Green December Day 1 - Shampoos and Conditioners

Welcome to Day 1 of #GreenDecember!

If you know me well, you would know that the majority of my artwork is inspired by nature and all living things. One of the reasons why I choose wildlife and nature to be my subject matters is to show the beauty of the natural environment we live in. Ever since being in the field of working with wildlife and being educated in conservation, I have always felt a need to do my part in helping. I think I have taken this topic more seriously these past few years than ever because of the changes in politics that are very negatively affecting the outcome of environmental conservation.

This started just as a personal endeavour to align my beliefs with my actions and I want to emphasize that I don’t intend to push my opinions onto others to force belief in this topic but I hope this will highlight some information and ideas in people’s minds to at least start thinking about how they affect the environment they live in.

Over the month of December, I will be sharing 31 changes that I have made in my life in favour of being more environmentally conscious. Thank you so much for following along.

Please feel free to comment any suggestions, ideas and ways that you have made an impact!

I’ve stopped… Buying non-biodegradable shampoo & conditioner

For over two years now, I have chosen to cut out all brands of shampoo and conditioners that are not biodegradable and have never felt the desire to look back.

Most drug marts and department stores will have a separate section for ‘natural’ shampoos and conditioners. After a bit of experimentation with a couple types, I have consistently come back to using shampoos and conditioners by Live Clean. I find their range of products to be quite vast and comparable to using a standard shampoo in terms of feel and cleanliness after use. The price point is slightly higher (~$5-$9) for the volume than the standard brands but I actually find that my hair feels cleaner for longer to a point where I don’t need to wash my hair again for 2-3 days. Based on the information on their website, they are very intentional on the way they have formulated and designed their product with the environment in mind. I get mine from Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart and it seems that Amazon even has it.


Another option is to choose natural shampoo bars. They have so many advantages to list a few:

  • Saves on the plastic from bottled shampoos or conditioners

  • You use a lot less of the product which means it will last longer

  • It’s a really great travel product since it is compact and not considered a liquid

  • Convenient to know you can use it anywhere; in the lake, in the ocean etc.


I love the shampoo bars from Lush (especially the scent of the Jason and The Argan Oil one) and I recently found another from Soap Stones Co. that does not contain SLS or SLES in case you are worried about synthetic additives in general - not to mention, they’re a local company to me. I haven’t had much luck with the conditioner bars, because I don’t find they give you the same silky texture of bottled conditioner, so I’ve been sticking with my Live Clean brand but if you know of any conditioner bars that are worth trying, let me know!



Most people wash their hair several times a week, if not everyday and all of the products that go into cleansing their hair gets washed away down the drain and ultimately into our lakes and oceans. The majority of standard shampoos and conditioners contain harmful chemicals - most of which are difficult to pronounce, let alone to spend the time listing here. Since you likely won’t remember, nor care exactly which chemicals are harmful, I’ll leave the stripped down version of why standard shampoos and conditioners are harmful to the environment.

Most additives such as phosphates (surfactants), parabens (preservatives) and phthalates (thickeners) are not degradable and will accumulate in the environment or cause nutrient pollution, ultimately leading to harmful biological effects. I will note that one synthetic additive called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) (both are surfactants aka what makes soap lather) is often used but is actually degradable in the environment however, there is controversy around the dangers of the use of this chemical for people in the organic/wholesome/all natural groups due to evidence of it causing skin irritation. You may be able to find standard shampoo brands that say they are ‘phosphate, paraben, and phthalate free’ but they usually contain many other non-eco-friendly additives so you might be better off switching to brands that promote naturally formulated or bio-degradable formulas.

Carmen Szeto