As a woman with long, thick hair, I absolutely love zero waste shampoo. Banishing single-use plastic bottles from my shower was a game-changer.
Granted, my first foray into zero waste shampoo was more about being travel-friendly than eco-friendly. As a minimalist traveler, I’m always looking for ways to pack light.
However, switching to bottle-free shampoo inspired me to seek out other zero waste bathroom swaps. Once you begin making sustainable choices, these things start to snowball!
Whether you’re new to the zero waste world or just looking for some great ethical companies to support, you’re sure to fall in love with one of these eco-friendly shampoos.
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How does zero waste shampoo work?
The vast majority of zero waste shampoos come in bar form. They’re literally just concentrated hair cleansers that are activated by water.
Just like a bar of soap, you simply wet the bar and rub it in your hands to form a lather. Then you work the lather into your hair and rinse like you would with liquid shampoo.
Because most shampoo bars are all-natural and lack the chemicals of liquid shampoo, they require a multi-week adjustment period. So don’t despair if a bar doesn’t work right away for you.
It’s also worth noting that other factors affect your hair washing experience, such as your hair’s dampness and the hardness of your water.
Thankfully, these eco-friendly shampoo options won’t pull the natural oils from your hair. So once you do adjust, your hair should actually stay cleaner for longer!
Finally, while most hair and scalp types do well with shampoo bars, they aren’t for everyone. That’s why I’ll be sharing a few alternative products (like refillable bottles of liquid product).
10 Best Zero Waste Shampoos
The Right To Shower Shampoo Bar
Let’s jump right in with one of my favorite zero waste shampoo companies: The Right to Shower.
This awesome brand is not only committed to making good, eco-friendly products, but also to helping the homeless. Specifically, they put 30% of all their profits into providing mobile showers for people living on the streets in the USA.
That means that every single time you buy and use their products, you are helping a homeless person get back some of their dignity, strength, hope and joy (which are the names of their aptly named soaps).
The Right to Shower’s products are not tested on animals and are completely vegan. Their bars are also designed to be used from head to toe, making them perfect for traveling light!
In keeping with the zero waste ethos, their shampoo bars come in 100% recycled carton paper containers.
P.S: If you can’t use shampoo bars but love the idea of this company, they also make soap dispensers that come in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic.
HiBAR Shampoo Bar
HiBar is a fan favorite in the zero waste community.
I love the semi-ergonomic shape that makes it easier to hold onto in the shower. It might sound weird, but sometimes those big chunky bars can be awkward if you have smaller hands!
HiBar offers both shampoo and conditioner, and has three different types: Maintain, Moisturize, Volumize. All three are safe for dyed hair.
HiBar is a great sustainable company, their shampoo bars come in fully compostable and biodegradable packaging, and absolutely no plastic. All of their products are cruelty free, gluten free and use all natural coloring. Their Moisturize and Volumizing bars are both vegan, but the Maintain HiBar does contain a bit of honey.
Meow Meow Tweet Rosemary Avocado Shampoo Bar
Meow Meow Tweet might seem like a somewhat silly name, but they’re definitely not joking around when it comes to the planet. Their shampoo is perfect for oily hair and what actually converted me to Meow Meow Tweet products.
Every single one of their products are vegan, all-natural, cruelty-free, gluten-free, palm-oil free, AND made with organic, fair trade ingredients. Plus, all of their products are made in the USA.
And did I mention they smell great?
Also, I really love that they support DeepDig, a non-profit that helps ensure all Americans have access to clean water. They have specifically partnered up to support their project working with the Navajo Nation.
Ethique Shampoo Bar
Ethique is one of the most popular zero waste shampoo brands out there right now, and for good reason. These tiny little bars might not look that impressive, but they last forever and clean your hair with aplomb.
They’re also incredibly eco-friendly. Ethique estimate that every single bar is equivalent to 3 bottles of liquid soap and can save up to 295 ounces of water! Every single product tick several standards: plant based, cruelty free and vegan, free from palm oil, sustainably produced and biodegradable, and not harmful to humans OR the environment. Additionally, all of their products and shipping is plastic free.
Plus, Ethique donate 20% of their profits to charity. They’re partnered with multiple conservation, animal welfare and environmental organizations. And they’ve even “adopted” a few animals via WWF that they sponsor and support from afar.
Badger Shampoo Bar
Badger has been around since 1995, and they know what they’re doing when it comes to eco-friendly products!
I’m always impressed with their products, and this zero waste shampoo is no exception. It seriously lasts forever and will leave your hair feeling clean and rejuvenated.
As the name suggests, Badger loves animals, so all their products are cruelty-free. Although some of their other products use beeswax, these bars are completely vegan. They’re also 100% organic, plant-based, biodegradable, and packaged in FSC-certified recyclable packaging.
Save me for later!
Whiff Botanicals Shampoo Bar and Conditioner Bar (Unscented)
Whiff’s unscented shampoo bar is an awesome option if your skin is sensitive to fragrances. I gifted this one to a friend with eczema and was informed it was heaven for her skin.
I particularly love that they do sets of separate shampoo and conditioner bars.
Admittedly, there are not as many zero waste options for conditioner bars. Thankfully, these ones are great, and can even be used for shaving or softening up your beard.
Whiff is dedicated to saving the planet through good, all natural plastic free products. There is no plastic anywhere, including in the packaging, and everything is palm oil free and vegan.
Plaine Products Refillable Vegan Shampoo
I think it’s safe to say that some people just prefer bottles. And I get it–it’s what we grew up with, it’s what’s familiar, and that’s totally fine.
If you just can’t get on board with bars but still want a zero waste shampoo option, then these refillable bottles from Plain Products might be the answer.
The bottles are aluminum with BPA and PVC-free lining that can be recycled or reused by sending back the old bottle for a new one. You can even set up a subscription service to send receive regular refills once you know approximately how long each bottle will last you.
When you purchase your initial bottle, there is an option to get a reusable pump. But for a full plastic-free experience, opt for no pump. It works just as well!
And if you need a travel-friendly zero waste shampoo, they also make travel-sized bottles.
Reef Repair Shampoo Bar
Reef Repair’s shampoo bar is completely biodegradable, compostable, and plastic-free. Plus it smells delicious enough to eat (almost), and it makes your hair feel extra soft!
Now, the vast majority of zero waste shampoos should be reef safe so long as they’re only using all-natural, organic ingredients. However, if you’re ever traveling somewhere near marine life–especially places like Hawaii or Aruba that require you to have reef safe sunscreen–it’s best to pack certified reef-safe shampoo.
Bestowed Essentials Shampoo Bar
Since then, I’ve tried several of their products. Like the dish soaps, their zero waste shampoo bars are top notch.
Bestowed Essentials thoroughly researches every single ingredient and supplier, and only work with companies that meet their incredibly high standards. And every single product is organic and all-natural. This means absolutely no artificial preservatives, chemicals or dyes, fragrances, sulphates, parabens, or anything else questionable goes into their products.
And for every order, they partner with Ocean Blue Project to pick up 1o pounds of beach trash!
Seed Phytonutrients Natural Shampoo
Okay, this is cheating as it isn’t exactly zero waste shampoo. But Seed Phytonutrients is just too amazing not to get a shoutout.
And while shampoo bars are an easy plastic swap to make, as I’ve said above, they just aren’t for everyone. Which is why I love that there are still eco-friendly options like Seed Phytonutrients.
Only all-natural ingredients are used in Seed Phytonutrients soaps and shampoos, and they also work directly with organic farmers to source sustainable materials. In fact, regardless of the yield, they pay the farmers for 100% of their crop up front so that they can reinvest in their farms.
But the REAL magic of Seed Phytonutrients is that every single bottle comes with a little pack of seeds. So when you’re done with it and strip it down to re-recycle, you can plant your own seeds to help the planet!
Seed Phytonutrients uses only post-consumer recycled materials in their products. And never fear–the paper is shower-friendly and compostable! Plus, all their products are gluten-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, and cruelty-free.
Looking for more zero waste products? Check out these posts: