Saving the environment one hair wash at a time

woman shampooing hair

In the ongoing dialogue surrounding water consumption and saving
water, the length of your shower, how you water your yard and even
your toothbrush usage probably come up. But there is another
water-thirsty activity that should be added to the discussion —
hair washing. Think about it. Daily shampooing by billions of
people is destined to strain resources. So taking a moment to
consider the ways you can cut back on the suds, the water and the
money going down the drain can be the best way to help the
environment.

Frequency

Your hairdresser recommends washing your hair twice daily, often
followed by using a conditioner. Between the energy and water consumed,
that’s a big hair care footprint. In addition to shorter showers,
consider cutting back the frequency of your hair washing to every
other day or even a few times each week. Dry shampoo and leave-in
conditioner can help provide the look and feel you’re used to in
between washings. Specially formulated to omit the use of water
altogether, dry shampoo is a quick and easy way to get out the door
faster without wasting time and water in the shower. Leave-in
conditioner can keep the frizzies at bay with a expedited and
no-water-required application.

hairdresser washing women's hair

Hot water reduction

Heating water is a major household expense and we’re often
paying for a service we don’t need, such as washing clothes in
hot water that will be just as clean in a cold wash. When it comes
to hair washing, consider turning down the heat a bit in favor of
cost savings. Of course, slashing your time in the shower will not
only save on water-heating costs, but water consumption costs as
well. Even better than turning the shower down is turning it
off in between wetting your hair and rinsing out the shampoo. For
greater results, adopt a less rigid hair-washing schedule
altogether.


Related: Compensation for conservation: water markets are
economists’ answer to scarcity

Product consumption

While we’re on the conversation of conservation, give a
little thought to the amount of hair products you’re using as
well. Try cutting back on the amount you apply, since most people
use a much larger amount than they need. This not only helps
minimize the shampoo that heads down the drain, but offers cost
savings too.

Person taking a shower

Water conservation

If you’re already cutting back on shower time, think of other
ways you can conserve the water you use in your shower. After all,
you wouldn’t be the first person to collect your sudsy runoff in
a bucket as you bathe. As long as your hair products are earth
friendly, the water you collect can be used to water plants, wash animals or
irrigate the lawn.

Also look into low-flow shower heads that either restrict the
flow of water coming out or force air through the shower head so it
feels like you’re getting a full stream with only half the water
usage. While we’re on the topic of showers, they are almost
always a better choice for the planet than baths. An average
10-minute shower uses around 20-25 gallons while a bath averages
35-50 gallons.

Outside the home

While your morning ritual is likely the culprit for most of your
excess hair-washing water consumption, also implement a plan for
when you are away from home. Conserving water at the hotel or the
gym is still saving water, so keep it up when you’re out. Also,
start a dialogue with your hairdresser who’s likely had the
conversation before. Ask what he or she is doing to minimize water
consumption and resources (think about how many heads get washed
each day.) Yes, it might feel like you’re breaking some sort of
code to head to the stylist without washing first, but if they are
going to do it anyway, there’s no reason to wash twice.
Alternately, wash at home and ask them to wet with a spray bottle instead of a full
wash during your cut.

shampoo bottles

Types of hair products

More and more products are finding their way into the market
that aim to satisfy the growing consumer desire for no-water,
all-natural solutions to hair care. Remember that all those suds
head straight down the drain and into the local water system, so
choose non-toxic shampoos and conditioners that are biodegradable.
Do it for the fishies and for the purity of the water your family
drinks. While biodegradable products are better for the environment, remember
that they are also better for you. Your scalp is skin, after all,
and skin is the biggest organ in your body. With a high absorption
rate, your skin takes in all kinds of chemicals and toxins in daily
life. Don’t let your hair products be one of them.

In addition to the ingredient list, look at the packaging of
your shampoo and conditioner. Use an all-in-one product instead of
separate ones to automatically cut plastic waste in half. Better
yet, find a refillable option for serious waste-reduction
points.

There are a host of alternate products that can also aid in the
clean-hair goal both in and out of the shower. Many people find
success with natural products like apple cider vinegar, baking
soda, lemon juice and clay. Baby powder can also work as a dry
shampoo in a pinch.

Images via Shutterstock

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News 2
Saving the environment one hair wash at a time