11 Zero Waste Shampoo And Conditioners For A Do-good ‘do
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 zero waste 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 / non-toxic 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.
For those in a rush, some of the best zero waste shampoos and conditioners on this list include Ethique’s shampoo and conditioner bars which are fantastic (we’ve used a number of their products and love them).
Plaine Products if you’re attached to old fashioned liquid shampoos and conditioners while still ensuring a refillable and circular solution.
Butter Me Up Organics has the suds in either solid bars OR liquid options (in a reusable jar, of course!)
*This post contains affiliate links
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!
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 originating from New Zealand, Christchurch. But thankfully their plastic free products are available around the world.
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.
Available: Amazon | Holland & Barrett (UK) | Nourished Life (AU)
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, 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 also donate a portion of sales to the Ocean Conservancy to aid in ocean restoration.
3. BUTTER ME UP ORGANICS
*Note: Butter Me Up Organics uses things like beeswax and honey in other products, but not their shampoos or conditioners.
About Butter Me Up Organics’ Zero Waste Shampoo Range
If hair care is a journey—Butter Me Up Organics can help you reach your destination.
If you’re going the no ‘poo route, their apple cider vinegar conditioning rinse can be used instead of paraben and sulfate-containing shampoo and conditioner.
If you want something more conventional, they have an organic daily shampoo, organic dry shampoo (butane-free), and an organic shampoo bar.
The bar is one of the best plastic free shampoo options out there.
It looks like a chocolate bar, smells like a chocolate bar, and given the brand’s entire range is made with food-grade ingredients, you could actually eat it like a chocolate bar (although we wouldn’t recommend it).
In addition to a conditioning rinse, they offer a healing hair oil, organic scalp oil, and a hair and nail mask.
All liquid products can either come in a BPA-free plastic bottle or a glass bottle on request.
About Butter Me Up Organics
Butter Me Up Organics makes body, hair, and home care products so good they can be eaten.
And they make them for the whole family.
The California-based company only uses non-GMO, organic, and cruelty-free ingredients and never uses synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, phthalates, palm oil, or parabens.
Founder Julian makes everything with love and mostly fair trade ingredients.
You’ll find many vegan products on the site (including their shampoo and conditioner), but some products do contain organic beeswax or milk.
This zero waste company buys in bulk, sources locally, and everything—down to the office furniture—has been consciously chosen to be as minimal as possible.
Most things come in tin or glass containers and are shipped in recycled/recyclable packaging.
4. 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 natural body wash 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!
5. 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.
These include 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, 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.
6. BATTLE GREEN
About Battle Green Zero Waste Travel Shampoo Tins
Travel meets zero waste from Battle Green’s compact tins. For all readers with wanderlust, 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 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.
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.
7. FRIENDLY SOAP
About Friendly Soap Zero Waste Shampoo Bars
At risk of stating the obvious here, Friendly Soap is, well…a soap specialist.
Their products are cruelty-free, palm oil free, vegan and 100% natural (free of parabens, sulphates, triclosan and phthalates).
They’re also made with only a handful of ingredients like Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils, water.
We’ve tried the Lavender and Tea Tree varieties and can thoroughly recommend them. 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!
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.
Available: Amazon | Ethical Superstore
8. 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 zero waste shampoo bars.
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.
9. 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.
We’re super keen to try the Real Beer bar (which is actually made with beers and hops).
Watch a short video intro to their many products. Besides selling products, they also teach you how to use them and offer tons of resources for zero-waste hair care.
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 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 mega-factory 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.
10. 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 zero waste skincare to sunscreen to deodorant 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 at the moment 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, cruelty free 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.
11. KATIEMAE NATURALS
*Note: While Katie Mae’s shampoo is vegan, not all products are strictly vegan as some contain beeswax
About KatieMae Naturals Zero Waste Dry Shampoo and Shampoo Bars
It’s packaged in a reusable/recyclable glass container 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 contains 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 re-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.
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. EarthHero sells all kinds of zero-waste reusable containers. Otherwise, take a look at the many online bulk stores or try a general ethical online shop.
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.
Back to the topic at hand!
- non toxic
- 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, together with an eco friendly hair brush, 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.