6 Hairstyles to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Hair can be eco-friendly, too.

woman with naturally curly hair


Rochelle Brock / Refinery29 for Getty Images

At Gabriela Hearst’s spring 2020 show, models walked the runway with slicked-back rope braids. The low-maintenance hairstyle was intentional; the designer banned electricity and hot tools in an effort to reduce the show’s carbon footprint. A hair dryer, on average, emits roughly 57 lbs of carbon dioxide a year (!!!), according to estimates

Hearst banned heat styling at her show in an effort to raise awareness about beauty-related carbon emissions, which will hopefully help to recreate some industry standards. “If we can do it, other people can do it,” she said. Including you, as a matter of fact.

That said, you don't have to be backstage at a fashion show to easy to create cool, no-electricity styles. You just need to work with your hair’s natural texture, whether that’s fine, straight, curly, or coily. Here are some ideas for how to pull off no-heat looks on the reg.

Slicked Pony or Bun

Yara Shahidi


Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images 

Slicked buns and ponies have been a fixture on the runway as of late; this involves “slick, stiff roots, and natural texture throughout the ends,” according to Dani Hauflaire, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “Douse your roots in hairspray” to start, like IGK's No-Crunch Flexible Hold Hairspray ($27), “and then use your fingers or a fine or a wide-tooth comb to rake hair either straight back, slightly angled, or parted and combed straight down,” she says. Depending on your hair's density, you might need to repeat this process to create that sharp, sleek look. “For a matte finish, apply a dry shampoo once settled,” says Hauflaire. “For exaggerated shine, add a high-gloss gel.”

Ouai Hair Oil
Ouai Hair Oil $28

3-Day Waves



Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

For those with texture or curl, let your hair evolve over three days as it dries and settles. “On day one, shampoo and condition your hair, while misting in a leave-in treatment,” says Amber Han, master colorist and owner of Park Avenue Salon in Dexter, Michigan. Odele's Air Dry Styler ($12) will shape your natural texture. “Rake the treatment through with a fine-tooth comb, and let dry, polishing afterward with a texture spray.” Try IGK's Beach Club Volumizing Texture Spray ($29).

On day two, Han says you can use a drop of oil to keep everything hydrated and flyaway-free—we like R+Co's Two-Way Mirror Smoothing Oil ($32)—before splitting at temples for a half-up, half-down look. “Twist the hair back on each side of your head, and secure with a barrette.” On day three, you can easily do a half-up, half-down style, gathering the upper half into a top knot. “Use dry shampoo at the roots to get rid of oil, and a little air-dry cream for the bottom to soften the ends,” says Han. Try Oribe’s Gold Lust Dry Shampoo and AirStyle Flexible Finish Cream ($42). “Try tying up a hair scarf as a headband, too,” she says.

Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo $48


Janelle Monae

Danny Martindale / Contributor / Getty Images

Start by using a paddle brush, like Olivia Garden’s. “Next, slowly part your hair in the middle, separating your hair into two sections on the left and the right,” says Kendall Dorsey, a celebrity hairstylist at Factory Downtown in NYC and DC. “Use a spray conditioner to keep hair tangle-free and healthy looking.” He likes Voloom's Shine On Dry Conditioner ($20) and Briogeo's Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray for those with straight or fine hair. "Once prepped with the spray, assemble two French braids on each side of your head,” says Dorsey. You can secure with bobby pins at the nape of the neck, or with elastics. Sleep in your brands, and transition to second-day waves.

If you have naturally curly hair, Dorsey suggests braiding wet, using a leave-in conditioner like Ouidad's Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner ($26) to soften your curls, and, if you're frizz-prone, try a serum or oil like Sachajuan's Intensive Hair Oil ($53). Braiding when wet can help "offer a softer wave when you decide to remove the braids,” Dorsey explains. 

briogeo milk
Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray $20

Shaped Curls

Margot Robbie

Daniele Venturelli / Getty Images

"You can shape your curls naturally with the right set of products," says Anna Jackson, a hairstylist at Boss Hair Group in Chicago. “Curl creams and gels are great for no-heat styling,” she explains. “I love Oway's Curly Potion ($38), which offers a light hold, all while keeping the curls moisturized, but not sticky or crunchy. A light, no-weight leave-in conditioner is great for fine hair, especially Evo's Happy Campers ($23).” Jackson says “the sky’s the limit” for shorter styles. Pomades like Sally Hershberger's 24K Vanity Hair Shaping Balm have a more moldable workability, according to Jackson, while gels have a lot of hold for all-day wear.

Dorsey recommends flexi rods (which come in an array of sizes) and a styling gel. Apply the rods while your hair is slightly damp but make sure not to touch your hair until after it's completely dry. "You want to keep your hands out of your hair during the drying process,” Dorsey says. “You want the air to lock in the style, so you don’t want to alter it too much during the process, as this can mess with the curl pattern."

sally hershberger vanity hair shaping balm
Sally Hershberger 24K Vanity Hair Shaping Balm $32

Straight and Lifted

Lucy Hale

Pascal Le Segretain / Staff / Getty Images

If you have pin-straight hair, you can still change up the style without heat tools, but a little goes a long way in terms of product. “For straight hair, avoid heavy products, as it can make your roots look greasy” Eliut Rivera, a celebrity hair stylist and owner of Eliut Salon. "Instead, use some dry shampoo at the roots to lift and add volume.” Try Klorane's Dry Shampoo with Nettle Oil Control ($20) or Moroccanoil's Dry Texture Spray ($28).

R+ Co Mood Swing Straightening Spray
R + Co. Mood Swing Straightening Spray $29


Amber Heard

Frazer Harrison / Staff / Getty Images

Use bobby pins on both sides of your hair to update a half-up style. Try a curl-enhancing cream, like Ouai's Leave-in Conditioner ($26), as your hair dries and sets. When the water is out, use a texture cream like R+Co's Sand Castle Dry Texture Creme ($29) to play. "Emulsify the cream in your hands and work that in at the root. Throw your head upside down if you need to," says Han. Place the bobby pins in along each side of the hair, crisscrossing some if you like. “The top should be smooth,” she says. “You can then shape certain pieces of hair to get added texture, but I like to make the bottom really big. Slicked-back top, then a ton of volume on the bottom.” 

velvet hair bow
Jennifer Behr Velvet Hair Bow $128

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