zero waste hair care routine ultimate plastic free guide

A big transition for many people and a huge swap for many people, is changing up their hair care routine. Bottles of shampoos and conditioners, and other lotions and potions seem to clog up our bathroom shelves and we’re so used to this just being the norm.

Swapping to the ‘no poo’ method or a shampoo bar is a simple swap to make though, when you know what to expect. So, let’s discuss the methods and what to do.

Shampoo Bars

Many people on their plastic free or zero waste journey, start with shampoo bars before trying anything else. Find a shampoo bar that suits your hair type, such as high oil content for dry hair, and herbal for clarifying effects etc.

  • Wet the shampoo bar, as you would a soap bar
  • Lather your hands up with the bar
  • Use the lather to rub all over your scalp and mid lengths, do not rub the bar on your scalp or hair as this will cause too much build up, to help redistribute the shampoo you can comb this through your hair
  • Rinse well
  • Follow with an ACV rinse if needed (instructions further below in this post)

Due to high oil contents in many shampoo bars to especially nourish your hair and scalp, you shouldn’t need a conditioner bar, but some people feel more comfortable with using one too.

shampoo bar ethical sls free paraben free plastic free

If you feel like you might need some conditioning though, I’d highly recommend trying an ACV rinse afterwards (see below for solution).

A transition phase is completely normal when using shampoo bars, as many don’t contains the silicones and sulphates that coat your hair with commercial shampoos. Many experience feeling like they have sticky hair, or dull looking. It normally takes a few weeks for your hair to feel like the new normal without all the synthetics treating your hair.

To combat this transition phase, check out the ‘no poo method with zazz’ below, many of our customers and community have found this has resolved all their issues with the transition phase and their hair has never felt better.

The ‘No Poo’ Method

You could go for the full on ‘no poo’ method and just stop using shampoos, soaps etc altogether. The ‘no poo’ method works mainly for those with curly hair, but also successfully for others, who have the patience and perseverance to power through the transitioning. Weaning your hair and scalp as such is the best way to start.

zero waste hair care routine no poo method
rinsing and massaging your hair each time will help rebalance your scalp oils along with combing regularly. Use a bicarbonate of soda rinse (as below) to clarify every so often

According to many hairdressers anyway, you should only be washing your hair once or twice a week maximum. Any more than this amount can cause an overproduction of oils, as you’re constantly stripping your hair and scalp of it’s natural oils and skin protectors, therefore causing more harm than good. Start reducing the number of times you wash your hair and stretch it out longer and longer between each wash.

Many who don’t use any method apart from just water, have went through the transitioning periods and now would never look back mentioning it’s very freeing.

No Poo method with zazz

Those who follow the no poo method also use the following way of cleaning their scalp and hair when water isn’t cutting it anymore. This is especially effective if you are prone to oily hair and/or have shampoo bar build up.

bicarbonate of soda rinse for zero waste no poo method cleaning hair
  • Put a tablespoon (2 tablespoons of you’ve got long hair) of bicarbonate of soda into a pint (2 pints for long hair) jug/glass (in my case a jar) of warm water⠀
  • Mix until it’s dissolved⠀
  • Before you shampoo (if you’re using this alongside a shampoo bar) after wetting your hair – pour this mixture over your hair gradually and massage into your scalp and through your hair after every pour.
  • If you have dry ends, avoid rubbing into the lengths and focus only on the areas where you feel most build up.
  • Rinse off and wash out the mixture until you feel your hair is squeaky clean – be sure not to get any in your eyes as it can hurt, it also tastes pretty weird in my opinion⠀
  • Your hair will feel squeaky and dry but this is your hair all clarified! (You can use a shampoo bar at this stage if you’d like)⠀
  • After you’ve fully rinsed out, use an ACV rinse (as below) then comb through to the ends. This conditions your hair and dissolves any leftover bicarbonate of soda you’ve missed⠀
  • Result? The softest, flounciest, cleanest hair and scalp.
  • Repeat monthly or every two months to prevent shampoo build up⠀

Your scalp produces natural oil and so there may be no need for conditioning, especially if you’re prone to a very oily scalp.

However, bicarbonate of soda can leave your hair very dry and give your scalp a scaly look, we’d recommend washing your hair like this as little as possible. Also conditioning comes into play here, like using an ACV rinse, see below.

If you are using this method alongside a shampoo bar, repeat on a monthly to help prevent build up.

Apple Cider Vinegar rinse / ACV rinse

Apple cider vinegar is a great way to condition your hair to leave it feeling soft, moisturised and shiny.

An ACV rinse, is apple cider vinegar mixed with water into a solution. Many people opt for 50/50 mix, some 40/60, some even use just straight apple cider vinegar.

Pour/make this solution in a clean spray bottle (you can usually find spray bottles in hairdressing salon shop outlets or gardening aisles) and spray liberally over your hair, comb to the ends and leave for a few minutes before rinsing off.

To feel the full benefits (and be even more environmentally friendly) air dry your hair and avoid using heat stylers.

Don’t worry about smelling like vinegar afterwards, as soon as your hair is dry you won’t smell it at all.

Extra nourishment and conditioning for your hair

It’s very easy to believe the adverts saying we need miracle hair masks and that we need the gazillion serums, lotions and whatnots to make our hair its best. We really don’t, if you choose the no poo method of just water, you’ll probably find you’ll not need this at all.

If you choose other methods of cleaning your hair as previously mentioned, your hair and scalp may feel like it needs an extra boost of nourishment and vitamins.

Many people take supplements to boost their skin, hair and nails mainly found through Biotin and Vitamin E, but you can also find nourishment as well as lusty softness through oiling.

Adding oil hair? A joke right? Nope. The same way you can oil cleanse your skin to rebalance and clean, is the same way you can nourish and care for your hair and scalp.

Oils like coconut oil, olive oil, argan oil or the likes of bliss beauty oil which contains various oils mixed for the perfect balance.

zero waste moisturiser beauty oil for face and hair society zero glasgow

Treat your scalp and hair to an indulgent oiling of a few drops at night time. Wrap your hair in a towel, go to sleep, wake up and then wash your hair as normal (it may take two shampoos to completely wash the home oil mask out). It’s a wonderful way to nourish and soften your hair, particularly good for curly and dry hair.

Side note about refilling liquid shampoo

The reason I haven’t mentioned refill shampoos is because although some people prefer to refill shampoo from bulk/refill shops, not everyone has this access. Whereas bicarbonate of soda, apple cider vinegar and shampoo bars can be commonly found. Also, normally it’s from an even larger shampoo bottle with a pump that many of the big suppliers/producers refuse to take back at the moment.

A larger bottle means less plastic used overall, but we prefer a circular economy model wherever possible. We are in talks though with smaller independent producers about implementing refill return schemes for when we sell refills.

I hope this guide has been useful for you to reduce the waste in your bathroom and getting over the tricky hair care situation when it comes to transitioning. If you have any questions, please send us a message on our social media accounts or via email

Zero Waste shop in Glasgow

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