How to Make Zero Waste Shampoo and Conditioner (2 Methods)

When I started looking into the zero waste shampoos, I found many offerings on the market. If you're going zero waste I highly recommend these plastic-free alternatives to traditional shampoos and conditioners.

However, part of the zero-waste experience that I really love is in making products myself. When looking into zero-waste shampoo recipes, it was clear that making your own can be super simple and should also save you money. 

Today I bring you my two favorite zero-waste hair care recipes. The first is super simple, and the second has numerous benefits. Let me know what you prefer!

Zero Waste Shampoo #1: Soap Nut Shampoo

Soap Nut Shampoo: Not your average nut, but a hair-care gem! This shampoo is like the Swiss Army knife of hair care – versatile, efficient, and it won't dry out your scalp (phew!). Plus, aloe vera joins the party for that extra TLC your hair craves.


  • Time to Make: A quick 30 minutes, plus 2-24 hours of soap nut party time (aka soaking).
  • Where to Buy: Soap nuts are the stars here. Find them at Earth Hero (US), Amazon, Big Green Smile (UK & Europe), and Etsy (worldwide).
  • Mess or Danger Level: Zero! Soap nuts are as gentle as a lamb, and fun fact – they're actually berries, not nuts. Allergy-friendly alert!

Ingredients and Tools:

  • 10 dried soap nut shells
  • Your favorite essential oils (for that personal touch)
  • Coconut oil for thirsty hair
  • Aloe vera juice for that sun-kissed protection
  • A squeezy bottle or any container with a tiny top
  • The usual suspects: water, a fridge, a blender, and a bowl


Boil and Cool

Get that water hot and then let it chill. It's like a spa day for your water.

Soak the soap nuts

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(No, not those nuts!) Soak your soap nuts in room-temperature water. The longer, the better. Overnight? Perfect. 24 hours? Chef's kiss!

Blend Time

Blend those nuts and water until they're smooth. Sneak a sniff; it's pretty great.

Liquify Again

Let it sit for a movie's length (about 2 hours) until it's back to liquid form.


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Use whatever you've got – cheesecloth, an old t-shirt, your neighbor's fancy tea strainer. Squeeze out the goodness.


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Combine 2.5 tablespoons of your soap nut liquid with aloe vera juice and your chosen essential oils in the bottle. Shake like you're at a dance party.


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Apply to your scalp, work it through your hair, and feel like an eco-warrior with great hair.

Zero Waste Shampoo #2: Castile Soap Shampoo

This next eco-friendly shampoo has a few more ingredients, but helps significantly with scalp health and hair growth, and creates a beautifully soapy lather. A frothy lather + eco-friendly vibes = a happy camper.

Castile Soap Shampoo: A bit more ingredients, but who's counting? This recipe creates a lather that'll make you want to wash your hair twice a day (but please don't).


  • Time to Make: About 1.5 hours (seeping included, not Netflix time).
  • Where to Buy: Amazon and other online eco-stores are your best friends.
  • Mess or Danger Level: Still safe, but more ingredients mean more fun (and a bit more cleaning up).

Ingredients and Tools:

  • 4 oz Dr. Bronner's Tea Tree Oil Pure Castile Soap (the good stuff)
  • 4 oz vegetable glycerine (for that silky feel)
  • Some fancy herbs and powders (Aloe Vera, Shikakai, Nettle)


Pour and Mix

Boil water and mix in the dry ingredients. It's like making a potion.


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Stir and steep 

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Give it a good stir and let it sit. Patience is key.

Stir and strain 

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Again with the stirring and straining. This time, it's personal.

Add the Wet Stuff 

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Castile soap and glycerine join the mix. Stir it up, little darling.

Container Time

Choose a snazzy container. Squeeze or pour, your call.

This version of zero waste shampoo, while a little more complicated, produces a much more lathery, soapy shampoo and is excellent for those who struggle with dry hair and scalp. While there are more products to buy and the cost may be higher initially, they form the basis of an excellent investment - you'll only need a small amount for each batch, so they should last you more than a year's worth of washes! 

Customizing Your Zero Waste Hair Care Routine

Get creative! Mix and match ingredients like you're a DJ at a hair-care rave. Dry hair? Add honey. Oily hair? Lemon juice is your BFF. Color-treated? Chamomile tea or rosemary oil to keep those colors poppin'.

The Personal and Community Benefits of Zero Waste Hair Care

Embracing zero-waste hair care products like shampoo bars and DIY shampoo and conditioner recipes isn't just an eco-friendly choice—it's a personal wellness and community booster! Here’s why making this switch is beneficial not only for you but also for the community around you:

Personal Wellness and Self-Care

Nourishing Naturally: By going zero waste with your hair care, you're choosing products that often have fewer chemicals and more natural ingredients. This switch can lead to healthier hair and scalp, and for many, it becomes an enriching self-care ritual.

Fostering Community Connections

Local Love: Often, zero-waste options like shampoo bars or ingredients for homemade shampoos and conditioners are sourced from local businesses or artisans. By choosing these products, you're supporting your local economy and fostering community connections.

Educating and Inspiring Others

Spread the Word: Your journey to zero waste can inspire others. Sharing your experiences, challenges, and successes in going plastic-free with your hair care routine can encourage friends, family, and your wider community to consider their environmental impact.

Participating in a Larger Movement

Joining Forces for Good: When you opt for zero-waste hair care, you become part of a larger movement striving for environmental sustainability. This collective effort can lead to significant changes, influencing industry practices and promoting eco-conscious living.

Environmental Advocacy Through Personal Choices

Every Action Counts: Your choice to go zero waste in hair care is a powerful statement. It reflects a commitment to reducing plastic pollution and can serve as a form of advocacy, encouraging others to make similar environmentally friendly choices.

Incorporating zero waste practices into our hair care routine is more than just a personal choice—it's an opportunity to contribute positively to our health, our community, and our planet. Every small step towards zero-waste living can lead to substantial collective progress towards a more sustainable future.

Embracing Shampoo and Conditioner Bars for a Plastic-Free and Cruelty-Free Lifestyle

In our journey towards a more sustainable and ethical lifestyle, shampoos and conditioner bars have emerged as a game-changer. These compact wonders are not only eco-friendly but also align with cruelty-free values, making them a superior choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

Shampoo and Conditioner Bars: Compact and Eco-Friendly

Travel-Friendly and Efficient: One of the most significant advantages of these bars is their compact size. Perfect for travel, these bars take up minimal space and avoid the hassle of liquid restrictions. Plus, they're highly concentrated, meaning a little goes a long way, offering more washes than traditional liquid bottles.

Plastic-Free Hair Care Solution

Reducing Environmental Footprint: Shampoo, as well as conditioner bars are typically packaged in minimal, biodegradable, or recyclable materials, making them a cornerstone of plastic-free living. By switching to these bars, you're not only reducing your plastic waste but also contributing to less plastic pollution globally.

Cruelty-Free and Ethical

Kind to Animals and the Planet: Many of these bars are crafted with cruelty-free principles, meaning they're not tested on animals. This ethical approach resonates with those who are conscious about animal welfare and want to ensure their beauty routine does not harm any creatures.

Natural Ingredients for Healthy Hair

Gentle and Nourishing: Formulated with natural ingredients, these bars often forego harsh chemicals found in traditional hair care products. This means they are not only kinder to the environment but also gentler on your hair and scalp, often providing nourishment and care with organic and natural components.

A Step Towards Zero Waste

Aligning with Eco-Conscious Values: Incorporating these conditioner and shampoo bars into your daily routine is a significant step towards a zero-waste lifestyle. These bars exemplify how small changes in our daily routines can contribute to significant environmental impact, moving us closer to a sustainable and waste-free world.

In summary, the shift to using shampoo and conditioner bars is an impactful way to adopt a plastic-free and cruelty-free lifestyle. It represents a conscious decision to not only care for our hair more naturally and healthily but also to take a stand for the environment and animal welfare. As more people embrace these eco-friendly alternatives, we collectively move towards a greener, cleaner, and kinder world.

Embracing a Zero Waste Lifestyle with Eco-Friendly Hair Care

Transitioning to zero-waste shampoo and zero-waste conditioner options is more than a trend; it's a lifestyle change that nurtures both your scalp and the planet. Here's how you can fully embrace this eco-conscious journey:

Zero Waste Shampoo and Conditioner Options

Beyond DIY: If creating your own shampoo and conditioners isn't your cup of tea, no worries! The market is blooming with zero-waste options. From shampoo bars to bulk store finds, you're spoiled for choice when it comes to plastic-free hair care.

The Rise of Shampoo Bars

Compact and Convenient: Shampoo bars are a zero-waste superhero. They're compact, easy to use, and often come in minimal or compostable packaging. Perfect for those looking to simplify their routine while staying eco-friendly.

The Benefits of Going Zero Waste

A Holistic Approach: Going zero waste with your hair care routine is just the beginning. This approach encourages a broader mindset shift towards sustainability. You'll find yourself making more environmentally conscious choices in other aspects of your life, too.

Plastic-Free Hair Care

Ditching the Plastic: By choosing plastic-free shampoo and conditioner options, you're helping to reduce the massive plastic footprint in the beauty industry. Every plastic-free choice is a step towards cleaner oceans and a healthier planet.

Making the Transition

Small Steps, Big Impact: Transitioning to zero-waste hair care can be a gradual process. Start by replacing one product at a time, and don't be too hard on yourself if it takes a while to find the perfect fit for your hair.

Incorporating zero waste, shampoo and conditioner, shampoo bars, going zero waste, and plastic-free into our lifestyles can be an enlightening and fulfilling journey. As we take these steps, we contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly world, one hair wash at a time!

The Role of Community and Education in Advancing Zero Waste Hair Care

The shift towards zero-waste hair care, including the use of shampoo and conditioner bars, is not just a personal choice but a community-driven movement. Here's how community and education play a pivotal role in this eco-friendly transition:

Building a Zero Waste Community

Shared Learning and Support: Local communities, both online and offline, are instrumental in spreading the word about zero waste hair care. They provide a platform for sharing experiences, tips, and recommendations, making the transition to shampoo and conditioner bars and other plastic-free products more accessible and less daunting.

Educational Outreach and Awareness

Spreading Knowledge: Education is key in raising awareness about the benefits of zero-waste hair care. Workshops, seminars, and social media campaigns play a crucial role in informing the public about the environmental impact of traditional hair care products and the advantages of switching to eco-friendly alternatives.

Collaborative Efforts for a Greater Impact

Together We Achieve More: Collaborations between zero waste advocates, local businesses, and environmental organizations can amplify the message and encourage a broader adoption of sustainable hair care practices. These partnerships can lead to innovative solutions and greater reach, fostering a more eco-conscious community.

The collective efforts of individuals, communities, and educational initiatives are crucial in driving the zero waste hair care movement forward. By working together, we can make a significant impact on reducing plastic pollution and promoting a more sustainable lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use soap nut shampoo every day?

Absolutely! It's gentle enough for daily use. Just remember, your hair might need a little time to adjust to its new, eco-fabulous life.

Will the Castile Soap Shampoo work on color-treated hair?

Yes, it's safe for colored hair. But if you're rocking some vibrant hues, you might want to add some color-protecting ingredients like chamomile (for blondes) or rosemary oil (for darker tones).

How long can I store these homemade shampoos?

The soap nut shampoo can chill in your fridge for up to two weeks, and the Castile version is good for about a month. Remember, fresh is best!

Can I customize these recipes for different hair types?

Absolutely! Add honey or shea butter for dry hair, lemon juice for oily hair, and aloe vera or green tea for fine hair. Experiment and find your hair's happy place!

Are these shampoos tear-free for kids?

While they're gentle, they're not tear-free like some kiddo-specific products. So, keep them out of the little ones' eyes, just to be safe.

Can I use a regular blender for making soap nut shampoo?

Sure thing! Just give it a good clean afterward, unless you want soap-nut-flavored smoothies.

I have a nut allergy. Are soap nuts safe for me?

Yes! Despite the name, soap nuts are actually berries, so they're typically safe for those with nut allergies. But, as always, it's a good idea to do a patch test first.

Can I use a different Castile soap scent for the second recipe?

Definitely! Feel free to play around with different scents of Castile soap to find your favorite. It's like choosing your eco-warrior fragrance!

What if I live in a hard water area? Will these shampoos still work?

They should, but hard water can be a bit of a diva. You might need to adjust the recipes or use a vinegar rinse for better results.

Is it more cost-effective to make these shampoos than to buy regular ones?

In the long run, yes! While the initial purchase of ingredients might be more, they'll last you a long time. Plus, think of all the plastic bottles you're saving from landfills!

Final Thoughts on Zero Waste Hair Care

Soap Nut Shampoo is the easy-peasy choice for all hair types. Castile Soap Shampoo takes a bit more effort but brings the lather. Both are budget-friendly in the long run and make your hair eco-gorgeous.

Which one tickles your eco-fancy? Share your stories, tips, and whether your hair thanked you for the zero-waste switch!

And hey, if DIY isn't your jam, check out our roundup of pre-made Zero Waste Shampoos here. Even switching to shampoo bars is a big thumbs-up for Mother Earth.

Keep shining, eco-warriors! Your hair (and the planet) will thank you.


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