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How To Safely Store (+ Burn) Shed Hair?

I collect shed hair from our drains, brushes and combs. We have a designated container that we put all the hair in. When it gets full, I use matches or a lighter to ignite the hair. If you are considering burning your shed hair, always practice fire safety by fire-proofing the space, using a fire-retardant container and steering clear from any flammables.

Hair Burning Ritual Before and After

Can You Burn Wet Hair?

No. It has to be super dry to catch fire. And dry hair burns really fast. If your shed hair is wet (like hair from your drains) let it air dry before burning.

Can You Burn Cut Hair?

Hair that has been cut (for example after a big chop or post locs) can be more difficult to burn. Hair that naturally sheds from the scalp is more sparse and is probably a smaller quantity, than the amount of hair you may cut. Shed hair is also at a different point in its life cycle than freshly cut strands. So when hair is prematurely cut, it may take a little more time to ignite. And you may need a slightly larger and stronger fire, like an outdoor pit to burn it. But don't take this phenomenon for granted. Witnessing the strength of your tiny strands (against the almighty air and fire) should make you proud.

Why Is My Hair Not Burning?

This can happen if you pack the hair too tight in the jar, cup or ash tray. Make sure there is adequate air flow. You can aerate the hair by lightly fluffing it up, before you burn it. It's also important that the container you use has a wide mouth (again for air flow).

If you've given your hair all the wind action it needs and it's still not burning, it could be the hair's texture and/or density. I've noticed thicker, tightly coiled hair burns differently than thinner, looser curls. If hair burning isn't working for you, according to my great-grandmother's story, you can also flush it. I'm not sure how flushing protects the hair from birds, especially since the hair eventually ends up on land, but I'm simply sharing what I was told.

How to properly dispose of shed hair in the toilet by flushing it infographic

How Long Does The Hair Take To Burn?

It depends on how much shed hair you have. A handful of strands takes a few seconds. If you collect a bunch of hair and burn it all at once, this may take longer.

How Do You Douse The Fire?

No need to put the fire out. Ash smothers fire. So once you ignite the hair, the fire will fizzle out by itself.

In fact, that was my favorite part as a child. Watching my mom roll my shed hair into a fluffy ball. She'd put that soft ball in her ash tray. Then light it and I'd watch it magically fizzle away.

Even though hair burning is self-consuming, NEVER leave any fire unattended. Wait until you see no sign of flames. You can also stir and crush the ashes to make sure there are no signs of spark.

Fire Safety Tips for Hair Burning Ritual

What Do You Do With The Ashes?

You can keep them, bury them, scatter them, or flush them.

Keeping your burned hair can be similar to keeping a diary or journal. The ashes are basically your thoughts and energy from a past time, which you may want to hold on to. You can also bury or scatter your ashes. Consider choosing a site that has a special meaning for you. And then create a ritual around releasing your ashes back to Mother Nature.

Lastly, if you don't have access to an outdoor space, you can always flush your burned hair. Check your local water and sewer website for what not to flush. Some cities and towns may discourage flushing hair balls in their natural state, because they do not break down in water. The hair may get stuck or clog pipes. Which is why burning before you flush can be a better option.

How Do You Get Rid Of The Smell?

The smell doesn't bother me, in fact it's quite nostalgic. But I can totally understand why others dislike it. If you are not a fan, burn the hair outside in the direction of the wind. That way the scent isn't in your home, on you, or your clothes. You can also try an ashtray with a lid, to quell lingering smoke.

Do you use fire in your hair routine? What other hair traditions do you have in your family?

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Until next time...

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