Zero Waste Hair Care

Hollie Shirley / Hair & Skincare Editor

Transitioning to a zero-waste routine isn’t as difficult as some people think.

Transitioning to a zero-waste routine isn’t as difficult as some people think. It can be hard to let go of all those tried and trusted products that we hold close to our tresses over the years – trust me, as someone who has been colouring, straightening and blow-drying her hair for years, and has a specific routine that has meant my bald patches at the front of my head are starting to get some regrowth, the idea of giving up these products is a tough pill to swallow. However, we also know that 1000’s of plastic bottles end up in landfills every year and shampoo and conditioner bottles, because of the grade of plastic used, can be virtually non-recyclable in some areas. 

Your hair care routine doesn’t have to be wasteful (or elaborate) to be effective. While we know everyone’s hair is different, there are plenty of low waste options to choose from. Knowing your hair type and the ingredients that work for your specific hair type is the first part of this. read our blog on finding your hair type here (we will wait for you to come back).

Shampoo and Conditioner

Let’s start with the basics. Depending on the quality of your shampoo and conditioner, how often you wash your hair and how much you use, you can go through anything from 24 bottles to 6 bottles a year. The most obvious choice is to switch to shampoo and conditioner bars, which eliminate plastics completely. There are a number of options to choose from, and these days companies are expanding their range to ensure all hair types are covered. These work like a traditional soap bar, you wet your hair and then either lather them directly onto your scalp or you can build up a lather in your hands and then massage this into your head. If you aren’t keen on these, there are companies who also use aluminium-based containers and when you’re done, you can ship your empty bottles back to them to be refilled.


Serums, oils and Masks

If your hair is like mine and needs a little extra moisture and TLC, serums are the greatest way to do this. While you can go out and buy these, they are incredibly easy to make at home, and by doing this you will cut out all the unnecessary filler ingredients. 

But before you make your own, get to know your hair first. A serum’s effectiveness will depend on what oils your hair loves and needs. 

Here are some oils I recommend experimenting with:

  • Argan oil
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Sweet almond oil

Just add a few drops to your wet hair right after a shower and leave it in while your hair dries. 

For masks, you can again make these at home yourself. The most popular ingredients to use are shea butter, raw coconut oil, aloe vera gel, honey, avocado, yoghurt and essential oils.

Dry Shampoo

The lazy girl’s hair staple, dry shampoo is a godsend for those days when you’re in between washes and need to liven up your hair (aka make it look less greasy). It’s also great if you are trying to cut down your water consumption and go longer between washes. 

Making your own dry shampoo is pretty easy. 

Homemade Dry Shampoo


  • 2 tbsp Organic Cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder


  • Mix both ingredients together so that they are fully mixed.
  • Apply to the roots of your hair with an old spice jar or use a powder brush. 
  • Let the powder sit for about 5 minutes then massage into your scalp.
  • Brush through with a comb and you’re all set to skip washing for another day!

Recipe Notes:

  • For blonde hair, omit the cocoa powder.
  • For auburn to red hair, try using cinnamon or paprika instead of cocoa powder or mix the two to find your perfect shade. 
  • For darker brown to black hair, use more cocoa powder.

If you don’t have time to make your own, here are some great zero-waste options to buy:

  • La Tierra Sagrada 
  • Captain Blankenship
  • Organics Dry Shampoo
Styling Products

DIY hair spray, salt spray and hair gel recipes are all over the internet and use at the most three ingredients. However if like me you have zero time to make your own hair styling products, there are some brilliant options available that come in fully recyclable glass containers, including aerosol free hair sprays, texturising sprays and gels. 


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Hair ties and brushes

Love putting your hair into ponytails, buns, or braids? You don’t have to give up hair ties. There are eco-friendly hair ties available. Kooshoo, pop bands, Tabitha eve and plenty of Etsy sellers make organic cotton hair ties that are naturally dyed and are fully compostable at the end of their life.

For brushes and combs, there are a number of bamboo options available, which, thanks to its super-fast growth rate are the most sustainable on the market. 

Moving to a zero waste routine can be a it daunting. Replacing one thing at a time can be an easier way to transition, and before you know it, it will start to feel likesecond nature! Here’s a comprehensive list of more ways to incorporate zero waste cleaning into your home to give you some more inspiration.

Hollie Shirley
Hair & Skincare Editor

Hollie Shirley is SILKUP’s hair and skincare editor. She’s obsessed with all things hair care and results-driven skincare, that is kind to the environment and your wallet. She has a weakness for limited edition eyeshadows and is always testing out the newest and greatest deep conditioners. Hollie has a passion for hair and is studying Trichology, working towards becoming a Member of the Association of Registered Trichologists.