Today I want to share with you my plastic-free, zero waste haircare routine and how I use solid shampoo and conditioner bars to achieve amazing results.
Soap bars vs shampoo bars
First of all, let's start off by understanding why all shampoo bars are not created equal and what makes some of them work and some not.
Soap bars naturally have a high Ph, while our hair naturally has a low PH and tends to like more acidic things. That's what makes soap bars not suitable for haircare.
Shampoo bars instead should be formulated using mild, naturally derived detergents which we call "surfactants".
Ok, back into my haircare routine. I have a lot of wavy, medium thick hair which tends to be quite manageable – no matter what style I put it in, it will often stay. My main issue is that there is a lot of it, so it’s sometimes hard to manage without looking like a lion – and I also tend to have a dry, flaky scalp.
What shampoo I am using right now?
After many, many months of formulating, I have come up with the most amazing shampoo bars and have found my peace with the Nordic tree shampoo bar. It has a mix of hemp seed oil, nettle leaf, rosemary and tea tree, all of which are perfect for soothing itchy, flaky scalps that are prone to dandruff.
Zero Waste Haircare Routine
Whenever I feel to, probably once every 2-3 weeks, I like to give myself a scalp massage using oil. I do this when I feel my scalp is quite dry and itchy, which for me, seems to occur quite randomly - it could be the water temperature I use or if sometimes when I am having a stressful week. I guess my scalp just gets upset easily.
I love using hemp seed oil. It is a very dry oil so it does not clog pores. Thanks to its amazing fatty acids, it is often used to treat issues like dermatitis and eczema. You have to try it for yourself, but for me it really works. I like to alternate it with black cumin oil, which is also a great anti-inflammatory oil, and jojoba oil which regulates the scalp's oil production.
Next, if I feel my hair ends are quite dry, I like to apply a little bit of tomato seed oil. Tomato seed oil is a by-product of the food industry which otherwise would go to waste. It is rich in antioxidants, which are important for healthy and shiny hair. It has a bit of a strong smell but it is very light in colour and, although not as dry as hemp seed oil, it is quite dry and does not make your hair too greasy. I. find it's so awesome that all of my solid conditioner bars include it!
I then brush my hair to distribute the oils, tie my hair in a braid and let the oil soak in for a few hours or even overnight if I am planning to have a morning shower.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how to use a shampoo bar, and a conditioner so let walk you through my process.
Step 1: Activate the lather
First, rub the shampoo bar in between your hands under the water, just like a normal soap bar. This will activate the lather.
Step 2: Massage your head in circular movements with the shampoo bar
Next, gently rub the shampoo on your head with circular movements as if you are massaging your head. Start from the crown and then go to the sides. The lather will come down to the hair ends and clean them naturally without having to add extra lather there. Tuck your chin closer to your chest to apply the shampoo on the back of the head and in harder to reach areas.
Wet the shampoo bar again if you need more lather.
Step 3: Rinse well
Simply rinse your hair as normal.
Also rinse your shampoo bar and place it in a dry area like on a soap dish or a metal rack.
Before hopping out of the shower I normally also apply a solid conditioner.
I use my solid conditioner for dry hair which, I absolutely love, it's got Moringa, Lavender and Sweet Orange.
To apply it, gently rub the conditioner to your hair ends and this will release the conditioner into a soft cream. As with any conditioner, it won't lather but instead the cream will coat and hydrate your hair ends. As you need just a little, a block of conditioner will usually last a super long time. A 50g bar can easily last me up a couple of months.
When I apply it I normally leave it on while I am cleaning my body with a bar of soap, that I also made, to let the conditioner get into the hair. Once I am done with the body wash, I rinse as normal.
Drying hair time
The last part of my haircare routine is the hair drying part. Because I have thick wavy hair, it tends to absorb lots of water, so I tuck it into a towel which will absorb that excess water. I then release it from the towel and simply blow dry. I like to use a ceramic activated hair dryer, making sure I don't keep it too close to the hair.
I dry it until humid and then sometimes I also apply my beloved tomato seed oil. I love it so much because you need just a tiny amount, just a couple of drops really, and it doesn't make your hair oily at all.
Styling hair time
Because my hair tends to be quite frizzy and the water in London is terribly hard, I do a little bit of styling. I love using my rolling hair brush as it gently styles my hair and is so much better than using a hair straightener, which literally burns your hair.
And now it's time to enjoy the results - bouncy and shiny hair. I used to wash my hair every day but with this routine, I now wash it every 3 days, which is great!