Zero Waste Hair Care: Understanding Shampoo Ingredients

Zero Waste Hair Care: Understanding Shampoo Ingredients

17 de January, 2024Leah Foster

The Push for Low Waste Hair Care in Bellingham

As is always the case with us here at Pumped, we want to provide access to the best low-waste living products with the best ingredients. We can't claim to be experts in the formulation of products, but we are lucky enough to know a few. We recently reached out to Greg Dayley, founder of Seabar, a locally made zero waste shampoo and conditioner bar we just love to get his take on what ingredients to avoid when shopping for haircare products. Once you've read Greg's take, come by the shop or visit the website and pick up a set of shampoo and conditioner or get his sample pack and take it for a test drive. If you aren't convinced, just arm yourself with this knowledge as you search for your next haircare products.

Residents of Whatcom County are increasingly embracing zero waste lifestyles, and understanding shampoo ingredients is a key part of this movement. Let's dive into what ingredients to avoid in your hair care products for healthier hair and a healthier planet.

Decoding Shampoo Ingredients: What to Avoid

In the quest for zero waste and healthy living, Bellingham's community is turning a critical eye towards harmful shampoo ingredients. Here's what you should be looking out for:

Sulfates: Stripping More Than Dirt

Sulfates like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), known for their rich lather, also strip hair of essential oils, leading to dry hair, skin irritation, and in extreme cases hair loss. Common sulfates to avoid include ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and sodium lauryl sulfate. These harmful ingredients should be avoided no matter your hair type, or how sensitive your skin is.

Parabens: A Hormonal Hazard

Parabens are widely used preservatives linked to hormonal imbalances and health issues. Key parabens to watch out for are E216, propylparaben, methylparaben, and ethylparaben. Bellingham's zero waste advocates recommend paraben-free products for a safer choice.

Silicones: The False Sheen

Silicones, like dimethicone, amodimethicone, and cyclomethicone, are used heavily in traditional shampoo and conditoiners because they add slip and glide making your hair feel incredibly soft, but it's kinda a lie.

Silicone coats the outside of the hair shaft making it slippery, but it does nothing to actually help the hair stay healthy. In fact many claim that silicones can build up on your hair creating a barrier that prevents moisture from penetrating the hair shaft. We haven't found a ton of evidence to backup this claim, however we think there is an even bigger reason to avoid silicones....

Silicones are basically a micro plastic. They are made in a similar fashion as plastic, but instead of stringing together a long chain of carbon atoms like plastics do, it uses long chains of silicon atoms. These compounds are too small to be filtered out at the waste water treatment plant, and do not biodegrade.

We think that's a plenty good reason to avoid them.

Alcohols: The Drying Agents

You may have heard that you should avoid alcohols in your hair care products and while it's true that some alcohols are drying, others are the exact opposite and are very hydrating to your hair. Knowing the difference is important. 

There are two main types of alcohols. Short chain alcohols like Propanol, Propyl alcohol, and Isopropyl alcohol. These alcohols are the drying type, they are typically added to formulas to help them evaporate faster, drying out the hair. 

Long chain alcohols, also known as fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol, cetearly alcohol, and glyceral mono stearate are super hydrating. Look at any lotion or conditioner and you'll find them loaded up with long chain fatty alcohol.  Bellingham's zero waste enthusiasts suggest choosing shampoos with hair-friendly alcohols.

Formaldehyde and Synthetic Additives: Avoid at All Costs

Formaldehyde, synthetic fragrances, and synthetic colors are unnecessary and potentially harmful. Bellingham's zero waste community steers clear of these ingredients for safer hair care options.


Introducing SeaBar: Whatcom County's Zero Waste Shampoo Bar

Embracing Bellingham's commitment to zero waste is SeaBar. SeaBar is a Ferndale based company that has one of the most innovative solutions to hair care that we have come across. 

Founded by Greg Dayley a veteran of the professional hair industry, SeaBar combines the natural ingredients and low waste principals of bar shampoo and conditioner bars with the ease of use and quality of a salon quality shampoo.

The first thing you'll notice with SeaBar is that it comes in a refillable recycled plastic applicator. This applicator prevents shampoo and conditioner bars from getting gross in the shower. It also makes them less slippery and easier to hold on to, AND allows the bars to be much easier to use. Because SeaBar protects your bar from the elements in the shower.

When you are done with your SeaBar you can get 100% plastic free refills, allowing you to reuse your applicator over and over eliminating plastic waste, by ditching that never ending stream of plastic bottles. 

PLUS for every SeaBar sold they pick up one pound of ocean trash.... so it's not just zero waste, it's better than zero waste.

We are in love with SeaBar and think it's a fantastic product you can grab your SeaBar here at Pumped Bellingham! 


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