For those of us with long hair, scrunchies and hair ties are not just a cute accessory — they’re also necessary! Unfortunately, most of the ones you’ll find at the drugstore are made from synthetic materials, meaning they won’t biodegrade, and are destined for the landfill once they inevitably break.
To avoid buying these plastic-based hair ties, a movement has grown within the zero-waste community in which zero wasters look for scrunchies on the street. They simply pick them up, and toss them in the wash when they get home — basically, free secondhand hair ties. Many other zero-wasters upcycle old pantyhose into hair ties by cutting the legs into thin strips, which can turn one pair of tights into dozens of ponytail holders.
Of course, these guerilla and DIY methods are not for everyone. So, if you are in need of some new hair ties or scrunchies, keep reading for a list of ethical companies using sustainable, natural, and recycled materials to make hair accessories.
One of our favorite sustainable activewear brands, Girlfriend Collective, makes scrunchies in a wide variety of colors to match the brand’s workout outfits. Like Girlfriend’s clothing, the brand’s scrunchies are made from recycled water bottles. Girlfriend’s scrunchies go for $6 each.
Jane Dottie Vintage
Jane Dottie Vintage is best known for upcycling gorgeous vintage fabric into the scrunchies of your dreams. They come in a variety of colors, materials, and patterns, as well as in five different sizes, with the extra large quite possibly being the biggest scrunchies we’ve ever seen. Plus, Jane Dottie Vintage is a Black-owned business that also sells vintage jewelry, clothing, and home decor. Scrunchies start at $11 (for minis).
Kooshoo sells scrunchies, hair ties, and headbands made from organic cotton and natural rubber, produced in a Fair Trade-certified facility. You can score these hair accessories in a variety of neutral colors, as well as some brighter hues. Shop on Kooshoo’s website or EarthHero. Packs of five hair ties go for $15, and packs of two scrunchies cost $20.
Miakoda makes all of its plant-based, sustainable clothing in an ethical factory in NYC. The company started taking small fabric scraps leftover from its clothing manufacturing process, as well as elastic that had been sitting around in the Miakoda office, and combined them to make the Zero Waste Scrunchie. Available in a variety of colors and in two sizes, each handmade scrunchie goes for $5.
Fashion company tentree sells three-packs of scrunchies in varying colors. The Upcycled Scrunchie is composed of recycled polyester, Tencel lyocell, and organic cotton ($10 for a three-pack); the Tencel Scrunchie is made from 100 percent Tencel lyocell ($20); and the inMotion Scrunchie is made from recycled polyester and elastane ($15). Plus, tentree plants ten trees for every item purchased.
Terra Ties makes 100-percent biodegradable hair ties out of natural rubber, organic cotton, and natural dye — so if they eventually break, you can throw them in the compost. The hair ties come in plastic-free recycled packaging, making them truly zero waste. Buy Terra Ties via EarthHero, the Package Free Shop, or Amazon for $14.95 for a pack of 27.
Zero Waste Club
Plastic-free online marketplace Vera-Bee offers a few eco-friendly hair tie options — but unfortunately, the company only ships to the U.K. There are the Organic Cotton Hair Ties made by Zero Waste Club, which are composed of organic cotton and sustainable natural rubber, and are dyed using natural dyes (£6.00 per five-pack).