Traveling sustainably: all things hair care

It’s summertime, which means many people are going on vacation. Whether you prefer the mountains or the beach, the summer heat makes these trips far more enjoyable. But when you’re on the go, it can be harder to make choices that are sustainable for the environment. At any drug store, you can easily locate a section of travel-sized products -- tiny bottles of shampoo, small toothpaste tubes… miniature versions of any self-care product you can imagine. While these products are great for saving space, they are terrible for the environment. These products will likely be thrown out at the end of the trip, regardless of whether they were fully utilized or not, and will probably end up in a landfill. As a whole, travel toiletries are unsustainable (1).

So, how can you make more sustainable choices for your next getaway? 

Here are some alternatives to buy instead of typical travel-sized products:

1. Solid shampoo and conditioner

  1. Most people think of liquid bottles when they think of shampoo and conditioner, but that isn’t the only way you can get your haircare products. In recent years, solid shampoos and conditioners have become more popular, often taking form as a bar of soap that also happens to wash and condition your hair. The lack of packaging makes them better for the environment and they’re great for travel! Gone are the days of shampoo bottles leaking all over your clothes. You can toss these bars into your suitcase without any concern for an unintended mess. 
  2. Solid shampoo and conditioner bars are super easy to use, too. All you have to do is get the bar wet, then apply and lather your scalp -- you can let the product run through the rest of your hair sparingly. This guide (2) from Earth Bits is helpful for first-time users. 
  3. Some of the best-rated solid shampoos and conditioners on the market come from Love Beauty and Planet (available at Target), Bar None, and a fan-favorite, Lush.

2. Buy your own reusable bottles 

  1. Reusable product bottles are a great way to bring your typical hair care products with you on a trip- without going over airplane travel restrictions on liquids. It's also better for the environment than buying mini versions of the same product. By using them, you are eliminating the amount of waste that goes into landfills. These travel-sized sets typically come in a bag that keeps them separate from the rest of your belongings. Sustainable Travel & Living’s travel set is a great pick. It’s a nine-piece set, which means you can carry shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair gel, lotion, and any other products you might need on your trip. These containers are TSA-friendly, made from a combination of aluminum and recycled plastic, and are extremely durable.

3. Eco-friendly brands

  1. If you aren’t looking for a solid hair care solution, or if you’re not concerned about space because you travel by car rather than by air, you can still make a positive impact with what brands you choose to purchase. Some brands have gotten creative in how they provide hair care products to you, whether it be the product itself or the container it comes in. Some products may be vegan or cruelty free, like ones from Dirty Hippie Cosmetics or Katie Mae Naturals. Or, the containers may have thoughtful packaging, like the products from Earth Hero- which include refillable pumps so you don’t waste materials by getting a new bottle each time you’re out of your hair care products.
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