Every one of our lifestyle choices has a lasting impact on the environment—for better or for worse. Collectively, our decisions are significant and can help steer our relationship with the planet in a more sustainable direction. Choosing refillable product packaging and recycling empties in stores or through programs like Terracycle's Loop are just some of the ways we can make our beauty routines more sustainable, but even the steps we take to care for and style our hair can have a positive influence.
To explain more, we had Selena Gomez's hairstylist, Marissa Marino, give us tips to make our hair routine more environmentally-friendly (without sacrificing style). "More than 95% of water usage occurs while you wash your hair, and it all goes down the drain," says Marino. She adds, "There are a lot of clean beauty brands out there, but few who are making an impact in minimizing water waste." This is why she's partnered with WATERLways to conserve water while styling your hair.
Train your hair
Obviously, one of the most effective ways to conserve water is to reduce how much much you wash it. "You can extend the time between wash days, which will reduce the time you spend in the shower and ultimately conserve more water," suggests Marino. The more often you give your hair a break between washes, the more it will adjust to producing less oil. "People with oily hair tend to wash their hair every day," Marino says. "However, washing your hair with shampoo and water daily actually sends a signal to your scalp to produce more oil—leaving you in a vicious cycle."
Embrace second-day (or third-day) hair
Extending time between washes isn't just better for the environment and your health, but it can actually improve the look of your hair. "For those with curly textures, day two, three, or even five can be the best hair days," explains Marino. "It's nice with your natural oils kick in because it can add great texture."
Turn off the faucet while lathering your hair
"If you can't reduce your wash days, a simple solution is to turn off the faucet when applying shampoo or conditioner," advises Marino. "You can also fill a small container of water to rinse your hair—this will give you more control on how much goes down the drain."
Use dry shampoo right after washing
According to Marino, it can be helpful to use dry shampoo right after washing. "Using a dry shampoo like WATERLFoam right after washing your hair will create an instant barrier. It helps repels dirt and grease even before it starts to accumulate," she says. "Plus," she says, "It creates the best texture at the root for the perfect messy ponytail.
Don't be shy with the right dry shampoo
"There are a lot of myths about dry shampoo," notes Marino. She clarifies that all of it depends on the formula.
Listen to your hair
Many of us can end up washing our hair in the shower out of habit, but this probably isn't what your hair really needs. Marino reminds us that everyone's hair is unique and diverse, so a customized approach is most effective. "Your hair will ultimately tell you when it needs to be washed," she replies when I ask how long someone can go without washing their hair and how many days in a row it's safe to continue applying product onto unwashed hair. "If you're using product to extend your days between washes, I recommend keeping an eye on any scalp irritation—your body is really good at telling you when it needs a change.
Use a timer when you shower
Marino's final tip is to use a timer on your phone to limit your time in the shower. "An average shower in America is around eight minutes long and uses over 17.2 gallons of water—that's 2.1 gallons a minute!" reveals Marino. "Limiting yourself to two to three minutes can save over 13 gallons of water."