We are so conditioned (pardon the pun) to see hair care as liquid in a plastic bottle. Which, for all intents and purposes, is fairly unhealthy… and if laid out flat, the number of shampoo bottles condemned to landfills in a year could fill 1,164 football fields.
Thankfully, there are now many plastic free shampoo and conditioners available.
And most of which come in bar form (we do love our bars!) that not only eliminate waste (especially all the composite plastics) but are also typically natural and concentrated.
In fact, the options have exploded over the last couple of years (kind of like plastic shampoo bottles in your suitcase when you travel…). Which is great and all, but it almost makes it more difficult to sort through all the greenwashing.
There’s plenty of ‘environmentally friendly shampoos’ that still have unsustainable palm oil, SLSs, and other sulfates in them. The plastic bottle isn’t the only thing that matters. To read more about our strict criteria for choosing these brands, read beyond the brand list (or slip straight down by clicking here).
So with that in mind and for those in a rush, here’s our best zero waste shampoos and conditioners on this list:
- Ethique‘s shampoo and conditioner bars are really fantastic (we’ve used a number of their products and love them. Loads of options depending on your haircare needs too).
- EcoRoots non-toxic waste free shampoo bars which are super concentrated and
- Plaine if you’re attached to old fashioned liquid shampoos and conditioners while still ensuring a refillable and circular solution.
QUICK LINKS FOR PLASTIC FREE SHAMPOOS AND CONDITIONERS
About Ethique Plastic Free Shampoo Bars and Conditioners
Ethique make some of the best zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars around. And We LOVE bars! Why?
Think about it: it’s tough to put a liquid or gel in anything that’s not glass or plastic. Bars, however, can be safely and securely wrapped in recyclable paper or not wrapped at all! If you travel a lot, say goodbye to TSA liquid restrictions, because bars are a breeze at the airport.
Ethique’s sustainable haircare products are palm oil free, vegan, natural and cruelty free. You can also get specific zero waste shampoo for curly or frizzy hair, oily hair or if you have dandruff. A very impressive range!
They’re also way more concentrated than regular products so it’s designed to last up to six times longer! Their Conditioning Wonderbar, for instance, is the equivalent of five bottles of conditioner.
That’s huge bang for your buck and that’s also five less plastic bottles going into landfills!
Ethique is a fairly new brand (2015) originating from New Zealand, Christchurch. But thankfully their plastic free products are available around the world.
They specialize in all things bar related: from facial cleansers to scrubs to natural deodorant bars.
Besides the very impressive response to their product range they’re also super sustainable and tick each and every one of our boxes.
As mentioned above, they’re not only certified cruelty free and vegan, but also palm oil free, plastic free and use minimal, sustainable and biodegradable (make sure you toss this in your compost!) packaging for everything.
They’re a certified B-Corp and are among a rare percentage of zero waste brands certified as climate neutral AND donate either 2% of revenue or 20% of profit (whichever is higher) to charity. How good is that?!
Seriously. Check our their story here for more info!
About EcoRoots Zero Waste Shampoo Rounds
EcoRoots promises their bars will clean and soften your hair without stripping away its natural oils. The coconut oil provides lift and moisture while the Pro-Vitamin Complex and Lemon Peel add shine and strength.
Handmade of mostly coconut oil and cocoa butter, these bars also contain a variety of other nourishing plant oils (sans palm oil). They’re also vegan, cruelty-free, sulfate-free, silicone-free, and paraben-free.
Besides being some of the best plastic free shampoo around they come in super bright, fun colors (but don’t worry, the coloration comes from natural dried flower powder rather than synthetic dyes).
While 2.5 ounces may look small, they’re good for around 50 washes. If you only wash your hair every few days (as is recommended), two bars will last you almost an entire year.
Colorado-based EcoRoots is actually a full-on zero waste online store. They carry all sorts of sustainably and ethically sourced products for the home, kitchen, and bathroom. If you’re just starting your zero waste journey, they’re a great place to build up your zero waste kit.
All the beauty and personal care products are zero waste packaged, palm oil-free, SLS-free, and vegan. They also ship purely plastic-free, using recycled and biodegradable materials like compostable cornstarch packing peanuts.
They’re also a member of 1% for the Ocean, which donate 1% of profits to the Ocean Conservancy to aid in ocean restoration.
3. PLAINE PRODUCTS
About Plaine Products Environmentally Friendly Shampoo and Conditioner
If you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to traditional liquid shampoo and conditioner, Plaine Products offers refillable shampoos and conditioners in 100% recyclable and aluminum bottles.
They even have travel sizes available!
What makes Plaine unique, however, is their attentiveness to being zero-waste even in product shipping. It’s one thing to offer a zero-waste product, and another to send it all over the world achieving the same thing.
Here’s how it works: for your first order, you’ll receive a pump, but when ordering refills, just be sure to select “no pump”. They’ll send you “new” product filled bottles in custom fit boxes, so no packing peanuts, Styrofoam or air bags!
Plus, the actual cardboard is recycled from 95% post-consumer waste and 5% post-industrial waste, and they use plastic free tape. This means their packing materials are 100% green and zero-waste.
Once your refills arrive, switch over the pump from your first bottles and send the empty bottles back in the same box. They take care of the rest, sanitizing and cleaning the bottles to get them ready to send to someone else!
If you choose not to refill your Plaine order or are unable to send them back, you can recycle the aluminum bottles yourself, a process that requires less energy than original production!
Aluminum is great because it can be recycled indefinitely with no loss in quality, unlike plastic which is “down-cycled” to lower grades each time it is recycled until eventually, it must be condemned to the landfill.
Easy to see why we think they’re one of the best zero waste shampoo and conditioner brands here.
About Plaine Products
Plaine Products is a sister-owned company, founded by Lindsey and Alison Delaplaine, that specializes in vegan, cruelty-free, palm oil free, chemical-free, and biodegradable hair and body products.
Since the entire company started with the dream of having less plastic in the world, their entire production model is completely plastic free.
Not only do the sisters personally try all their products on themselves and their families before approving them, but they also run every ingredient through the Environmental Working Group database to ensure every single one is non-toxic!
4. SEA AND CLEAN
About Sea and Clean Package Free Shampoos
Sea and Clean makes natural, sulfate-free and almost entirely package free shampoo bars made from a variety of cleansing and nourishing materials like organic apple cider vinegar, molasses, hemp, honey, and more.
One of their bars even uses a combination of beer and Dead Sea mud. Who knew that the malt and hops are loaded in hair-strengthening protein? We’ll take two pints, please!
Sea and Clean uses unique combinations of essential and pure oils, herbs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and clays to form shampoo bars for all hair types. They don’t strip color from dyed hair as quickly as chemical cleaners.
Vegan options are available but they do use honey and beeswax in some of their products so check first!
To top it all off, all bars are wrapped in paper and nearly all have recycled paper labels which can be composted.
About Sea and Clean
Sea and Clean states, “It is just as important what you put on your skin as what you put in your body.”
Their goal is to provide personal cleaning products, including shampoo bars, soap bars, and face cleaning products, free from toxins and artificial scents.
The company began the creation of natural laundry detergent, fabric softener, personal soap, and everyday cleaner, and eventually narrowed in on skin and hair care.
Everything is handmade without use of synthetic colors or scents, filler oils, sulfates, or pre-made bases. Most are palm-oil free, and their website offers extreme transparency in which are and are not. You can even filter search results by those that are palm oil-free. For that do contain palm oil, it is at least RSPO-certified.
Despite its young age (founded in late 2015), Sea and Clean is gaining popularity and has shipped packages to every U.S. state except Wyoming (if you’re reading this and living in Wyoming, let’s close the gap and make it 50/50!).
When shipping, Sea and Clean do not even include a packing slip to save on ink and paper.
5. NATURAL VIOLET
About Natural Violet Natural Waste-Free Shampoo Bars
Natural Violet’s shampoo selection includes four delectable flavors for healthy hair and a healthy planet: Rope Hip Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Hemp Oat Milk, Nettle Clay Beer, and Coffee Clay.
She also sells a conditioning hair balm, though her shampoos are designed to be naturally conditioning (particularly the apple cider vinegar one).
All varieties are vegan, cruelty-free, and palm-oil free.
The all-natural ingredient list is limited to just the following nourishing ingredients: Coconut Oil, non-GMO Canola Oil, Non-GMO Sunflower Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Castor Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Olive Oil, and various other scents for each type.
And get this, the scents are completely derived from organic herbal teas and plant powders.
About Natural Violet
Natural Violet, named after the main maker and founder Violet, is based in Charlottesville, NC. In addition to hair soap, she makes body soaps that are safe for both children and pets.
All products are 100% natural and “lovingly handmade” out of Violet’s solar-powered home.
While Violet is not 100% zero waste, she really tries to ship using only zero waste and compostable methods. Be sure to drop a note that you’re zero waste to ensure she doesn’t use plastic in your shipment. You even get to choose between a labeled or unlabeled version of your product.
Nearly all their products are vegan. Otherwise, all are cruelty-free and all natural.
6. FRIENDLY SOAP
About Friendly Soap Zero Waste Shampoo Bars
As of 2020, Friendly Soap sells two shampoo and conditioner bars: Lavender & Geranium and Lavender & Tea Tree.
Both are cruelty-free, palm oil free, vegan and 100% natural (free of parabens, sulphates, triclosan and phthalates). They are also made with only a handful of ingredients: Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils, water.
We’ve tried the Lavender and Tea Tree and can thoroughly recommend it. It’s super foamy, does a great job of cleaning, doesn’t dry out your hair and lasts for ages (be sure though to keep it in a dry spot though, and that goes with all zero waste shampoo bars).
Long lasting and compact means less waste, after all!
P.S. They also offer some great tips about the transition process to natural shampoo and exactly what to expect from it.
About Friendly Soap
Friendly Soap is an award winning soap maker based in the UK.
All their products are cruelty-free, 100% natural, vegan and palm oil free, and the company holds a “Best” rating with Ethical Consumer. Their packaging is completely plastic free and made of recycled materials that are also recyclable once you’re done with them.
They use the old school cold process method to manufacture their soaps, which ensures there are ZERO by-products.
They are then packaged in recycled, completely plastic free cardboard boxes.
Rob and Geoff, the founders of Friendly Soap, view their company as more than simply manufacturing soap, but rather as a learning process on how little we can impact nature.
7. EMERSON SOAPS
*Note: Some bars contain non-vegan silk but there are vegan options. See below for vegan-friendly bars.
About Emerson Zero Waste Shampoo Bars
Emerson Soaps offer two scents of zero waste shampoo bars (Lemongrass Peppermint Argan and Patchouli Spearmint Hemp).
All bars are handmade using the cold process method. They’re free of palm oil, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and other artificial ingredients or pre-made bases.
These bars produce a super foamy lather, ensuring you don’t need much to wash complete. Reviews report one bar lasts over four months! They even sell a cedar soap dish for you to store your bars in a non-plastic natural container. This will allow you to properly dry your shampoo bar in between uses, extending its life.
You can even get another if you use bars for zero waste dish soap!
Some bars are not vegan, as they use of silk as an ingredient, though they do specify it is cruelty-free silk, or that which has been harvested from abandoned cocoons after worms have discarded them.
For vegan shampoo bars without silk, shop the following scents: Pumpkin Spice, Sandalwood Sea Salt, Wild Lemongrass, French Lavender, and Thieves Blend.
About Emerson Soaps
Emerson is a small soap business based in the U.S. state of Florida. Their motto is “Clean Body, Clean Conscience!”
John, the owner and soapmaker, creates all his own recipes based on years of experimentation and personal testing. He’s very particular about the purity and quality of each and every ingredient, using only true, fragrance-free essential oils.
Nearly all their products are vegan. Otherwise, all are cruelty-free and all natural.
8. BEAUTY AND THE BEES
About Beauty and the Bees Plastic Free Shampoos
Beauty and the Bees makes a wide variety of unisex hair products (as well as beard products for gentlemen). All are bars either wrapped in recycled cardboard or packaged in reusable tins rounds.
Not all their plastic free products are vegan, as some contain beeswax and goat’s milk, though all are cruelty-free and ethically sourced.
All products are free from palm oil, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances, toxins, and plastics – designed not to pollute your body, or our waterways. Instead, they are made of unique combinations of fruit clays, herbs, spices, oils and tons of other natural ingredients, the specific combination of which determines bar color and best use.
They also do their best to custom design different recipes for different hair, even offering a guide to choosing the best shampoo. For instance, their Rosemary and Mint bar is made specifically for brunette and red hair. We’re super keen to try the Real Beer bar (which is actually made with beers and hops).
Be aware: Beauty and the Bees operates entirely palm oil free (for 10 years now!), but they didn’t always, and you may still find it listed in the ingredients on the label of your product. This is because they do not want to needlessly waste the remaining labels by simply throwing them away.
About Beauty and the Bees
Beauty and the Bees was founded in 1993 by Jill Saunders after a recent emigration from Britain to Tasmania, Australia and a long-term struggle with adult eczema.
As a result of her condition every single ingredient that goes into handmade products is scrutinized. All recipes are based on traditional, natural ingredients that have been used for hundreds of years. And the products are made n in clean, chemical-free environments.
Best of all, Beauty and the Bees has been plastic free for 25 years, right from the beginning! They calculated that they have proudly prevented over 1 million pieces of plastic from going in landfills.
Since the start, they have been passionate about not creating megafactory waste, recycling wherever possible. Their very first brick-and-mortar store was built using entirely recycled materials!
After years of perfecting and trying “every combination of packing materials known to man” they are experts on minimum impact shipping.
All packing material is recycled and biodegradable, from cardboard boxes produced in-house by a shredder fondly called Hal 9000 from cardboard generated by their own business and other nearby small businesses.
Even their cornstarch packing beads and spoons are biodegradable, natural, and edible. That’s right, you can actually feed your chickens with them!
Not many companies can make beauty products and chicken feed all in one shot. Read more and watch videos about the story behind Beauty and the Bees here.
9. LIVING NATURALLY
*Note: We have attempted to confirm these policies directly with this brand
About Living Naturally Zero Plastic Shampoo
Soap nuts are comprised of dried fruit shells that contain saponin. A 100% natural (no fillers, foaming agents, phosphates, bleaches, or parabens) soap that’s released when the soapnuts touch water.
While most commonly used as laundry detergent, simply boiling these soap nuts yields a liquid shampoo. Best of all, 9-10 nuts yields as much as you would need for a few washes and the nuts can be reboiled several times.
They also have a number of hair treatments, including an organic herbal hair rinse conditioner.
All their products are cruelty free, vegan, palm oil free and free of harsh chemicals.
About Living Naturally
Living Naturally was the first “soapnut apothecary” in the world, founded to provide biodegradable, hypoallergenic, sustainable and environmentally friendly products (for both laundry detergent and personal care).
Their range is super impressive and is also palm oil free, vegan, cruelty-free, organic (or biodynamic) and gluten free.
Living Naturally put a lot of thought and care into their sourcing policies and their packaging (they cater to those living a zero waste lifestyle) and focus on being as sustainable as they possibly can be.
While they use primarily biodegradable or compostable mailbags, they also honestly admit that packaging methods may use some plastic (which is completely recycled), though they are happy to accommodate paper-packaging requests.
They also give generously to a variety of charities!
10. ANDREAS ORGANIC MARKET
*Note: Most bars are vegan, but there are two that are not.
About Andreas Organic Market Waste Free Shampoo Bars
Infuse your hair with herbal magic, using Andreas Organic Market’s fragrance-free no waste shampoo bars, with thousands of 5-star reviews on Etsy. They come not just wrapped in compostable paper, but recycled paper.
Each bar is made using the cold-press method, combining natural and moisturizing ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, herbal tea, unrefined extra virgin coconut oil, ginger-infused cold-pressed sunflower oil, lye, cold-pressed castor oil, cold-pressed jojoba oil, rosemary-infused raw apple cider vinegar, aloe, and various herbs and essential oils.
They’re especially helpful for those with dandruff, though for extra nourishment, they make assorted hair masks that come in glass jars.
For vegan options, choose between the Autumn Breeze, Coconut Milk, Tropical Flowers, and Avocado varieties. Non-vegan options include the Egg Yolk bar and Banana (which has honey). They “never use ingredients that require the death of an animal in any of our products.”
Andrea recommends pairing any of these bars with a conditioning apple cider vinegar rinse. Read more about this below.
About Andreas Organic Market
Founder Andrea wanted to “create products that I can feel good about selling and you can feel good about using” after becoming a label reader and realizing that many “natural” products were anything but.
Despite the huge product selection of herbal salves, tinctures, loose leaf tea blends, culinary goodies (like honey and natural flavor extracts), foot soaks, bath salts, bath oils, and over 50 different skincare products, Andreas Organic Market is run by a small and talented team of three in Muldrow, Oklahoma.
All are natural, non-toxic, palm-oil free, cruelty-free, and made from fair trade ingredients.
Andrea strives to be largely zero waste as well. Most products feature zero waste packaging and any that have plastic pumps or sprayer have an option to buy a “refill” bottle with a recyclable metal cap. For non-liquids, they use compostable refill pouches. All packing and shipping materials are biodegradable and they have an on-site company compost bin.
They even donate any imperfect products to their local blessing box and local churches.
About Haeckels Zero Waste Liquid Shampoo and Conditioner
Haeckels is another great option if you’re looking for a liquid zero waste shampoo. These Bio Energizer + Broccoli Shampoo and Conditioners come in amber glass bottles with an optional plastic pump you hopefully won’t need beyond your first order.
The secret is sustainably harvested seaweed broth. Seaweed is not only an abundant and fast-replenishing natural resource but also contains amino acids which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Combine that with nutrient-packed broccoli oil, these formulas are not just designed to provide a healthy, happy shine, but to actually promote hair growth.
The conditioner contains additional nettle and pumpkin seed oil to aid in hair recovery. For a deeper conditioning treatment, they also sell nourishing skin/hair oils.
Both the shampoo and conditioner are 100% natural and non-toxic, though the ingredient lists are a little longer than some on this list. See each product page for full disclosure on every ingredient. As for the glycerin used, we’re happy to say they’ve confirmed it’s derived from coconut.
These products are vegan, cruelty-free, and free form SLS and parabens.
A “self-financed tiny giant” Haeckels Natural Skin Care and Wild Fragrance makes all sorts of natural personal care products, including shaving supplies, vegan perfume, incense, skincare, body washes, and travel miniatures. Each product is designed and assessed for safety and stability in a laboratory before being sent for larger-scale manufacturing.
Haeckels is a unique “ocean farming” company that holds a coastal license allowing them to sustainably harvest seaweed and other ocean vegetables from a cretaceous chalk reef.
Obviously, the oceans are important to Haeckels, which is why their company philosophy is to “use business to inspire and implement solutions to the world’s ocean crisis: and “respect all and neglect none”. That last bit is so profound!
They’re based in Margate, England, which is where they do all their ocean harvesting by hand, just steps away from their shop.
Now, they have stockists all around the world, where you can bring your empty containers for refills for a 15% discount. If you don’t live near one, you can send your empties back online.
Another cool company initiative is their “Rubbish for Product scheme”, where you can bring a bag of beach rubbish to their Margate shop (with visual proof that it came from the beach) in exchange for a FREE product.
12. CHAGRIN VALLEY SOAP & SALVE
*Note: Chagrin Valley uses RSPO-certified palm oil.
About Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Organic Zero Waste Shampoo Bars
Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve makes 18 shampoo bars and 1 conditioning shampoo bar, packaged in recycled cardboard boxes. Why so many bars? Because they recognize that different hair has different needs. You’ll find various bars suited for oily hair, dandruff, or even hair loss. To see which shampoo is best for your hair type, see here.
All bars are Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free, non-GMO, and free of sulfates, solicone, and parabens. They’re also certified organic by The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, meaning a minimum of 70% of ingredients are USDA certified organic. This includes cold pressed organic fruit juices, organic plant oils, kaolin clay, herbal infusions, and essential oils.
Read about all their fully biodegradable, non-toxic ingredients here.
Any palm oil they use is both organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified sustainable. Read more about their palm oil stance here.
Some bars do have organic honey, Goat milk, and/or egg, but they make up only a handful of non-vegan options.
Pair these shampoo bars with herbal tea hair rinses and dry shampoo (also zero waste!).
About Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve
A USDA Certified Organic Company, Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve is a small family-owned company operating out of one facility in Solon, Ohio, where they’ve implemented green building and energy-saving practices.
You can read all about their sustainability commitments here.
They make a huge selection of bath and body products, zero waste skin care, bug balms, baby products, beard and shaving soaps, herbal salves, and pet soaps. When shopping, they make it really easy to sort out products by ingredients you might want to avoid. For instance, easily filter out products made with tree nuts, Shea butter, coconut oil, gluten, and animal byproducts.
Owners Ida and Sam confirm their “ingredients are USDA certified organic, sustainably produced, cruelty-free and ethically traded.” They also love to support small and local businesses. For instance, the beer from their Honey, Egg, and Beer shampoo bar comes from the Great Lakes Brewing Company just down the road.
Their product packaging is 99% plastic-free, as they use cardboard tubes, compostable cello bags, glass bottles and jars, and tin pots. When shipping, they opt to use USPS for their “Cradle to Cradle” certification and the fact that their boxes meet Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification standards.
13. DIRTY HIPPIE COSMETICS
*Note: Dirty Hippie has announced that one of their suppliers no longer guarantees certain ingredients to be palm oil free. While they search for a new supplier, see below for some of the products to avoid.
About Dirty Hippie Cosmetics Zero Waste Shampoo Options
Dirty Hippie Cosmetics makes shampoo for everyone. Liquid, solid, or powder. Aside from solid bars, they also offer non-GMO zero waste dry shampoo powder, liquid leave-in conditioner, and liquid conditioning hair rinse.
The last two are bottled in beautiful reusable amber glass bottles. You’ll get a pump with your first order and after that, you can just order a recyclable aluminum cap.
These shampoos include the naturally extracted Vitamin B5 and pH balancing citric acid. Which they say is perfect for brittle or frizzy hair. Fighting waste and frizz? Count us in!
Other ingredients in their shampoos include neem oil (effective for treating dandruff and itchy scalps), bamboo powder (a natural source of silica), and all certified organic plant oils and butters.
About Dirty Hippie Cosmetics
Anyone that’s read many of our sustainable beauty articles will be familiar with this name. Dirty Hippie makes all manner of zero waste and all natural beauty and personal care products, from skincare to sunscreen and more.
They grow many of their own ingredients locally and only purchase externally (and certified Fair Trade) where necessary. Every single product is cruelty-free, vegan, and package in either recycled cardboard tubes or reusable tin and glass. Super thoughtful down to the vegetable ink labels.
The only downside is that their Cetearyl olivate and Sorbitan olivate emulsifying wax supplier no longer guarantees them to be palm oil free. Dirty Hippie is searching for a new supplier, but for now that affects their Hydrating Hempseed and Red Raspberry Facial Primer moisturizing creams, cream concealers, zero waste mascaras, and eye liners.
Based in a zero waste community in Bywong, Australia, they use solar powered renewable energy and collected rainwater for their headquarters.
They also donate a portion of all proceeds to various animal rescue, environmental, and health care charities.
14. BATTLE GREEN
About Battle Green Zero Waste Travel Shampoo Tins
Travel meets zero waste from Battle Green’s compact tins. This ‘poo is for you. Small but mighty, these bars are designed to last for about 80 washes (replacing 2-3 shampoo bottles!). They’re also biodegradable which means they’re rated safe for aquatic life.
They come in three available scents, including citrus, mint, and lavender and tea tree. With coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and olive oil as the main base for each, these shampoos use the oil-based cleansing philosophy and make sure your scalp maintains its natural oils.
Each is PETA-certified vegan, cruelty-free, SLS/SLES-free, palm oil-free, and paraben-free. Plus, on each product page, they not list every ingredient and the ‘sub-ingredients’ in each essential oil. Puts a new spin on “clarifying shampoo”.
About Battle Green
From the snowy mountains of northern Wale’s Snowdonia, Battle Green has been slowly expanding its line of zero waste personal care products since 2018. We’ve already covered their zero waste deodorant and zero waste toothpaste, but they also make bamboo cotton ear swabs, reusable menstrual pads, and full zero waste kits.
Every cruelty-free and vegan product is handmade in small batches and mailed using biodegradable, plastic-free packing materials.
Battle Green also gives back by being active members of the Surfers Against Sewage 250 club, through which they volunteer and fund local beach clean-ups.
15. THE BETTER SOAP COMPANY
About The Better Soap Company Better Plastic Free Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
The Better Soap Company’s Better Bars are a handmade way to getting a luscious lather totally package-free. They’re available in mint herb, lemon herb, or lavender sage, and are entirely vegan and cruelty-free.
Ingredients for these nourishing bars include coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, shea butter, castor oil, jojoba oil, water, nettle, horsetail, sodium hydroxide, coconut milk, and babassu oil (a sustainable replacement for palm oil). Surely, making this one of the best zero waste conditioners on this list.
About The Better Soap Company
As you might have guessed from the name, The Better Soap Company specializes in vegan soaps, as well as scrubs and moisturizers.
Everything is handmade by Sheri Fernandes, right in the kitchen of her Massachusetts home. When she’s not teaching music full time, that is.
She opts first for local ingredients, but beyond that, all ingredients are either organically certified or sourced through Fair Trade channels. Her essential and other oils are largely unrefined for maximum efficacy. She steers clear of synthetic dyes and fragrances.
As a green-minded company, she also ships everything zero waste, in biodegradable, recyclable and/or reusable materials.
16. KATIEMAE NATURALS
About KatieMae Naturals Zero Waste Dry Shampoo and Shampoo Bars
For those who prefer to wash hair on a less regular basis, (to preserve natural oils, save water or just live more sustainably), try KatieMae Naturals dry shampoo. It’s packaged in a compostable cardboard tube and is made using arrowroot powder, kaolin clay, organic cocoa powder, non-GMO corn starch, and essential oils.
Then when you do need a full scalp scrub, she makes two different shampoo bars in either rosemary mint or citrus sage. Ingredients for the bars include castor oil, hibiscus flowers, unrefined cocoa butter, organic unrefined coconut oil, and essential oils.
Of these bars, KatieMae writes,
“I use a higher super fatting percentage in this shampoo bar than regular soap to help condition hair. This means that the amount of hair loving oils is higher than the amount of lye it takes to convert them to soap, leaving more of their nourishing properties. This results in a softer bar of soap.”
This means you’ll want to let your bar dry thoroughly after use to extend its life. A bamboo soap dish with good drainage should do the trick.
Neither the zero waste dry shampoo or bars contain any animal byproducts, parabens, phthalates, chemical preservatives, synthetic dyes or fragrances.
About KatieMae Naturals
Katie Mae Naturals was born from a desire to give women an alternative to exposing their bodies to over 160 chemicals per day. Hence their beauty and skincare products are made with only natural, organic ingredients. Shop zero waste sunscreen, lotions, and more.
Everything is cruelty-free, palm oil-free, and contain no pre-made bases, fillers, preservatives, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, dyes, or synthetic fragrances. Some products contain beeswax and are thus not vegan-friendly but their shampoo products are.
Katie Mae and her husband Johnny handcraft every product on their 100-acre family farm, using herbs from their own garden. Suffice it to say that local sourcing is a priority. For those that can’t be found locally, she uses Fair Trade suppliers.
They also spearheaded a local group called Sustainable Medina County which now has the support of several local families working to “protect the environment to ensure a healthy ecosystem for today’s residents and future generations“ by fighting for environmental-related community ballot charters.
In other words, they’re giving citizens of their country the ability to vote on environmental issues.
Lastly, Katie Mae isn’t 100% zero waste; they use plastic materials to ship if and only if they or their friends received it in the mail. Drop a note that you’re going zero waste, however, and they’ll intentionally omit any plastic.
17. THE SOLID BAR COMPANY
About The Solid Bar Company Naked Shampoo Bars
If you like to wash your hair to the whimsical scents of nature, check out The Solid Bar Company’s selection of orange, woodland, herbal, or botanical blends.
Each of these shampoo and conditioners are available in two formulas: one for oily hair and one for dry hair. Both are formulated with oat protein and Pro-Vitamin B5 for a healthy pH balance.
They’re also safe to use on color-treated hair.
Both products are palm oil-free, vegan, cruelty-free, biodegradable, paraben-free, SLS-free (though they do have SLSa, which is “plant-derived Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate and is sulphate free”). You can read a detailed breakdown of the ingredients on each product page.
The smaller bars are good for about 20 hair washes, and the larger 35. They either come in a reusable tin box or naked if you select the “refill” option.
About The Solid Bar Company
The Solid Bar Company make a wide selection of soaps, pet care, child care, and other bath and body products, all in bar form! A simple company name to represent simple, sustainable products.
Rebecca founded the company under the following guiding ethos: “All our products reflect a belief that nature knows best and that organic body care products can be offered at reasonable prices yet still help protect you and the environment.”
Each product is made in the UK, where the company is based, and all ingredients are naturally sourced and plant-based except for their zinc oxide (which is a mineral).
18. ROCKY TOP SOAP COMPANY
*Note: These bars contain RSPO-certified palm oil.
Rocky Top Soap Company Plastic Free Shampoo Bars
Rocky Top Soap Company vegan no waste shampoo bars are great if you’re looking for rich and aromatic unisex scents like Coconut Milk, Rooibos Tea, or Coffee. If you’d rather not smell like a breakfast beverage, you can go with Unscented too.
These bars are handmade in small batches via the traditional cold press method to preserve nutrients. Each product comes packaged in an undyed paperboard box.
For ingredients, you’ll find non-GMO canola oil, pesticide free jojoba oil, organic coconut milk, avocado oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, castor oil, lye, and organic, RSPO-certified palm oil.
About Rocky Top Soap Company
Based in Maine, Tony Laudicina’s Rocky Top Soap Company is an expert in all things (you guessed it) soap! While the scent selection for their shampoo bars is somewhat limited, there’s a massive variety for their general soap bars.
From moisturizing soaps to exfoliating soaps, they’ve got all your rinse-and-repeat requirements. And don’t worry, no plastic microbeads in sight. Any exfoliants are natural like corn meal and poppy seeds.
You’ll find no pre-made bases, fillers, chemicals or preservatives, and even the colorants come from teas, coffee, botanicals, purees, juices, and clays. In Tony’s words, “This makes the ingredients lists read more like a recipe for dinner than a chemical concoction you shouldn’t put on your skin.”
Like the shampoo bars, all are cruelty free and most are vegan, the exceptions being those that include honey or yogurt. No animal fats or beeswax.
About Lush Shampoos and Conditioners
If you’re looking for hair-care variety in your zero-waste quest, Lush may have just what you are looking for.
We get that most shampoo bars leave a little to be desired in terms of variety. Lush, however, has 28 different shampoo options, including bars and creams for all different hair types. They even sell a dry shampoo for those days when you hit the snooze button just one too many times.
Lush also offers both zero waste bar and cream conditioners including a vegan option.
Some of Lush’s products come in recycled plastic containers, but they offer plenty of bar and naked products as well to satisfy your search for zero-waste.
Lush offers a variety of fresh, handmade personal care product and cosmetics, including perfumes, deodorants, soaps, make-up, sunscreens, even Henna hair dyes.
All products are vegetarian (many are vegan) cruelty-free and they only purchase ingredients from suppliers who are also certified cruelty-free. Unfortunately, Lush products are not palm oil free or entirely natural, as many of them do contain the sulphate SLS.
For us, the palm oil thing is a deal breaker and we choose not to use Lush for this reason. However, Lush does seem to be putting in a tremendous amount of effort to do the right thing and we appreciate their transparency.
If you’re considering using Lush, do read up on them and make your own decision based on your ethical priorities.
It’s also important to point out the positives though.
Lush are doing a great job on the packaging front: for creams, bottles, lipstick tubes, and the like, Lush uses a simple black plastic pot, a simple, no-frills packaging that “ensures customers pay for the ingredients inside their product, not the distractions on the outside”.
These Lush black pots can supposedly “have more lives than a cat”, made from BPA-free mixed polypropylene (PP) that can be reused again and again. Because PP plastics are harder to recycle, Lush will do it for you at an in-house recycling center where old pots are chipped, washed, melted, and remolded before refill.
As a thanks for returning your pots and reducing plastic waste, they’ll send you a free face mask. Gift boxes and tags are made of entirely recycled cocoon paper and cardboard that can later be composted. Delicate items that require some padding are wrapped in biodegradable cellulose that can actually be composted!
They also provide clear guidelines on how to recycle all their products.
ZERO WASTE CONDITIONER
Many people find that by switching to organic, all natural shampoo bars, their hair receives enough moisture and nutrients it needs, eliminating the need for additional conditioner.
However, if you have extra long, fine hair, you may want to supplement with some zero waste hair conditioning bars (as listed above) or a conditioning rinse.
Here’s a simple household one we really like:
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR HAIR CONDITIONER
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an effective zero waste hair conditioner that cleanses your hair, removing any build-up or greasy residue left behind by your shampoo, while not completely stripping its own natural oils.
This leaves your hair silky, smooth, and tangle-free.
Beyond that, ACV improves overall follicle health, as it balances the pH of the hair and scalp, acts as an anti-bacterial agent, and balances scalp moisture.
Say goodbye to greasy looking roots or dandruff!
Because ACV does not strip natural oils, your scalp will no longer need to overproduce oils to compensate, which is what usually occurs with commercial shampoos and conditioners. This means you can start going even longer between washes, creating less waste and spending less on shampoo bars.
There’s nothing we love more than eco-friendly thriftiness!Plus it has great internal health benefits when digested. Hooray for multiple uses!
Best of all, it’s SO EASY to make and use.
Just dilute one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar with one cup of water and pour over your hair or spray from a repurposed spray jar, then rinse out. Anything else you add is up to you. Some people like combining with a few drops of tea tree oil or other herbs, which can depend on your hair type.
For instance, if you have naturally oily hair, try adding some sage. To steep dried herbs in AVC, add about two tablespoons of herbs to one quart of vinegar in a covered jar and set steep for two weeks. At the end of the steeping period, just strain out the herbs and dilute with the same ratio of AVC to water as above.
Now we know apple cider vinegar’s smell doesn’t necessarily have the shower-clean scent, but once your hair dries, you don’t smell the vinegar at all. Sounds too easy to be true, right? As one natural living blogger puts it, “Never mistake simplicity for effectiveness,” a sentiment with which we couldn’t agree more.
The question is, how do you get zero waste apple cider vinegar? If you’re lucky enough to have a bulk store near you, you might be able to find it there, refilling your own containers. If you live in Aus, Biome sells all kinds of zero-waste reusable containers.
Otherwise, you can make it yourself by fermenting your own apple cores and scraps!
Check out this simple recipe on how to do it.
FINDING THE BEST ZERO WASTE SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER BRANDS
Just remember, zero waste refers to a philosophy that seeks to reimagine our use of products, using only that which can be reused or composted rather than sent to landfills or incinerated. Hence the “cradle to cradle” approach as opposed to “cradle to grave”.
Now going zero waste is not an over night thing. It’s small steps and incremental changes overtime. There is no end goal, there is no “I’m finally here” or “I’ve crossed the finished line”. It’s a lifestyle and you can be as aggressive or laid back about it as you like.
We’ve taken our own (small) steps to live a more zero waste lifestyle, and we can honestly say that it has made the biggest difference to making our own life more sustainable. And we love it.
Back to the topic at hand!
If this is your first time visiting, our approach to sustainable beauty is to look for brands and products that are
- organic / natural
- palm oil free
- have ethical ingredient sourcing policies and
- use thoughtful packaging (zero waste – compostable, ideally)
We know, that’s a tall order and believe us it takes a fair bit of time to find these zero waste brands (most of which will tick the majority of those criteria)!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON PLASTIC FREE SHAMPOOS AND CONDITIONERS
Commercial beauty standards lead us to believe that we need all this stuff to maintain beautiful, healthy hair. Fact of the matter is. It’s just not true.
Worse still is that because these options are so prevalent, it’s tough to imagine using alternatives even if they’re better for you and the environment. But they’re out there!
And by making a switch to one these best zero waste shampoo and conditioners you’ll be doing yourself and the planet a huge favor!
Remember, personal beauty doesn’t mean sacrificing natural beauty. Keep your hair clean and healthy, while making sure the planet stays the same.
As always, leave a comment with suggestions or any qs’!