Sustainable Hair Accessories at a Glance: 

Plastic is impossible to completely avoid completely—it’s in our cars, our computers, our medical devices, and much more. But if you at least try to decrease the amount of plastic in your life, there is some low-hanging fruit… like hair ties!

So get ready to pull up a ponytail or finagle messy bun because I’m bringing you my top recommendations for where to get organic and plastic-free hair accessories.

This post contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase. We only make honest recommendations. Featured image credit: KOOSHOO

What’s Wrong With Regular Hair Ties? Are They Toxic?

Most conventional hair ties are made from a mix of natural and synthetic materials like rubber and plastic. They’re not biodegradable or recyclable, which means that all of those hair ties you’ve lost over the years will be sitting in landfills or floating around in oceans for hundreds of years.

They slowly break down into smaller microplastics which then get eaten by marine animals and work their way into our food supply chain and drinking water, and then into our human bodies where they may have the potential to wreak havoc on our health. No thank you!

Luckily, there are several small businesses that make organic scrunchies and environmentally-friendly ponytail holders that are not only better for the planet and all of us that live on it, but they’re also super cute, durable, and easy to wear.

What Material is Best for Sustainable Hair Ties and Scrunchies?

When shopping for plastic-free and non-toxic hair ties, look for:

Organic cotton

Organic cotton is grown without toxic pesticides. It tends to be better for the farmers, the overall environment, as well as the end consumer. Even though toxic chemicals can still be added to the finished fabric, it’s less likely.

If it’s certified by something like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), then that means it’s been third-party verified to meet a certain set of standards.

Natural and responsibly-sourced rubber

Instead of petroleum-based synthetics, natural rubber elastic is a better option for the stretchy inner part of your hair ties. It’s a renewable resource that’s more sustainable (when sourced responsibly!) and it can actually biodegrade at the end of its life.


TENCEL is considered a “semi-synthetic.” It’s a soft, silky fabric that’s made from wood pulp. It’s technically a type of rayon, but it’s my favorite type because (unlike other types of rayon) it’s manufactured using less toxic chemicals and a closed-loop process (which means chemicals aren’t being dumped into waterways).

Peace silk

Most of us love the feel of silk, but it’s not vegan or cruelty-free. Satin is vegan, but it’s synthetic. Enter: peace silk! Also known as Ahimsa silk, peace silk is real silk, but it’s made in a cruelty-free way, without harming or killing the silk worms.

Natural linen

Linen is another great option. It grows easily, without the use of harmful pesticides, and is biodegradable. 

Non-toxic dyes

No matter what your “base” fabric is made of, you’ll also want to consider what’s added to it, including dyes and finishes. Azobenzene dyes (aka “azo dyes”) are toxic, so you’ll want to look for azo-free, botanical, and/or plant-based dyes when possible.

The 7 Best Brands for Organic and Eco-Friendly Hair Ties and Scrunchies


Price: $15 (pack of 5 hair ties) – $20 (pack of 2 scrunchies)
Products: Plastic-free hair ties, scrunchies, headbands 
Material: Organic cotton, natural rubber

KOOSHOO is perhaps the most popular brand when it comes to organic, plastic-free, and eco-friendly hair ties and scrunchies. They come in a wide variety of different natural shades and bright colors, whether you’re looking for standard black, brown, or blonde; or bright pink, yellow, or blue.

KOOSHOO hair ties and scrunchies are made out of GOTS certified organic cotton and responsibly-sourced natural rubber with non-toxic dyes. They’re also Fair Trade certified and biodegradable.

2. Sustain

Price: $8 (mini hair tie) – $18 (regular-size scrunchie)
Products: Plastic-free hair ties (regular and mini), scrunchies (regular and mini)
Material: Peace silk, plant dyes, organic cotton (thread), natural rubber elastic

These 100% natural hair ties and scrunchies come with a higher price tag, but they are the real deal! Everything down to the thread and the ink on the tags is made with natural materials.

The peace silk is ethically sourced from small family farms in rural India, the natural rubber elastic comes from a company that practices fair trade throughout its supply chain, and the hair ties and scrunchies are assembled  in-house in Los Angeles where Sustain provides safe working conditions and fair wages.

These low/zero waste hair accessories come in two different sizes to suit different hair lengths and types. They also have a wide variety of beautiful colors to choose from!

3. Terra Ties

plastic free hair ties from terra ties

Price: $15 (pack of 27 hair ties)
Products: plastic-free hair ties
Materials: Organic cotton, natural rubber

If you’re looking for a more standard, thin black hair tie at a more affordable price, Terra Ties is a great option. These are made from organic cotton, natural rubber, and non-toxic dyes and are completely biodegradable at the end of their life.

4. Eloise et Moi

Price: $15-29
: Hair bows, scrunchies, hair ties, head wraps, head scarves
Materials: Organic linen, natural fibers, no elastic options

These plant-dyed scrunchies, head wraps, bows, and ribbons are absolutely gorgeous! Made from materials like organic cotton, linen, and silk, they are all hand-dyed in New Mexico using natural dyes.

They’re a little pricey compared to the other brands, but truly unique. This would make a great gift idea for all ages!

5. Pamper Dreams

Price: $5 (1 scrunchie) – $20 (package of multiple hair ties and scrunchies)
Products: Thin hair elastics, thick hair bands, scrunchies
Materials: Thin natural rubber hair ties, thick cotton hair ties, organic cotton, bamboo silk, natural rubber scrunchies

These plastic-free and biodegradable hair ties and scrunchies are made out of natural rubber, organic and recycled cotton, and natural dyes. They come in a range of solid black and white as well as a few floral patterns and animal prints.

6. Heather & Bumble (Best TENCEL)

Price: $7 (5-pack of hair ties) – $15 (3-pack of scrunchies)
Product: Hair ties & scrunchies
Material: TENCEL

These are actually the only TENCEL hair elastics I found! In addition to the regular hair ties, they also carry TENCEL scrunchies, and everything is plastic-free and biodegradable. Free shipping for the UK! 

7. Sidereal

Price: $28
Products: Scrunchies
Materials: GOTS certified organic peace silk, organic cotton thread, natural rubber

These biodegradable and cruelty-free scrunchies are made from peace silk, organic cotton, natural rubber, and botanical dyes. They also have a tab on one side so you can more easily wear them as a bracelet. Since they’re all hand-dyed, each one is a little bit different.

Sustainable Hair Clips

What about plastic-free claw clips, or other types of hair clips?

Here’s a little bit about the materials used for non-plastic hair clips:

  • Acetate: This is probably the most popular material used. Even though plant-based (“cellulose”) acetate is technically biodegradable, it will only break down under specific circumstances (such as in an industrial composting facility). Plus, there are numerous toxic chemicals that are used in the process of turning the plant (which is usually wood pulp) into a plastic-like material. So, it’s not ideal.
  • Wheat Straw and Other “Bioplastics”: Wheat straw is another “biobased” plastic that puts to use byproducts that would otherwise by wasted. While that’s certainly a positive aspect, it also requires heavy processing to turn it into a plastic-like material. Like acetate, wheat straw products are often touted as “biodegradable,” but they’re not really under real-life circumstances.
  • Wood: A natural, renewable resource, solid wood can be a great option for certain types of hair clips (though it doesn’t make for great claw clips because the teeth can break easily). Be aware that some hair clips marketed as “wood” are actually acetate. (The acetate is made from wood, but it’s not really “natural” anymore after it’s processed.)
  • Metal: Metal is another natural resource that can make for a very durable hair clip. I would recommend looking for metal clips that are “lead-free,” and I would avoid putting any metal clips in your mouth in case they have heavy metal contamination. (I would also keep them away from babies and kids for this reason, too.)
  • Recycled plastic? Recycled plastic may be a slightly better option than virgin plastic since it keeps some of the plastic in circulation (instead of it ending up in the landfill or the ocean!). But unfortunately, recycled plastic is no less toxic than virgin plastic, and the recycling process can create quite a bit of air pollution.

As you can see, there isn’t really a perfect option when it comes to 100% natural and sustainable claw clips.

That said, my picks for plastic-free claw clips are:

Ink + Alloy

Price: $28
Products: Claw clips
Materials: Glass beads, hypoallergenic nickel & lead-free brass hardware

These beautiful claw clips are handmade by skilled artisans in India out of upcycled brass and glass beads! I love how unique they are.


Price: $9
Products: Claw clips
Materials: Hematite

There aren’t a ton of metal claw clips on the market, but Kitsch carries one that’s made from hematite! 

It’s affordable, super durable, and comes in silver or gold.

Alternatives for Plastic-Free Hair Clips & Ties

For as long as humans have existed, there has been a method to hold back hair. Whether you’re interested in using less toxic ingredients or living more sustainably, if you’re up for the challenge, find a new method of holding back your hair entirely, such as: 

  • Hair Forks
  • Hair Sticks
  • U Pins (AKA French Pins)

These types of plastic-free hair clip alternatives can be found in materials like wood, bone, and metal.

Here are some artisans to check out:

Related Reading:

Tying Up Eco-Friendly & Organic Hair Ties, Scrunchies, & Hair Clips

Next time you (inevitably) lose all of your ponytail holders and need to restock, consider skipping the synthetics and opting for environmentally friendly hair ties or YouTubing an alternative method to holding back your hair! 

About Abbie

Abbie Davidson is the Creator & Editor of The Filtery. With almost a decade of experience in sustainability, she researches and writes content with the aim of helping people minimize environmental toxins in an in-depth yet accessible way.

Related Posts

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *