A New Journey: Waste-Conscious Hair

Two Strand Twists (first attempt)

This is will be my first post in a very short (summer) series of hair related posts. I will not use this space to pretend that I am a hair expert or even someone who has entirely mastered my own curly hair. Simply put, we’ve been trying to reduce our waste, which includes product waste (and their plastic containers). This has been especially difficult because I have extremely long, curly hair. It once was really thick too, but since graduate school, my hair has been falling out at rapid speed, so I no longer have the manageability issues I used it.

Alas, we live in L.A. so our summer are pretty hot and dry, which takes a toll on my hair and my sanity. So for the sake of both, I decided to try a few protective styles that can also be used to reduce product waste broadly, and hopefully, keep my hair healthy and my scalp cool this summer!

Since we got married, my husband has been graciously finishing up all of my half used and discarded bottles of “mixed chick,” “deva curl,” and “curly silk” shampoos and conditioners that have not worked for me. And while he has been functioning as a built-in waste minimizer, I have finally decided to find a shampoo and conditioner we both can use (and travel with), AND reduce the random and steady stream of products I dabble in the post shower hair production. I will keep you posted on what we find! **please send any recommendations!**

As far as the products post-shower– I have been successfully using Pantene Pro-V Curly Mousse since middle school. I love that stuff. It locks in moisture and it leaves my curls defined and resistant to humidity and even several nights of sleep. Unfortunately, it comes in a non-recyclable tube and I’m sure packs all kinds of harmful and unnecessary chemicals (womp womp). So I stopped buying it and let me tell you, it has been ROUGH! I’ve tried leaving in conditioner, scrunching, plopping, gelling, and reciting intentions (everything!)…NOTHING has worked/given me the bare minimum effects I have been looking for. What’s a girl gotta do to just wear her curly hair!?! Apparently you don’t know how good you have things until they are gone (or until you stop buying them for environmental reasons)!

This is where my blog post picks up.

A few days ago, I decided it was time for an intervention. I needed to get my hair out of this bun! My scalp needed to breathe!

NW726_XlAfter some internet searching, I found the two strand twist (among other things). I decided to give it a try.  I noticed that those who were giving the tutorials used a myriad of gels, creams, and conditioning leave-ins– things I was trying to avoid–but that didn’t stop me. Instead, I decided to scrounge the house for what I had left (which wasn’t much) and decided to use organic coconut oil. Not only did I have this amazing stuff on hand, but it is a versatile oil that I anticipate having on hand forever, as I use it for cooking and in other amazing homemade products such as: this waste-conscious tooth-paste and body scrub.

So here is what I did:

Again, not an expert. In fact, I can’t even part my hair well by myself. If I do this again, which I think I will, Corey will definitely have to help!

1. Wash hair and scalp well. Section hair (in the shower) into 4 sections.

2. Condition hair and let it sit for remainder of shower.

3. Rinse half of conditioner out and comb through each section with wide tooth comb.

4. Add more conditioner. Comb through.

5, Once out of the shower, I clipped all but the bottom right section up and combed hair through again.

20150620_1140146. Take small sections of hair from the larger section (clipping back the rest) and use coconut oil to split each small section into two pieces.

7. For each tiny section I twisted the two pieces tightly until I was aaaalllllll the waaaaay to the eeeeend of my hair length. With about two to three inches left, I twisted the remaining hair around my fingertip several times to make a little curl. That’s it!

Note: You can make sections as small or large as you want depending on how  thick or thin you want each twist. Admittedly, I started a lot smaller, but as I got through each section, the twists got bigger and bigger because I was getting restless. 

Note 2: I used a little less than 2 tablespoons of coconut oil on my entire head. For each small twist section, I dipped my fingers in a small bowl of the oil and then applied it to the hair and worked it through as I twisted.

8. Repeat this process with each small section/twist, and then for each of the larger of the original four sections. Again, it works better and the hair will fall better if you are good at parting and sectioning (which I am not). 

The whole process took about 3 hours. During that 3 hours I was switching loads of laundry, taking pictures, and talking on the phone, so depending on your hair length, thickness, and focus, it may take more or less time.

20150620_123845Because I didn’t use any products aside from the coconut oil and the shampoo and conditioner I share with Corey, I consider this protective styling option to be waste-conscious. The results were also a success, as it is the fourth day and I anticipate wearing my twists for the rest of this week. So in a sense, the waste-consciousness is extended even further, because I will not be washing my hair during that time, and thus, not using more products.

Despite using oil to hydrate and hold my twists, my head does not feel greasy and does not itch. In fact, the coconut oil was all but absorbed by the end of the first day, leaving my hair super shiny, soft, and smelling delicious!

If you have curly or thick hair, give it a try!

If you have straight hair but leave conditioner in, or use a sheen or oil to give you shine, give coconut oil a try!

Stay tuned for other intermitted posts about other summer styles I’m trying. 🙂



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