips if I’m not careful. I’m also very aware of how much it can take to care for this kind of hair, and how damaging certain products can be, not just to my hair, but to the environment.

These are some tips I know work for me. They may not be for everyone, as different hair types will react differently. But the only way to find out is to experiment.

1. Wash hair less often.

I do not wash my hair every time I shower. I absolutely know that I can get away with washing it about twice a week. Possibly less, but my current routine allows me to wash my hair on mornings that I do not need to be rushing out the door to anything. That has pretty much kept me from trying to stretch it further.

With long hair, washing less often offers two advantages. The most obvious is that I use less water, as washing long hair takes time.

It’s also better for long hair, or at least mine, as the natural oils get stripped out less often.

2. Limit which parts of the hair get shampoo and conditioner.

I read about this a couple of years ago, and it really works for me. Shampoo is for the hair closest to the scalp, not the length of the hair. The length of the hair will be sufficiently cleaned as the shampoo rinses off the hair closer to the scalp.

On the other hand, the hair closer to the scalp has less need of conditioner. That is primarily for the length of the hair, which gets fewer of the natural oils produced in the scalp.

3. Use a boar bristle brush.

You may have read about how women used to brush their hair 100 strokes every day. Know what?

It works wonders if you do that with a boar bristle brush. I do have rather mixed feelings about them, as I’m not sure how the bristles are collected, but I must say they do a marvelous job.

I untangle my hair with a regular brush first. I’ve never had any luck detangling with boar bristle brushes. But once that’s done I go at it with the boar bristle. 100 strokes, all from scalp to the tips of the strands. I can feel the difference when I’m done.

The natural boar bristles collect the oils from near the scalp and spread it along the entire length of the hair. It’s amazingly good for it.

If you buy one, go for quality. No point to buying something you’d have to replace more often than necessary.

4. Jojoba oil or coconut oil for deep conditioning.

If I get too busy to use the boar bristle brush with any regularity, either jojoba oil or coconut oil can work wonders. They’re very light oils, so they won’t weigh hair down to heavily, at least for me.

Depending on my needs, I can apply it as soon as my hair is dry, or put in extra the night before or even just shortly before washing my hair to act as a deep conditioner.

It takes literally drops of jojoba oil. Coconut oil is often a solid, but it takes a very small amount. In either case, you warm it by rubbing it between your hands, then stroking your hands down the length of your hair. I do several strokes, the first ones just of the last few inches, then covering more of the length as I go.

5. Rare use of styling products.

I hardly ever use any hair styling products. Not even hair spray. I use the length of my hair, elastic bands and hair sticks to create a nice variety of hair styles, and for the most part I really don’t need to spray or smear  any chemicals in to keep it in place. This is no doubt a part of why I can get away with washing it less. Nothing added to make it sticky.

Except maybe sticky-fingered hugs from my kids, that is. But we won’t go there right now.

Things I’d like to try

I’m on a tight budget, so I haven’t tried all the green hair care solutions I’d like to. Some are cheap enough, but remembering to do them with 3 kids underfoot, one a young baby, isn’t easy. But in the near future I intend to try:

1. Baking soda and vinegar rinse.

I’ve heard a lot about this, and I really want to give it a try. Hair is washed with baking soda, then rinsed with vinegar. I see a lot of people specify apple cider vinegar, but I don’t know if that matters or if plain white vinegar is good enough. It’s something I just need to research a bit more.

2. Greener shampoos and conditioners.

Most of the ones I’ve seen cost a bit more than I’m willing to budget on shampoo and conditioner just now. I don’t buy the exceedingly cheap stuff now, but what I use is still rather typical stuff you can get at any Target that has been available for years and years. I’m not that loyal to a particular brand or anything either.

But I really want to start working through some of the brands I see listed as better on Skin Deep. Much better all the way around, potentially, for me and the environment. I like that.

What about you? Any products you particularly like? Anything you do with your routine to keep things greener.

5 replies on “Greener Hair Care”

  1. Harmony says:

    I recently started making my own shampoo (not baking soda) and a apple cider and essential oil rinse. I have used the same shampoo and conditioner for probably 8 year, and I like what I am using now just as much, with out the effect on the environment.
    I have very short hair and do use product. However as soon as my store bought is gone, I will be making that too.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Great idea. I know a lot of hair styles really do need product to keep neat.

  3. Monisha says:

    Hi I use a wood bristle brush.I love the way it feels on my scalp. I brush it very regularly I have short hair, trying to grow it back as I used to have amazingly long thick jet black hair when I was a kid. So long in fact t that my cousins used to get really jealous and it took me along while to have my hair combed and cared for. I never appreciated it until now when I look at my jet black hair, short and I know how men generally like women with long hair.

    I use coconut oil in my hair. and I have never had a split end since then. In fact the last time I trimmed my hair was in January or February and when I went to the hair dresser a few weeks ago to assess y hair, they were amazed to see that my hair is very strong, thick and most of all no thermal damage of any sort. This despite chemically straightening my hair in January this year. I use coconut oil for my hair every time I have to.

  4. Niki says:

    I have been looking at those shampoos as well but the good ones are near impossible to get here. I would have to order them and it would be expensive. hopefully they will come down in price soon

  5. Kate Stevens says:

    I used to have very long hair that I just adored but I cut it off because I would have to wash it everyday or every other day at the most because my hair would become too oily. I have short hair now and I miss my long hair everyday but reading your article on “green” shampoo was interesting. Thanks.

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