Plastic-Free Hair Care: The Saga Continues

January 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Life Less Plastic


It’s been two and a half years since I went “less-plastic,” and I still can’t figure out how to wash my hair. It really annoys me.

Because I know you’re incredibly interested, here’s a timeline that explains a bit of what I’ve been going through.

Really Important Hair Care Timeline

  • After three months of being no ‘poo, it was suddenly not alright. I got horrible dandruff and had to start using Head and Shoulders so that my flaky scalp didn’t take over my life and turn me into a social recluse.
  • My dandruff disappeared.
  • After my bottle of Head and Shoulders was gone, I washed my hair with some seriously yummy-smelling mango bar soap from Abbey Brown, an artisan soap maker based in Chicago. It worked okay, but it left my hair feeling flat.
  • Then, the dreaded dandruff returned.
  • I started using Head and Shoulders, and the dandruff went away. But then Head and Shoulders started GIVING me dandruff! “How is this possible?,” I wanted to know.
  • I bought a bottle of Pantene out of desperation (please don’t judge me!).
  • My dandruff disappeared, again.

I’m finishing off this bottle of Pantene right now and my hair is dandruff-free, feels fantastic, and looks pretty good (I think). Alas, everything has a price. On top of coming in a plastic bottle, the shampoo I’m using is listed as a “moderate hazard” on the Skin Deep Database.

For me, this means that using Pantene isn’t a viable long-term solution to my hair care problem, so I’ve started looking for new options through the internetz and on Etsy.com, a fantastic online marketplace dedicated to handmade products.

Here’s what I’ve tried so far.

Conditioner Bar by Nourish Bath and Body
I used a Rosemary Mint Solid Conditioner Bar made by Nourish Bath and Body, which I actually received free from the producer. The conditioner left my hair smelling really nice and feeling good. It didn’t provide that deep condition that commercial conditioners give you, but it came close. All in all, I’d give this bar a grade of “B.” I would have given the product an “A”, but it does have a few ingredients listed in the Skin Deep database as moderate hazards. Note: the bar comes in a vellum wrapper that’s made of 10% plastic. Christine said she would be glad to send soap without the wrapper. You just have to mention that you don’t want the wrapper in the purchase notes.

Syndet Shampoo Bar from Arcadia Aromatics
I’ve also tried the Syndet Coconut Solid Shampoo Bar from Arcadia Aromatics, which I purchased on Etsy. This product works exactly like regular shampoo and smells absolutely fanstastic. If you’re a coconut person like me, you’ll love it. That said, I’m giving this shampoo a “B” because it also has ingredients listed as moderate hazards in the Skin Deep database. Note: I didn’t ask the seller about the packaging before I purchased this (you know what they say about assuming), and I was unhappy to discover that it comes in a plastic container. I haven’t checked with the seller yet, but I’m hoping they’d be willing to send the soap sans the plastic. I’ll provide an update once I know.

The Saga Continues
And that’s where I am now—I’m using up my Pantene and using my new shampoo and conditioners bars. The stuff I have now should last me a long time, but I’ll be sure to try new products and provide more reviews once I run out. As probably the only person ever featured in Time Magazine because of their hunt for a perfect shampoo, I guess it’s kind of my duty.

Heck, maybe at the end of all my these trials, I’ll actually figure out how to wash my hair. It’s doubtful, but I’ll never, never stop hoping.

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