Why’d you have to go and cut your hair

(If that title didn’t start Ubu by Methyl Ethyl playing in your head, I would recommend it as the soundtrack for this post)

How does a haircut relate to sustainability? In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m pretty good at relating pretty much anything to sustainability!

This isn’t the first time that I have cut my hair short. I tend to let it grow until it is long enough to donate to charity and then chop it all off! This is the fourth time I have donated my hair, and there are two main reasons I keep choosing to do it:

  1. No waste! (Well, only a little bit)
  2. It seems like a really nice thing to do – I don’t really need it and someone else will really appreciate it. It just takes a little extra patience to let the hair get long enough.

A workmate was telling me that her hairdresser doesn’t throw any of the hair out, but instead uses it on the garden as a kind of mulch. So I guess that’s an option if you aren’t patient enough to grow a spare 30cm of hair!

Keen to donate? In the UK, the Little Princess Trust seems to be the main charity. They have comprehensive instructions on their site. I have previously donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths among other charities, however just read that their program has ended because of improvements in synthetic hair technology.

Some more hair-related sustainability tips!

  • I chose to have my hair cut at Rerooted Hair Design, not just because it’s down the street from my house, but also because they use organic products. And so friendly about my indecisiveness! They are featured on my Cardiff Sustainable Living Guide (it isn’t just bulk food stores and vegan restaurants!).
  • It has been about five years since I made the switch from buying shampoo in plastic bottles. Have you considered using a shampoo bar or the ‘no poo’ method? I’m so used to washing my hair with bi-carb soda (bought unpackaged from Ripple), that I was a little weirded out by how slippery my hair was after the haircut (my hair will never again be as neat as these photos!). If you want to keep using liquid shampoo, bulk stores like Ripple let you refill your own bottles. And if that isn’t an option, the bottles are recyclable in most places so make sure to pop them in the right bin.
  • Living in rainy Wales has made me a bit of a water wally. Growing up during the Millennium Drought in Australia, I wasn’t allowed to wash my hair in the shower (it would have taken far longer than the recommended four minutes, instead I did it over the laundry trough turning on the water only when I needed it). With climate change, water scarcity is going to become more of an issue in many places. However even in a country with plentiful water, it takes energy to process and pump it to our houses and then heat it for use (because it is way too cold for a cold shower in Wales). So saving water will also reduce my carbon footprint, and shorter hair definitely helps with that!
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