|RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—During Rodale.com's Plastic-Free February challenge, I decided to focus most of my plastic-reduction efforts around beauty care products, mainly hair products. Although I always try to find more plant-based, less toxic hair styling products, the truth is, almost every product on the market is packaged in a plastic bottle or jar.
So I headed to Bella Salon in Pottsville, PA, and challenged my talented stylist friend Jess Adams-Peters to come up with three plastic-free hairstyles. (We put her aspiring-photographer sister, Leigh Ann Adams, to the test trying to photograph the hour-long session.) Just for background, my hair type is pretty boring and average. I’m not the lucky type who wakes up with silky-looking or playfully curly hair.
Instead, my thinner tresses are kind of kinked and feathered at the start of the day. Sometimes, my Polish rooster even attacks me in the morning if I feed our farm’s chickens before combing my hair. It's that unappealing!
But Jess worked some nontoxic, plastic-free magic. And I now feel confident that limp locks can enjoy a burst of volume and soft curls by relying on simple treatments like heat, natural gel from an aloe vera plant, and a little sea salt whipped up in the kitchen. No plastic, petrochemicals, or synthetic fragrances or colors required.
Jess created three styles using absolutely no bottled products or sprays—and in one case, without using any electrical salon tools. The benefits of the experiment were twofold: We didn’t waste plastic (that's extra-important where we live—natural gas drilling is taking over and polluting Pennsylvania, and a lot of that fossil fuel supply goes to making throwaway plastic). And we protected ourselves from the toxic chemicals found in many personal-care products. To me, it was living proof you can get pretty nice hair without reaching for the mousse, hairspray, gel, or even shampoo and conditioning bottles.