Today I’ll be discussing the 10 best zero waste shampoo bars and conditioner bars that I’ve found to date. I’m really excited to share the research that I’ve gathered on this topic!
But before I dive into that, I want to quickly say that I hope all my readers are doing well out there. Our planet is in the middle of a health and economic event right now that has caused a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt about what the future holds. My blog is not a financial blog, a political one, or a recent events one. So I don’t really plan to comment on the subject of the coronavirus through this space.
That being said, I truly hope you are all doing well, staying healthy, and staying optimistic. Through this time I plan to continue writing uplifting healthy recipe posts, zero waste articles, and positive lifestyle pieces in hopes that they brighten your week, or take your mind off the doom and gloom news stories that are dominating the web right now.
With that being said, I hope this light post about zero waste shampoo bars and zero waste shampoo options can be a fun read for you to break up your day! Let’s dive in.
Why Use Zero Waste Shampoo Bars?
Shampoo and conditioner bars are becoming much more common, but they’re still kind of a niche market. Before I started my zero waste lifestyle I didn’t even know they existed! And once I started experimenting with them it took me awhile to find my “perfect” bars.
Basically, they look just like any ordinary soap bar, except they’re hardened shampoo or hair conditioner product, and molded into a shape that you can then hold and rub on your hair. Sounds easy, right?
Now, you may be wondering why you’d want to transition to a shampoo bar in the first place. Anyone who knows my writing, knows that I love talking about my hate for plastics. Transitioning to a zero waste shampoo solution is just one more step one can take to limit their use of single use plastics. By buying a shampoo bar packaged in paper, you eliminate a plastic bottle that you would otherwise throw away every few months. Over a lifetime, that’s a lot of plastic bottles you saved from ending up in a landfill, or our oceans!
And every little change truly does makes a difference. You may think to yourself, “It’s just a single shampoo bottle…” But when all 7.5 billion people on this planet have that same thought every few months… it becomes a huge problem.
And as we all know, plastic never biodegrades. It can only ever break down into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually becoming microplastic (that causes a whole host of other serious problems for the environment and wildlife). It can only be recycled 1-2 times before it is unable to be recycled again, after which it ends up in a landfill (and/or the ocean).
These are the important reasons why the zero waste movement matters! These are some (but not even close to all) of the reasons why exploring a plastic free life matters, why sustainability matters, why eco living is important.
So it’s for these reasons and more that I decided to write a post about zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars. If you’ve had enough and you’re excited to ditch plastic too, then keep reading! Also, I hope you check out some of my other zero waste posts too.
The Best Zero Waste Shampoo And Conditioner Bars
Similar to my post on zero waste makeup, I had a lot of fun researching ethical companies that I thought deserved to make the list. Obviously not every worthy zero waste shampoo brand is talked about in this post. As I mentioned before, this really is a growing movement that is gaining traction. New companies are popping up every year that have decided to make zero waste and sustainability a core part of their business model. It’s truly inspiring to see!
In conclusion, I hope you enjoy this list of zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars, that I think are the best around. So far. 😉
P.S. I was in no way paid by any of these companies to write this post. All of these words and opinions are un-sponsored and my own.
#1: Chagrin Valley
I absolutely love Chagrin Valley’s shampoo bars! I have 3 of them in my cupboard right now, and one that I’m still using up. And unless they radically change their formula, they’re probably going to be the company I stick with for my shampoo needs for the foreseeable future.
Why I love Their Shampoo Bars:
1. Their shampoo bars do a great job of cleaning my hair, AND they don’t dry my hair out. My hair always feels so soft after a wash.
2. They have a large collection of shampoo bars to choose from. Not only do they have a lot of scents to try, none of their scents are overwhelming (which is great for me, because I hate strong fragrance in products).
3. They have a lot of different shampoo bars for different needs. Dry hair, oily hair, dandruff, hair loss, etc.
4. Most of their shampoo bars are vegan, and all of them are cruelty free.
5. Their soaps are all natural and organic— no harsh chemicals or synthetic ingredients.
6. All inner and outer packaging relies on paper and other fully recyclable/biodegradable materials.
7. Their shampoo bars are all pretty large, and last a long time.
8. Their shampoo bars and other products are all very affordable.
9. They’re a small business, which I love supporting!
I think that’s about it. There are probably more reasons I love them, but I’ll stop singing their praises for now. Also, I went to their website just now because it’s been awhile– and noticed that their product line has really expanded. It looks like they have a line of pet shampoo products now, face care, products for infants, all natural bug repellent, and more. I’m happy for them that they’ve been able to expand!
I will definitely be checking out more of their stuff in the future.
Ethique (French for ethical) has a wonderful business mission. And it’s to rid the world of plastics.
Their natural shampoo bars are all cruelty free, vegan, and packaged responsibly using sustainable/recyclable/biodegradable materials.
Zero Waste Shampoo Bars And Beyond
Not only does Ethique have an impressive collection of shampoo and conditioner bars, they also have a wide variety of other zero waste products. For example, facial cleansers, body scrubs, moisturizers, pet shampoos, laundry/stain removers, etc.
One thing I really like about them, is that they also have a sample program that allows you to try multiple products at once. I love it when companies offer their products in sample form.
Another thing that I think is worth mentioning– they are one of the few zero waste shampoo companies out there that seem like a viable option for those with color treated hair.
My younger sister has dyed hair, and mentioned that it took her a long time to find a zero waste shampoo bar that was purple (the color she needed to protect her blonde dye). While I don’t know much about dyed hair myself, I see that a lot of their shampoo bars are fun and vibrant colors. So if you are looking for a specific color of shampoo to protect your locks, Ethique may be the company for you!
#3: Lush Cosmetics
Lush is a pretty well known company at this point. They have retail stores all over the world, and carry a wide variety of products from shampoo bars, to body bars, scrubs, bath bombs, zero waste skincare products, zero waste makeup and more.
Their prices are very affordable, they use sustainable packaging, and are 100% cruelty free.
Not every products is vegan, so that is something to be mindful of if that is important to you– but as far as their business goes I think they are taking great strides to be an ethical company!
#4: Sea & Clean
Sea & Clean is an all natural soap company based in Florida. They’re a small business, but have a big collection of shampoo bars to choose from.
One thing I really like about their store, is that they have a huge collection of unscented bars too. Every bar has the option to come scented or unscented. For someone like myself, who is really sensitive to fragrances, this is a big plus!
As far as other products go, they have a few other offerings. But it seems like they’re mostly a shampoo bar company. Which is totally fine by me! They definitely deserve to be on this list for best zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars.
#5: Bambo Earth
Bambo Earth’s zero waste shampoo collection is pretty big! I haven’t personally tried their products, but they seem to have a large variety of different scents, and shampoo bars for different hair needs.
They also sell conditioner bars, which believe it or not, can be a bit harder to find than shampoo bars.
Their products are also organic, all natural, and don’t use any harsh chemical or synthetic ingredients.
Bambo Earth seems to be all in on the zero waste movement. Some of the other products they sell are refillable floss in glass containers, bamboo toothbrushes, and konjac sponges (which I think are good for exfoliating?).
Either way, they are 100% committed to being a zero waste business according to their About Us page. So any products they make in the future will go along with that mission!
Humankind has an entire page on their website titled the plastic crisis. So I’d say they’re pretty committed to zero waste and creating eco friendly products.
I’ll be honest, their website is a bit hard to navigate. Their UX could be friendlier. But they do have a variety of zero waste bathroom products that I think are great options.
For example, similar to some zero waste makeup brands, a few of their products are based on a refill system – or refillable shampoo. Another example, you can buy their deodorant container once, and then buy refills of their deodorant sticks on their website, which will come shipped in paper. Refill systems dramatically reduce the amount of plastic waste a company produces, and you in turn consume.
#7: Glitz Soap Co.
Glitz has clearly put a lot of thought into their offerings, and it shows on the product pages. They tell you which bars are good for dry hair, or oily hair. Limp vs. frizzy. If it’s a good shampoo bar for color treated hair. Shampoo bars for thick hair or thin hair, etc.
They’re based in Pennsylvania, and have a ton of rave reviews from customers on their site.
Like a few brands on this list, they also have a dog shampoo bar! I just find that so adorable.
Their bars come packaged in metal tins, which is nice, because if you need to travel the whole tin can be conveniently stowed in your bathroom bag. Once your shampoo bar is gone, you can recycle the tin or keep it to store small things.
All of their bars are cruelty free and vegan. 🙂
#8: The Earthling Co
The Earthling Co is “a lifestyle brand that focuses on offering affordable, earth-friendly alternatives to everyday products.”
All products are made using natural materials, or biodegradable/recyclable materials. Their inner and outer packaging reflects that mission as well.
On top of that, a portion of every sale is donated to global environmental organizations, which I think is awesome!
As far as their products go, they have a selection of shampoo bars, conditioner bars, bamboo toothbrushes, wooden combs, dish brushes, cotton produce bags, reusable utensil sets, and more. So you could think of them as a one-stop-shop for a lot of various household needs!
Once again, Etsy makes the list for being a great place to buy zero waste products at affordable prices– from small businesses. Aermarket is an Etsy business that specializes in handmade, natural, and eco-friendly bath products.
The conditioner bar I’m currently using is by them, and I really like it! It does a great job of detangling my thick curly hair, and it always feels really soft after I use it.
Not only does her shop have a big selection of shampoo bars and conditioner bars to choose from, but she also has bath bombs, room spray, hair oil, and a few other products. And all of them come packaged zero-waste style.
I recommend you check her stuff out!
#10. Superfly Soap
Superfly Soap is a zero waste business on Etsy operating out of Scotland. Her store is pretty large, so her collection of body, shampoo and conditioner bars is extensive!
I can tell she puts a lot of care into how she crafts her bars as well. Each one almost looks like a piece of art, with how she does the pouring, and all the color swirls & combinations.
She has a wide range of scents to try too, and a lot of information on each product page about what goes into her bars. So there’s full transparency with what you’re getting.
Other Etsy Zero Waste Shampoo And Conditioner Bars:
Quickly, I want to give honorable mention to a few other businesses on Etsy that seem like they also have great zero waste shampoo collections:
- Rocky Top Soap Shop
- Andrea’s Organic Market
- Beach Babe Body Goods
- Unearth Malee
- Aquarian Bath
- Naturistic Bath
How To Use Zero Waste Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
Using a shampoo bar is pretty easy. First I rub it in my hands for a few seconds with water to get it sudsy. Then I rub it in circular motions at the crown of my head until a good lather builds up.
Using a conditioner bar is easy too. Simply hold the bar in one hand and rub it length wise down your hair. It will take a few strokes to coat all you hair, but shouldn’t take more than a few seconds.
Are Apple Cider Vinegar Rinses Necessary For Using A Shampoo Bar?
Yes, and no. But let’s back up a bit first! Have you ever heard of an apple cider vinegar hair rinse?
Basically, you put 2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a container along with 2 cups of water, and mix well. If you have super long hair, you may want to do 3 Tbs of ACV and 3 cups of water.
Bring this container into the shower with you. When you’re done rinsing all the shampoo out of your hair, you pour the apple cider vinegar water over your head and let it sit on your hair for 1-2 minutes before rinsing it out. Then, you condition as you normally would. Here’s that order again:
- Shampoo hair – rinse well
- Pour apple cider vinegar water over hair (let it sit on hair for 1-2 minutes) – rinse well
- Condition hair – rinse well
Why do this? Well it turns out, apple cider vinegar rinses are pretty great for our hair!
They can help treat dandruff, those with itchy or irritated scalps, ACV clarifies product build-up on hair, and it makes hair shiny and smooth.
Sounds pretty great, right? But let’s get back to how this relates to shampoo bars. I’ve noticed that a lot of companies that make zero waste shampoo bars are also “all natural” in their ingredients. Meaning they don’t use sulfates, or other harsh chemicals in their soaps. Sulfates can be pretty harsh on our hair– they can dry your hair out, and make it feel more brittle over time. But they also do a great job at scrubbing and cleaning.
All Natural Shampoos And Hair Care
When people switch to using all natural shampoo (or shampoo bars), there is sometimes a transition period– where people notice that their hair is producing more oil than normal.
When we regularly use a shampoo with sulfates, it strips most of all our natural oil from our hair. To compensate for this, or scalp produces more oil, because it always needs some. When you switch to a natural shampoo that doesn’t have sulfates though, there’s still this period after where your hair is still over-producing oil, but the natural shampoo doesn’t strip it out. This is why some people think their hair is a bit more oily than normal when they first start using a natural shampoo. After a week or two, your hair should adjust though (realize it doesn’t need to over-produce oil anymore), and start producing less. Then your hair will feel like normal again.
Because a lot of shampoo bars are also all natural in their ingredients, using an apple cider vinegar hair rinse in the shower can help you through that adjustment period, and remove any oil build-up without relying on sulfates.
That’s basically the gist of it. So if you switch to using a shampoo bar and notice your hair feels a bit more oily than normal– try doing an apple cider vinegar rinse in the shower after shampooing for an extra clarifying boost.
I do ACV hair rinses every time I shampoo because I really do think it makes my hair shinier and softer. But if you hate the smell, or don’t like the thought of it, just forget about it!
Other Zero Waste Shampoo Solutions Besides Bars
Shampoo bars aren’t the only zero waste shampoo solution– just the most popular one.
If you prefer to stick to liquid shampoo, there are a few companies out there with refill systems that are also worth mentioning. You buy their shampoo in aluminum or glass containers, which you can then recycle, and buy a refill for on the companies website.
When it comes to zero waste shampoo, liquid options aren’t as easy to find as shampoo bars, but they are out there. You just have to dig a bit more to find them.
Zero Waste Shampoo Conclusions
I think that about sums up this post! I hope you learned something about zero waste hair care, and the different options that are out there.
I honestly think it’s a fun world to explore. I like researching eco friendly beauty routines, and self-care routines. Sometimes the solutions I come up with are creative, and involve DIY’ing. Other times I get excited about finding a new company with great values, that I feel good about supporting.
Either way, it’s definitely a process, and sometimes the hunt for your “holy grail” product can be frustrating. But if you’re looking for zero waste shampoo options, I hope this list of companies helps you out! Thanks for reading.
Just saw somewhere that Lush products are made with ingredients that are not sustainably sourced. I thought you’d want to look into it.
Thank you so much for this blog and post. I am interested in reducing my plastics usage so am going to try shampoo bars, so this was super helpful! I am sure to read many more of your posts to see how else I can reduce my family’s use of plastics. What a difference we could make in our world if millions of us switched away from even a little use of plastics! Thanks again.
I just got my order from The Earthling Company . Have only used it once so far…but already in love. Got the sweet sandlewood , light scent but very nice. I don’t like over powering scents either. I look forward to trying other scents they have. Will also check out the companies on your list.
I have already switched from liquid laundry detergent to the sheets and love it.
That’s awesome! I’m glad you like the new bar you ordered. 🙂
I’m interested in trying the sandlewood one too, especially knowing now that it’s a subtle scent!
Thanks for your advice. I often buy my hair products at my local grocery store and their collection of bar shampoos I believe are like non-existent.
I plan to draft and submit an email to my local store and suggest they stock some of the brands you spotlighted here. I have a heavy desire to ditch my plastic shampoo bottles.. I adore the “OGX” brand however they (as of this time of typing) don’t have a shampoo bar line. Time for me to convert to something more sustainable for the Earth.
That would be so cool if your local store did decide to stock zero waste shampoo bars based on your recommendation. I hope that works out! 🙂