My Mostly Zero Waste Curly Hair Routine
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
Earlier this week I posted on Facebook about a line of refillable hair products I recently discovered from A Simple Planet (they used to be called Simply Curls Co. but they recently expanded to have lines for more than just curly hair!)
Since then, quite a few people have reached out to me to ask me about my curly hair routine - so, I thought I'd take a break from writing about photo sessions, and share a little bit about my curly hair routine and tips and tricks for living with curly hair!
First off, let me say a few things about my curly hair.
It took me a LONG TIME to be comfortable and embrace my curly hair. Before I knew what I was doing, it was constantly frizzy, and I hated it! In high school I would do everything from straighten it with a flat iron, to even drying my ponytail in a sock to try and make it dry straight (weird, I know)! So, if you are new to embracing your curls, know it will take a bit of time, and trial and error, but it's worth it!!
Ok, so now to get in to how I have come to tame, and love my curls....
I'll start off with a list of the products I use, and then I'll dive in to my weekly routine!
Shampoo: I don't use shampoo very often since I follow the Curly Girl Method (see below) but when I do, I either use DevaCurl Low Poo, or I recently started using A Simple Planet Clean Shampoo. I find the A Simple Planet Shampoo to clean my hair a little too much, so when I do use it I first mix it together with my conditioner
Conditioner: I Love, love, love A Simple Planet Clean Conditioner. If you can only get one product, get this! It works great as a conditioner, but also as a co-wash (see below) and as a leave-in for styling.
Deep Condition: A Simple Planet Protein Elixir I only do this once a month, or really less, if life is crazy because it takes longer than a normal wash - and let's face it with two little kids sometimes I don't even have time to shower. It's a nice to have, but not necessary.
Gel: My usual go to is A Simple Planet Defined Gel, but on days when my hair feels really dry I will sometimes use A Simple Planet Flax Seed Gel. Both gels have the stronger hold I need with my frizz prone hair, but leave my curls bouncy without being crusty. The main difference I have found so far is that the Flax Seed Gel can be a bit more on the oily side. Which sometimes is good, sometimes is not. So I take it on a day by day basis.
Hair Spray: Bumble and Bumble Spray de Mode This is where I divert from zero waste, I haven't been able to find a strong enough hold zero waste solution. If you have any recommendations for something that is zero waste that's worked for you, please let me know!!
No Wash Day Spray: I mostly use a spray bottle with water and few drops of lavender oil in it to wet my hair and I add a bit of A Simple Planet Refresh Curl Revitalizer after.
What I specifically love about A Simple Planet.
They are Zero Waste: Metal bottles, refillable pouches and pre-paid postage back make being sustainable easy! She even repurposes boxes and packaging to cut down on the shipping impact.
They are plant based! No harmful chemicals
It's a woman owned small business! As a small business owner myself, I LOVE when I can support other small businesses.
They make my hair look great!
(PS I am not being paid by them to rave about them :) I just stumbled upon them in my zero waste searches and I love them so much I just can't help but share with the world!)
Before I found A Simple Planet I tried a bunch of curly hair lines. Bumble and Bumble Curl line (minus their hairspray) left my hair to heavy, so it wouldn't curl. DevaCurl somehow made my hair both dry and greasy, so it looked greasy at the roots, but would frizz throughout the rest of my hair. Alterna left too much buildup. After all this trial and error, along with wanting something refillable I was so happy to find that A Simple Planet existed, AND worked for my hair!!
Ok, so now on to my routine.....
I mostly follow The Curly Girl Method, and I use a low to "no poo" routine. For those who aren't familiar with low to "no poo" routine, it means I rarely use shampoo. I typically cleanse or shampoo every 10 days or so. The rest of the time I use conditioner to wash my hair... more on that below.
Wash - Every 3 days or so, (in between washes I sprits with lavender water add a bit of gel and spray with hairspray)
Shampoo: Every 10 days or so
Deep Condition: Once a month, or as I am able
Typical Wash Day Routine:
I wet my hair in the shower and as the water is running through it I use my fingers to loosely begin to detangle my hair
My typical wash day is a no shampoo day, so I will use A Simple Planet Clean Conditioner I rub the conditioner in my hands and then throughout my hair. I then use my fingers and my wide toothed comb to gently detangle my hair.
Once my hair is detangled, I then get a little more conditioner and massage it in to my scalp. This is my co-wash (Short in curly girl language for conditioner-wash) I am essentially using the conditioner to loosen dirt and build up from my hair and scalp.
Next I rinse, while continue to massage my scalp to remove any build up.
Next up is another round of conditioner! I once again use A Simple Planet Simply Conditioner. This time I start at the bottom and scrunch upwards, so that the majority of the conditioner is near the ends of my hair, but a little gets up near where those pesky frizz fly aways end up
After I've worked the conditioner through my hair I loosely pile it up on my head, and clip it up so I can let it soak in for a few minutes.
Once I've let it soak in, I rinse it out. Then, while I am still in the shower, I lean upside-down and drape my hair over my head and scrunch out the water.
After I get out of the shower, I grab a microfiber towel and scrunch up my hair again to get out the excess water.
Shampoo Wash Day Routine - only once every 10 days or so
Just as above, but first I shampoo :)
Deep Condition Routine: Approx. Once a month
I try to do a deep conditioner on a monthly basis, but that takes more time, so it happens when it happens
Since the deep conditioner has to be left in for 30 minutes or so, I do a bit of a different routine - I start my routine in the sink :)
I will shampoo my hair as above - but in the sink :)
Next I spritz A Simple Planet Protein Elixir in to a handful of my conditioner. I work it in to my hair starting at the roots and scrunch it as a I move up.
I roll it on to the top of my head, secure it with a claw clip and put a shower cap on
Next I just walk around the house, business as usual for thirty minutes while I let the deep conditioner soak in. It definitely confused my now 8 month old the first few times I did it, but now he totally recognizes me
Once the 30 minutes is up, I hop in the shower and do my "Typical Wash Day Routine" above
After Shower & Style Routine:
After I've gotten out of the shower and scrunched up my hair, I move on to gel and style.
First I add a bit of A Simple Planet Simply Conditioner again, this time as a leave in conditioner. I start at the ends and scrunch upward.
After that, I use gel. I mostly like A Simple Planet Defined Gel, but on days when my hair feels really dry I will sometimes use A Simple Planet Flax Seed Gel. I take it on a day by day basis. - remember I said the curly hair journey is a bit of trail and error :)
Next I style. Now I take chunks of my hair and twist each individual curl in the place. At this point, my hair is still damp, and a bit slick from the gel. I mostly go with the flow on how my curls naturally split on their own, and then twist holding the bottom of the hair, twisting all the way up to the scalp. I do every other piece in an opposite twist directions to give my hair more definition.
Once I've finished twisting each chunk of hair, I once again scrunch up with a microfiber towel.
99% of the time I now move directly to hairspray, and I'm done - I just let my hair air dry!
On the occasion where I am leaving right away and it's not socially acceptable to have wet hair :) I will use a defuser. If I dry my hair, I continue to shape the curls as I dry, and scrunch them. But I try to not touch them much, and just let them be.
Day-Old Hair/No Wash Days
On days I don't wash my hair at all (I usually go 2-3 days without washing it) I will wet my hair with a spray bottle of lavender water, and a bit of A Simple Planet Refresh Curl Revitalizer .
Next I squirt some gel in my hands and scrunch the curls up again.
If I have any curls that have flattened or frizzed a lot, I'll wet them more and shape with gel.
Finally I finish with hairspray and I'm done!
So there it is, my curly girl routine and products! I would love to hear what has worked for you and your curly hair. And if you end up giving A Simple Planet a try, let me know how you like it!! Also if anyone ends up finding a hairspray that has strong enough hold for curls, but is also sustainable, I would LOVE To hear about it!!
To finish up, incase anyone else is curious here are some of the other sustainable or refillable products we've started using in our house as I strive to live more zero waste:
Other Zero Waste Products I Use:
Cleaning Supplies: Blue Land - All purpose cleaner, Bathroom Cleaner, Glass Cleaner and Soap. They send pellets and you just put them in a spray bottle and add water! (I am not a fan of their hand soap, it has too strong a scent)
Hand Soap: Dr Bronners this is not fully zero waste, but I buy in bulk to reduce containers. Also Dr. Bronners is not palm oil free, so it's not the best option. I am continuing to research soaps to find something better, but this is what I do for now. I also bought these foaming hand soap pumps and added them to mason jars I already had. Foaming soap you only need about 1/3 soap and the rest is water so this large bottle lasts me a long time!
Laundry: Dropps, they come shipped in cardboard and no plastic containers. I use a mason jar, and these child proof lids to store them and keep them away from my kiddos
Dishwashing Detergent: Dropps (same as above)
Plastic Bag and Other Recycling: Ridwell They are a recycling program that takes a lot of stuff city recycling won't like plastic bags, batteries and lightbulbs. They also have rotating categories like old cell phones, baby food bottle caps, old Christmas lights etc. It's a great way to prevent things from ending up in the landfill, and it's also another local small business!
Face Wash: Charcoal Soap Bar I got mine from PCC, but a lot of places have them. It's great because I cut it in half and keep one in the medicine cabinet by the sink and one in the shower so I can wash my face either place
Makeup: Kaiser Wise refillable foundation (I bought locally at House of Vartan, a small business near Northgate - he also does online orders). I also purchased refillable lipstick, mascara and eye shadow from House of Vartan
What other Zero Waste or sustainable products have you tried?