Taking good care of your locks isn’t rocket science. Sure, it may require some advance sleuthing—and a bit of research (How is my scalp? Do the strands break easily? Which styling product doesn’t make it oily?)—but the moment you become aware of what works for you and what doesn’t, you’re set.
Once you have this knowledge, consider an upgrade: Turn a green eye towards your regimen. Making the switch gives a two-fold benefit. For one, you’ll help reduce the amount of potentially harmful things you introduce in your body. (A co-worker complains of sores on her scalp whenever she uses shampoos containing sodium laureth sulfate, an emulsifying chemical common to many mass-market brands.) Second, you’re helping reduce your carbon footprint by ensuring that the organic ingredients in what you lather are responsibly harvested and grown.
To help you get started, we zeroed in on top stylists and beauty experts and asked for their tips on how you can keep your hair looking its best. An added bonus: Our round-up of organic products that will steer you in the right direction—a green, eco-friendly one.
Heavy-Duty Hair Care
Add these products to your bathroom regimen
Jack Black True Volume Revitalizing Conditioner
The certified organic sea kelp of this rinse-off conditioner brings oomph to dull, lifeless hair; while the certified organic sunflower seed extract adds shine. $18
Revolution Organics All Over Body Balm
This multipurpose balm, made of a cocktail of organic ingredients such as shea butter, olive-, apricot-, and coconut oils, and beeswax, is what you need to tame frizzy, unman-ageable hair. $28
John Masters Organic Shine On
Organic kelp brings to the table incredible bounce and softness. Because it’s a leave-in treatment, you can use its soft hold in place of a styling product. $30
Innersense I Create Finish
Add the final touches to your daily hairstyling routine with this finishing spray, made with organic rooibos tea—an ingredient that boosts the antioxidant content of this product. $22
Leonor Greyl Masque Quintessence
Need intense treatment? Smooth this mask liberally on dry hair before you shampoo, and its organic red palm oil, and Cupuaçu and Manketti oils coat your hair with minerals that repair and revitalize. $137.50
FHI Heat Styling Iron
Portions from the purchase of this green-plated styling iron go to Trees for the Future, a non-profit organization that helps communities around the globe plant trees. $120
Tips From the Experts
Shampoo seldom, condition often. “I don’t believe in shampooing everyday,” admits eco-friendly celebrity hairstylist Jamal Hamadi. Doing this can strip your hair of essential oils to keep its luster. Instead, use a conditioner more often. It keeps your hair in tip-top shape.
Remain loyal. Hamadi says it’s okay to stick to just one brand. “A good shampoo is meant to cleanse without stripping natural oils,” adds Suki Kramer, the president of Suki Organic Science. “If it does that well, there is no need to change it.” On the other hand, a conditioner is season-dependent. “Use a lighter treatment when the air is moist and humid, and a more emollient, heavier one when it’s dry and cold,” says Kramer.
Prevent dull color. “Avoid shampoos with sulfates,” advises celebrity hairdresser David Babaii, “when your hair is colored.” Consider sulfates like you would detergents—“their harsh contents strip color prematurely,” he reasons. Get a shampoo that’s meant for treated hair.
Go heavy duty if you’re a guy. Men are exposed to outside elements more often than women, says Babaii. So it stands to reason that they should be more picky in their choice of haircare. “Look for a shampoo with hydrating properties to keep it in optimum condition,” he adds.
Strengthen weak, brittle locks. “Identify [first] why your hair is prone to breaking,” advises Joe Vitale of Gita Gabriel Salon & Spa in New York City. If it’s weak because of overuse of heating implements or constant use of chemical treatments, he suggests looking for products that contain lemongrass and chamomile, as these two help plump up your hair. “If the breakage problem is severe,” Vitale says, “I recommend going for an in-salon keratin treatment.”
Start clean, retire clean. In the same way that you would remove your make-up first before sleeping, Vitale suggests you do the same if you have anything in your hair. “You would have to be a rough sleeper and have a heavy duty product on to do any damage to your hair,” he admits, but the same product can get pressed on your face and cause skin irri-tation.
At the same time, he also suggests that you shampoo your hair if you pile on the styling product—especially hair spray.
Yarok Green with Envy Volume Shampoo
The organic herbal infusions in this shampoo help prevent thinning and hair loss by forti-fying the hair shaft with strengthening protein. $36
Peter Lamas Wheatgrass Purifying Shampoo
The organic matricaria (or German chamomile) inhibits the buildup of toxins and bacte-ria in your scalp. $18
Alba Botanica Simply Natural Shampoo
Tag-team dry, sun-damaged hair with soothing botanicals and antioxidants, courtesy of this shampoo’s tea tree and organic lavender extracts. $9.95
Hamadi Honey Soymilk Hair Wash
Nourish color-treated locks—and keep its luster longer—with organic ylang ylang and hydrating soymilk. $18
Number 4 Lumiere d’hiver Clarifying Shampoo
This 100 percent vegan shampoo contains a fabulous mix of organic oatmeal, lemon-grass, and gooseberry to bring in megawatt shine. $45
Rare Elements Pure Shampoo
Containing 15 amino acids, sulfate-free Marula (African ‘miracle’ oil), as well as organic Blackseed and Rosehip oils, Rare Element’s hair bath restores valuable nutrients to keep your hair looking its best. $34
Aveda Restructuring Shampoo
The organic quinoa protein, babasu, and bergamot in Aveda’s Damage Repair range delivers intensive repair, moisture, and shine to scorched locks. $24
Avalon Organics Tea Tree Scalp Treatment Shampoo
Organic tea tree has long been used in treating various skin conditions, making this shampoo the perfect choice to give dandruff the boot. $8.95
Suki Daily Revitalizing Shampoo
“Crunchy” hair will be a thing of the past when you use this shampoo, made with organic yerba protein and organic rosemary extract. $26.95
Guy Gear TriWash
Fuss-free and easy-to-use are two things guys relate to well. This 3-in-1 wash (he can use it on his face and body, too) makes short work of daily grime and gunk buildup, thanks to its cleansing combination of certified organic honey, aloe, and matricaria. $18
Patyka Romarin Rosemary Shampoo
This Ecocert- and Cosmebio-certified organic shampoo contains hibiscus that strength-ens your hair fibers, leaving them soft. $14
Uspa Kashmir Moisturising Shampoo
Made with certified organic green tea, the shampoo’s blend of vegetable amino acids soothes, moisturizes, and strengthens your hair from the first wash on. $24
SHOPPING DIRECTORY >> Alba Botanica, www.albabotanica.com, 888-659-7730; Avalon Organics, www.avalonorganics.com, 888-659-7730; Aveda, www.aveda.com. 800-644-4831; FHI Heat, www.fhiheat.com, 877-344-4328; Guy Gear, www.issimointernational.com, 877-477-4661; Hamadi, www.hamadibeauty.com, 866-442-6234; Innersense, www.innersensebeauty.com, 925-946-0476; Jack Black, www.getjackblack.com, 877-766-3388; John Masters Organics, www.johnmasters.com, 800-599-2450; Leonor Greyl, www.leonorgreyl-usa.com, 866-473-9587; Number 4, www.number4hair.com, 800-507-6250; Patyka, www.patykausa.com, 212-933-9097; Peter Lamas, www.lamasbeauty.com, 888-738-7621; Rare Elements, www.rare-elements.com, 877-520-7273; Revolution Organics, www.revolutionorganics.com , 800-378-4786 (through www.beauty.com), Suki, www.sukipure.com, 413-584-7854; Uspa, www.uspa-usa.com, 206-812-0518, Yarok, www.yarokhair.com, 212-876-4293.