PLASTIC FREE JANUARY – TIP #12
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“They say once you become aware, you cannot simply become unaware.”
This quote regarding awareness most definitely rings true when when we think about the issues surrounding single use plastic.
One particular single use plastic item found in ninety-nine per cent of households across the globe, is a bottle of shampoo and conditioner. Packaged in a plastic container, and more often than not, discarded with regular garbage, makes plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles yet another contributor to the single use plastic pollution problem we have today.
When first beginning a plastic free journey, and discovering our liquid product such as shampoo— a product we’ve been relying on for years—is now a no-go zone, we begin to scratch our heads asking, “now what do I do?”
Plastic Free Hair Care Solutions
Fortunately there are several alternatives for a plastic free hair care routine. The no-poo method, a known DIY option, involves using baking soda to wash the hair followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse. While this technique works for some, many are not interested in such an extreme switch to their haircare routine, preferring the convenience of bottled shampoo and conditioner. Thus, the plastic pollution problem persists.
Another more popular, practical solution is to use a shampoo bar, packaged plastic free in a cardboard box.
Washing the hair with a bar of shampoo is nothing new. In the 1500s English hair stylists added shaved soap and herbs to boiling water to make a shampoo like formula. They used this liquid “shampoo” to add shine and fragrance to their clients hair.
Like most methods of going plastic free today, we can borrow from the past, apply our modern techniques, and create a product that’s not only convenient but environmentally friendly as well.
The Australian Natural Soap Company uses soap making techniques from the past, incorporating natural ingredients with healing properties, to create specially formulated soaps for: Dry Hair, Oily Hair and Sensitive Scalps.
Shampoo Bars are not only great for the environment, they’re great for your hair and scalp too. By using a natural shampoo bar you can be confident that what you’re putting on your scalp, skin and body, and what’s going down the drain, is chemical free!
Using a Natural Shampoo Bar
A shampoo bar may indeed be a bar of soap, however shampoo bars are formulated for use on your hair, leaving your hair just as soft and shiny as liquid shampoo and conditioner liquid would.
Switching your hair care routine from using a liquid shampoo and conditioner to a shampoo bar may seem a little foreign for the first wash or two.
The key to a using a soap bar is to create a great lather! Prior to applying the shampoo, rinse your hair under warm water. Rub the shampoo bar in your hands until a amount of foam is built up. Gently massage the soapy lather into your hair. The next important step—throughly rinse all the soap out of your hair.
Following up with a conditioner is not usually required, however you may want to transition to not using a conditioner over time. Of hair that’s a little dry on the ends, add a small amount of conditioner to the end of the hair and rinse. After you’ve used a shampoo bar for sometime this process will no longer be needed.
For men with facial hair, a shampoo bar can be used as the perfect two-in-one. Shampoo Bars are great for beards, keeping them soft and clean!
Go nuts with natural solutions
If the thought of a bar shampoo is not inspiring, then perhaps making your own plastic free liquid shampoo is more your style.
One way to make your own liquid shampoo is to use a well tried method used in the past by Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
EORTH has previously discussed the use of soap nuts for cleaning laundry, however the very versatile soap nut shells are also a great zero waste, natural hair care product. Boiling soap nuts in water creates a soft foamy liquid, which can be used on your hair, leaving it soft and shiny.
The soap nut liquid shampoo can be poured into ice cube trays, frozen and taken out individually when required. Alternatively, the liquid nut shampoo can be stored in a reusable container (an old shampoo bottle works well).
Making your own Soap Nut Shampoo
Bring three cups of water to a boil. Add five or six soap nuts to a small muslin bag (this is typically supplied with your purchase of a bag of soap nuts). Optionally you can also add some dried flowers such as lavender or add some essential oils for a scented shampoo.
When the water is boiling, add your muslin bag into the pot of water and reduce the heat to low. Allow the soap nuts to simmer in the water for up to 20 minutes.
Remove the pot of water from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Once the water is cool remove the muslin bag and squeeze out the bag to further remove suds from the nuts.
When you’re ready to use your nut shampoo, simply massage a small amount of the liquid soap into your hair. Allow the formula to penetrate into your hair and gently massage your hair and scalp for a few minutes. Rinse your hair well.
No matter what choice you make—whether it be the no-poo technique, a shampoo bar or a homemade Soap Nut shampoo, you can be confident that what you’re putting on your hair and what’s going down the drain, is chemical free and equally important plastic free!
Happy Hair Care and Happy Plastic Free January.