I’m NOT zero waste

I’m NOT zero waste

My hair routine is NOT plastic free. Not in the slightest. Not yet, at least. In part this is because I’m still using up some plastic bottles that I’ve had for a while, but honestly also because sometimes I feel I can’t find the right product for my hair from a zero-waste or ethical company. Ya know?

That said, I want this blog post to be the “before picture” of my naturally natural journey. I know that there’s more I could be doing. I could be buying shampoo bars. I could be DIY-ing deep conditioner and leave-ins. I could be perfecting my flaxseed gel so I’m not tempted to buy gel in a plastic jar. And I want to do all these things! I have a lot of plans and ideas, so I’m hoping this blog gives me the motivation to do all those things and more.

I’m not endorsing any of the products on this list as things you should buy, I’m just showing you where I’m starting from. So now, without further ado, here’s what I’m currently using on my hair.

Wash Day

Photo of products in my shower including 2 shampoos, a conditioner bar, and a deep conditioner.
  1. Shampoo – Maui Moisture “Volcanic Ash”

    I’ve been using this same bottle of shampoo consistently for 14 months. I’m guessing other curlies have this issue too – I use so little shampoo, it takes forever to get through a bottle.

  2. Shampoo – ion “Repair Solutions Effective Care”

    Similarly, I’ve had this shampoo for YEARS. It’s a sulfate shampoo so I shunned it for a while, but with confidence inspired by YouTuber WillOnAWhim (who proudly uses sulfate shampoo) I’ve started using this again recently when my scalp needs some more intense cleaning.

  3. Conditioner – Lush “American Cream” pressed conditioner bar

    This is one of my ~Zero Waste Wins~ of this list and I keep it in a re-purposed jar! Since it’s almost too small to rub onto my hair, I’ll be trying to turn in into a liquid soon.

  4. Deep Conditioner – Aussie “3-Minute Miracle Moist”

    Admittedly, this is one of the worst offenders of this list because I bought it just a few weeks ago. In my defense, deep conditioners are hard to come by and this one works well and works quickly…


  1. Leave-in – Shea Moisture “Yucca & Plaintain Anti-Breakage Strengthening Masque”

    Yes, I use a masque as a leave-in. The thick texture is great for clumping my curls together in a wash-n-go or deeply moisturizing in corn rows. I’m basically out of this though and I’ve already replaced it with a more sustainable one.

  2. Leave-in – Melanin Haircare “Twist-Elongating Style Cream”

    Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon when Whitney (Naptural85 on Youtube) launched her haircare line. Like the Shea Moisture masque, I love how thick this cream is. Plus, I think supporting a black woman-owned small business is a great alternative when I can’t find an eco-friendly brand.

  3. Gel – Shea Moisture “Coconut Custard Make It Last Wash N’Go Defining Gel-Oil”

    Zero Waste Offender #2. This was also bought a few weeks ago AND it’s not even as good as my flaxseed gel in terms of hold. It does smell heavenly though.

  4. Gel – Homemade flaxseed gel

    Zero Waste Win #2, but technically it isn’t usually in my bathroom because it needs to be refrigerated. See my post about zero-waste gel for more info.


Tools I use to style my hair including a spray bottle, two repurposed dye bottles, srunchies and hair ties, and a plastic brush.
  1. Brush – Plugged In Tangle Tamer Max

    This is just a knock-off Tangle Teezer from Sally’s. I do own a wooden brush, but I’ve always been intimidated by it. I’m planning on doing a comparison between these in a different post, so I’ll explain more about the brushes then!

  2. Hair ties – drug store hair ties + assorted scrunchies

    Again, not an ethical or sustainable choice, but I try to take good care of them and keep track of the thicker ones that work well for my hair. I’ve thought about trying Kooshoo’s organic cotton hair ties, but haven’t needed to buy new ones recently.

  3. Shower cap – drug store cap

    Same deal as above. Just tring to use these as long as possible because I really don’t know what another solution is here. Although I have started getting plastic shopping bags at the grocery store so there’s that. (Thanks, coronavirus 🙄)

  4. Bottles – Assorted plastic bottles

    To round out the list, I do use a few plastic bottles – one for shampoo, one for gel, one for water. It bugs me that they’re not ~zero-waste aesthetic~ and they don’t really match the aesthetic of my bathroom, but better to reuse than to buy something new!

Let me know what you think!

Do you have a zero waste or sustainable swap for any of these products and tools? How long does it take you to get through a bottle of shampoo? 😂

Comment below or on Instagram to let me know!

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