Eco-bricking? No problem. Greener transportation? A walk in the park. Zero-waste shampoo? Well, let's just say things got a bit hairy. Of all the things people expect to hear when they ask me about the challenges of going green haircare is probably last on the list.
I myself couldn’t understand why finding the right eco-friendly hair products were proving so difficult in my transition to a zero-waste lifestyle until I realized that majority of the other changes were utility-based (e.g. using jars to store food in creating a plastic-free pantry) while a green hair routine meant I needed to find products that not only did their job but did so without turning me into a lock-messed monster.
Since shampoo and conditioner bottles are a huge offender in our plastic waste issues, I committed to ditching the bottle (no, not the vintage Merlot) and bearing down through the hit-or-miss process of testing zero waste hair care.
Turns out, the world of zero-waste shampoo and conditioner bars and alternatives is way more fruitful than one might have originally thought.
Here are my top picks for zero-waste shampoos...
I thought salon-quality could only be achieved through harmful chemicals and dyes but boy, was I wrong and I couldn't be happier about it.
HiBAR's shampoo bar offers salon-quality formulas that are as good for your locks as they are for the planet. Safe for natural or dyed hair, the bars are free of soap, sulfates, phthalates, silicones, and parabens.
As someone with dry hair that's prone to frizz, I really enjoyed the benefits of the added coconut oil and rice protein. My hair felt nourished and hydrated without any added weight. Even down to its ergonomic design, the bar is fun and easy to use offering excellent use for many washes to come.
I loved how accommodating this product was too. Thick, colored, curly, and/or frizzy hair will feel restored and replenished with the HiBAR shampoo. It isn't, however, recommended for people prone to oily hair or scalp irritation.
I love that my hair felt and looked like I was using salon-approved hair products and that I achieved as much without damaging my hair or the planet. For its luxurious benefits, organic ingredients, and commitment to zero-waste consumerism, this shampoo bar is easily my top pick.
For the scent lovers among us (myself included), you might be disappointed to hear that this baby's fragrance-free but fret not! I supplemented with a delicious-smelling zero waste conditioner bar to add a swoon-worthy scent.
As soon as you land on their site you can tell by Humankind are not your mother’s zero-waste brand. They have a minimalist chic approach to personal care products - but their hip credentials are just the window dressing for deep eco-warrior credentials.
Recycled packaging, 100% carbon neutral, no single-use plastic, all-natural ingredients - honestly, the list goes on. Love love love what they are doing.
But are their products any good?
I tried both the shampoo bar and their reusable shampoo.
Starting with the cold-pressed shampoo bars, which are vegan, silicone-free, and sulfate-free. The bars are suitable for all hair types, which I can’t personally attest to (my door-knocking “can I wash your hair” campaign wasn’t very successful) but will say that it worked beautifully for my hair.
The bar comes in 4 scents - Citrus Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint (includes gluten) and Unscented. I tried the Citrus Lavender and it was divine - my boyfriend had to drag me out of the shower.
I was also super impressed by how it feels - which is to say FAF - Foamy As F**k. It feels like a normal shampoo, with no wondering if your hair is really getting all the benefits. They claim that it is designed to keep our hair’s natural oils intact, I’m no scientist but I’m inclined to believe the claim.
As far as the results are concerned, HiBAR edges it for me but this is going to come down to your preferences and your hair type. The fact that it has one formula for all hair types means that it surely can’t be perfect for all hair types.
Just a quick word on their aluminum pump reusable bottle - I haven’t received mine yet, but I think it’s a great idea to have a refill & subscription offer and the bottle looks amazing. Once again the ingredients are all-natural (including Argan Oil and Moringa Oil) and it comes in grapefruit and lavender scents.
Pricing-wise, they are competitive and all deliveries are free - and given what by Humankind are doing for the planet, that is pretty-darn amazing in my book. While the product isn’t quite my fav, as a brand they are #1 in my book. I am now a supporter and look forward to trying many other products.
As someone who struggles with flyaway hairs, frizz control is a must when it comes to finding the right shampoo.
Trumpeting a call to ditch the bottle AND tame rampant frizzing; Ethique’s plastic-free beauty products feel like a godsend. Their zero-waste shampoo bar aptly dubbed “The Frizz Wrangler” is not only zero-waste, eco-friendly, and vegan, but it also delivers on its promises leaving dry, frizz-prone hair clean, sleek, and blissfully lush.
This zero-waste shampoo bar has balanced PH levels and an absence of soap, meaning it won't strip hair of much-needed natural oils that help keep hair moisturized and manageable. The combination of coconut oil and Cocoa butter left my hair feeling nourished and hydrated without feeling greasy or needing everyday washing.
Just a small word of caution: people with dyed hair have had trouble with color-stripping so perhaps give this one a skip if you're concerned about dye maintenance.
The single bar offers as many uses as 3 bottles of liquid shampoo - a feat that’s helped the brand keep 5 million plastic bottles out of landfills with plans of getting that number to 50 million in the next few years. Add to that an impressive charity initiative and you have a brand and product that’s won me over heart, body, and locks!
I recommend Frizz Wrangler zero-waste shampoo bars for anyone looking to calm their frizz without adding too much weight to their hair.
As a scent fiend, I love nothing more than the sensorial experience of stepping out of the shower feeling and smelling clean and fresh. I love finding new products and carefully picking a scent that will work well with the carefully curated alchemy most simply call 'shower time'. More often than not though, zero-waste shampoo options come in a single scent option - a small bummer I'm calling the "Lavender curse".
Well, Lulu Organics had a thing or seven to say about that. The brand's Hair Powder/ Dry Shampoo range is nothing short of a downright buffet with 7 heavenly scent options.
These talc and paraben-free powders are an all-rounder in that they work for virgin and colored hair as well as brilliantly remove dirt without stripping the hair.
The product's light and powdery nature are better suited for normal to dry hair so those prone to grease would be better served by a product with a stronger composition. Personally, it left my hair feeling fresh and looking volumized.
If like me, you're after a zero-waste shampoo (in a unique packaging) that is as lovely to smell as it is to use, Lulu Organics is your new shower time bestie.
Sure, getting my locks squeaky clean is the number one objective when buying a zero-waste shampoo but that doesn't mean I'm not open to a bonus perk or two.
I love Aspen Kay's Solid zero-waste Shampoo Bar for its give-and-take approach to cleansing. Its organic composition works on gently removing dirt without stripping hair of its natural moisture while its medley of oils and herbs enrich the hair giving it adding nourishment and hydration for extra softness and shine. My hair felt restored and shone beautifully because of it.
A word of caution, however, to anyone with sensitive skin: the bar's inclusion of Thistle may cause scalp irritation.
I recommend these zero-waste shampoo bars for people with thin, greasy, or dry hair. Its size and shape also make it an excellent travel companion.
I've found a zero-waste shampoo that can do it all.
No really, Dr. Bronner's all-in-one Hemp Almond Pure-Castile Bar Soap is the biodegradable, all-natural wonder bar that both washes and nourishes your face, body, and hair- I wouldn't be surprised if it could also help you do your taxes!
I love their use of fair-trade ingredients and organic, locally-grown hemp oil that helps create a generous lather for effectively spreading and cleansing. While it's an excellent cleanser for your body and face, I really enjoyed the Castile Bar for its no-fuss, easy-to-use simplicity.
My hair felt clean but not stripped. Moisturized but not greasy. I loved that any runoff tricking onto my face was a welcomed face wash too. For those looking for more in the realm of scent and added benefits, this shampoo bar might not be exciting enough.
For its multiple uses and organic, Dr. Bronner's Castile soap is a top scorer in the zero waste department. I highly recommend these zero-waste shampoo bars for anyone looking for a product that delivers excellent results across its multiple uses.
Nicimisey sets the bar high. The zero-waste shampoo bar that is. Their organic box shampoo bar is everything you want in a shampoo without the added not-so-good stuff.
With 100% natural ingredients, this bar is a treat for the hair and scalp (an overlooked part of a healthy hair routine). Each bar offers the same amount of washes as two commercial liquid shampoo bottles which are only good news when considering how effectively it washed and enriched my hair.
Its composition is said to have a natural darkening effect helping maintain black and brunette hair- I did not notice a difference myself, however, I still advise blondes hoping to maintain their color avoid it to be sure.
After a few uses, my hair and scalp felt hydrated and nourished with my hair looking extra shiny and soft. I loved knowing that no harmful chemicals were used. I felt like my hair looked and felt as nature intended and for that, the Nicimisey Box Shampoo Bar zero-waste shampoo bars have a place in my shower.
Just like any product, zero-waste shampoo bars are as good as their ingredients. Since a lot of emerging shampoo bars are centered on an organic, zero-waste approach to hair care, most shampoo bars are not just good for your hair and skin but also the planet. I recommend you carefully read up on a product's ingredients, benefits, and reviews to find out if it's likely to be something to work for you and your hair type.
And then just try some out - that's the best way to find your perfect shower companion.
While traditional liquid shampoos boast a plethora of hair health and appearance benefits they often achieve as much by using harmful chemicals, dyes, and agents. That alongside their tendency to use plastic packaging destined for landfills, traditional liquid shampoos are not just harmful to your hair but also to the planet.
Zero-waste shampoo bars and shampoo alternatives are changing the game by using organic, eco-friendly ingredients and packaging to create zero waste products that are good for your hair and our planet.
Lest we not forget that making your products is about as zero-waste as it gets. If you have the time and resources, we suggest you have a look at my article on how to make your own zero-waste shampoo and conditioner from the comforts of home.
Changing over to a greener hair routine has never been easier. The growing market of zero-waste shampoo bars and alternatives offers an impressive range of offerings that take the health of our hair and planet into account.
As the overall top pick, I really love the HiBAR Shampoo Bar for delivering on its commitment to salon-quality results that use organic, eco-friendly ingredients in their unique and ergonomic design. As a pure experience, I keep raving to my friends about by Humankind. For my fellow frizzies, I absolutely love how effective the Ethique Hair Shampoo Bar for Frizzy Hair is in taming hair for a sleeker, more manageable feel. Lastly, I adore Lulu Organics - Hair Powder, All-Natural Dry Shampoo for offering not only a product that works but one that comes with seven different delicious scent options.
The options can be overwhelming at first so take your time to thoroughly research your own hair and its needs so that you can better choose a zero-waste shampoo bar/alternative for you and your hair's needs.