Whether it’s tying your hair up to exercise, to keep cool, look professional, or simply get it out of your face, hair ties are an essential part of daily living. For many it’s the first thing we put on in the morning, the last thing we take off, and something we always keep on hand, just in case.
But as indispensable as hair ties are, they don’t exactly fit well with a zero waste hair care routine. Let’s look at some more eco-friendly hair ties alternatives below.
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What’s wrong with traditional hair ties?
Well, for starters, they stretch out, they break, and they’re easy to lose.
They’re often low-quality and treated as disposable, coming in packs of 10-20 that people buy multiple times a year.
From an environmental perspective, they’re made of non-natural materials that will release harmful substances as they break down, if they break down at all.
Since so many get lost and eventually washed into waterways, they’re likely harming wildlife, along with other small pieces of synthetics.
In fact, the UN estimates that every year more than a million seabirds and 100,000 mammals are killed by plastic debris.
Plastic Free Hair Ties
Unlike some wasteful items, most people can’t just give up using hair ties altogether. Luckily there are companies that have tackled this problem and created eco-friendly hair ties as an alternative to the traditional type.
KOOSHOO ORGANIC HAIR TIES
Kooshoo’s organic hair ties are made from GOTS-certified cotton and natural rubber. They’re so stylish that you’ll want to do your best to hold onto them, but even if you don’t, you can take comfort in the fact that they’re 100% biodegradable.
As thicker bands, they work well for all kinds of hair and are made to last. Plus, their unique design means they’re comfortable and don’t pull your hair.
TERRA TIES BIODEGRADABLE HAIR TIES
For those that prefer thinner hair bands, Terra Ties Biodegradable hair ties are a great option. They’re long-lasting, comfortable, and a completely plastic-free hair tie alternative.
With 27 hair ties in a pack, these are also a good choice for those that are prone to losing their hair accessories. At least you can rest assured these won’t end up polluting waterways as they’ll break down organically.
WILD & STONE PLASTIC FREE HAIR TIES (UK)
If you want a few more eco friendly hair elastics to add to your collection, these plastic free ones are handmade and their palm leaf design on the seams makes them stand out for all the right reasons.
ZERO WASTE CLUB ORGANIC COTTON HAIR TIES (UK)
Not only are these eco hair ties thick, stretchy, and made from natural materials, but they have an elegant planet earth outline on the seams.
This UK company is committed to treating its factory workers fairly and offsetting shipping emissions by planting a tree for every item they sell.
MEADOW PRODUCTS TENCEL HAIR TIES (UK)
These hair ties look like your average, no-frills bands, but instead of synthetic materials, they’re made of Tencel, a biodegradable fiber made from plant material.
No one will even know that they are eco hair bands, but the planet will thank you.
C.HAIR.I.TEE HAIR BANDS (US)
For truly zero waste hair ties, look for something upcycled.
c.Hair.i.TEE supports local businesses by sourcing fabric from charitable resale shops in order to make their extra comfortable bands.
Since all their materials are reclaimed, their operations help reduce textile waste.
DIY Options For Zero Waste Hair Ties
DIY can be a lot of work, but hair ties are some of the easiest things to make on your own. Ripped nylons or old t-shirts can easily be cut into the perfect eco-friendly hair bands, and a little material goes a long way.
Lost and Found Hair Ties
So many hair ties are lost every year, why not give them a new home? While the practice of picking up lost hair ties isn’t for everyone, many zero wasters have adopted the habit of sanitizing and using the ones they find.
Not only does this take them out of the waste cycle, it saves you money too!
Zero Waste Hair Tie Alternatives
If you want something fancier or need clips and pins, as opposed to hair ties, there are plenty of zero waste hair tie alternatives to choose from.
Some bigger brands have eco-friendly or upcycled products, but this category is where zero waste hair products from small businesses really shine.
In addition to their eco-friendly hair bands, KooShoo also makes eco scrunchies. Made of natural materials that are biodegradable at their end of life, these chic scrunchies give you peace of mind while providing extra comfort for your head.
Perhaps even better than manufactured scrunchies are upcycled ones.
Tentree, a B corps company that plants ten trees for every item sold, offers a 3-pack of soft upcycled scrunchies made from a blend of recycled polyester, Tencel, and organic cotton.
Sustainable clothing label Miakoda sells scrunchies made from 100% scrap material and deadstock elastic.
BIODEGRADABLE HAIR CLAMP
Clamps are another great option for holding back your hair, and they look fabulous while doing so.
While most are made of plastic, this one from Heather & Bumble is made of starch. You can’t exactly compost it at home (and hopefully you’ll like it so much you wouldn’t want to), but bioplastics are more eco-friendly to produce and will break down under industrial composting conditions.
UPCYCLED HAIR CLIPS AND BARRETTES
Etsy is a treasure trove of upcycled hair clips. This one from Recreart Design is made from upcycled aluminum bottle caps and features images of hibiscus flowers and a bee.
Just Cyndy uses upcycled comics to make her colorful and unique hair pin roses.
And Pono Home Gift’s zero waste hair clips are made from plastic collected from the ocean and beaches in Hawaii.
UPCYCLED METAL HAIR PIN
Simple Silver and Gold specializes in products made from vintage spoons. Their silver hairpin is the perfect accessory for a wedding or night out, and since it’s made from metal, it’s durable as well as beautiful.
BAMBOO HAIR STICKS
While there don’t seem to be bamboo hair ties on the market yet, you can pick up a pair of bamboo hair sticks. These ones from The Modest Panda are simple and cheap, and if you lose or break them, they’re 100% biodegradable.
METAL BOBBY PINS
Any metal bobby pins without plastic caps on the end are already pretty earth-friendly, but if you want something a little more unique, check out Lydia Swann Artist, who makes eco-friendly hair bobbies (as well as a range of other jewelry and accessories) with upcycled colored pencils.
Along with plastic-free shampoo and conditioner and natural brushes, environmentally friendly hair ties are an important element of a zero waste hair care routine. With high-quality options for both basic bands and fancier accessories, you’ll never have to buy synthetics again.
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