How Do I Care for my New KOOSHOO Product?
One of the most common questions we get from customers is: how do I care for my new product?
The easy answer is to treat them like you would a cotton t-shirt. They’ll be just fine going through the wash and the occasional dry. Yes, even your hair ties. Those little’uns are machine washable just like your favourite t-shirt.
But if you’re looking to really keep them in their finest possible condition, here’s what we recommend: wash on cold, then hang or lay flat to dry. That’s it. That’s the secret.
What About the Dye?
Glad you asked.
Our products are all dyed in a GOTS and OEKO-Tex certified dye house. That’s another way of saying we use certified non-toxic dyes and the water used by our facility is returned to drinking-water-clean before being released back into any local waterways.
Our colours are set but we always recommend washing first with like-colours as some running can occur upon first wash - as with any garment.
How Long Will My Product Last?
We have a saying around here: our products are built to last in your hair but not in a landfill. This is because we apply quality-first design and manufacturing processes while using biodegradable materials.
Here’s an example of what we mean by quality-first manufacturing: instead of using glue (like conventional hair ties), we sew our hair ties closed because it creates a better experience for customers - and the environment. We commissioned lab tests and found that our hair ties are 3x stronger than a traditional glued hair tie. This means a longer lasting tie for you and fewer lost and broken hair ties that are lost or tossed.
We use plant-based materials in all our organic hair accessories. Plant-based materials are, of course, biodegradable by nature; therefore, their goal is to ultimately return to soil. What expedites that process is exposure to the elements - namely, sun, water and oils (oily hair being a common culprit in this case). For this reason, the more exposure to those elements our products get, the quicker they will break down. This is both a good and bad thing.
The bad news is that unlike a synthetic product that will literally last forever, our products will wear down over time. That also happens to be the good news. Because our products do break down it means they’ll continue to break down once disposed of - until there is nothing left, just as intended.
To maximize longevity of our products while they’re serving their purpose above the soil, try to avoid:
Storing them in direct sunlight
Stretching them while wet (think of how a tshirt would stretch if put on wet)
Leaving them covered in oils or hair sprays
Are my KOOSHOO Products Compostable?
Let’s start with our Twist Headbands. Although our headbands are 95% organic cotton, a material that will fully return to soil within a year when composted, the remaining 5% is spandex. Spandex is a fancy word for plastic and unfortunately for the global fashion industry, no biodegradable alternative yet exists to spandex in woven fabrics as thin as a clothing garment. For that reason, our twist headbands are not compostable and if they can’t be repurposed into your life in some other way, they will need to be disposed of in general waste.
As an aside, if you’re looking to become a billionaire in this lifetime then please create a biodegradable spandex alternative - we’ll be the first in line to buy it.
The short answer is: by industrial composting standards, no, our products are not compostable.
This is because industrial composting (ie, city composting) requires products to fully compost in 3 months to qualify as compostable. As you likely know, our hair ties and scrunchies are made of just 2 materials: organic cotton and natural tree rubber. The organic cotton makes up 70+% of the product, while natural rubber makes up the rest. While both are biodegradable materials, their time to decomposition is pretty different.
In a composting environment, the organic cotton portion should fully biodegrade in well under a year, depending on conditions. We are 6 months in on a trial in our home garden and all organic cotton for us has fully composted.
The natural rubber we use is harvested from sustainably harvested rubber trees and then brought to a very high heat in which it undergoes a molecular transformation which allows the rubber to become stronger. For natural rubber to be used as a product in any commercial use, it must undergo this process. The tradeoff of making it stronger is that it takes longer to return to earth. From all the research we've read, our rubber will take anywhere from 1 to 10 years to fully biodegrade. Whilst this is a lot longer than the organic cotton, it's still much better than the hundreds of years synthetic rubber would take to break down.
All that to say, composting our products depends on how you're using the compost and how long you have to wait. We have a lot of customers that cut their elastics into very small pieces, thus increasing the surface area of the rubber to speed the breakdown, and then burying them in their home gardens. If this isn't an option for you then at this stage they likely have to go in with regular waste. Before that though, we always recommend trying to repurpose them as household elastics, ties for plant stakes, elastics for electronic cords and more.
We have received some wonderful grants from the government of Canada (we're a Canadian business) that we're putting towards R&D to develop a fully compostable solution. That's absolutely our aim as an organization though we're proud to make the greenest, most ethical hair tie in the world in the meantime :)
Thank you so much for being a customer and supporting small, consciously-operated businesses like ours - it really does make a difference.