The problem with most hair products is that they come in single-use (and often difficult to recycle) plastic bottles and many are made with questionable ingredients like parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances, so this post will start with the basics of hair care and share 10 eco-friendly and natural zero waste shampoo and conditioner alternatives.
Note that this guide includes affiliate links. All selections and opinions are my own. As always, all brands featured meet high standards for sustainability!
Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
The simplest way to reduce waste with shampoo/conditioner is to go with zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars. I love bars because they result in way less waste, they’re lighter to transport which makes them awesome for travel, and they are super-efficient to store away in your cabinet as well.
While at first glance, bars may seem like an expensive option for just a little bit of product, shampoo and conditioner bars are actually super concentrated and can last just as long as a bottle of liquid shampoo or conditioner. Often, bars do not contain much water, if any at all. So, instead of going by the visual size, check the product description for how many uses you can get out of each bar!
How to Use Shampoo/Conditioner Bars:
There are a couple of different methods for using shampoo bars.
- You can rub the shampoo bar on your hand until you get sudsy looking soap and then apply that on your hair.
- Or, you can rub the shampoo bar directly on your head starting at your scalp by your forehead and then working your way backward.
As for conditioner bars, you’ll want to directly apply the conditioner bar on your hair. You can run the conditioner bar down your hair from the top right below your scalp all the way down to the bottom until your ends. You may need to rub the conditioner bar more on the ends of your hair. Leave in the conditioner on your hair for a few minutes before rinsing out just as you might with the conditioner liquid from a bottle.
Where to Find Natural Zero Waste Shampoo and Conditioner Bars:
EcoRoots, which is one of my favorite online zero waste shops, has a great selection of shampoo and conditioner bars. Their team sent me their Forest Mist Zero Waste Shampoo Bar and the Forest Mist Zero Waste Conditioner Bar to test out and I loved them! They smell so lovely and don’t dry out my hair, as some bars can.
HiBAR has package-light shampoo and conditioner bars designed to moisturize, volumize, or maintain, depending on your hair type and needs. There’s a lot to love about these bars too — they are palm-oil free, contain no sulfates, parabens, or phthalates, and are made with natural plant-based ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa seed butter, and plant extracts.
The HiBAR shampoo and conditioner bars are biodegradable and the plastic-free packaging is recyclable or compostable.
Price: $12.95 for one; $25.90 for shampoo & conditioner barset (Use code CONSCIOUSLIFE for 10% off!)
The shampoo bars from Bestowed Essentials are all-natural, certified vegan and cruelty-free, and totally free from sulfates, parabens, and artificial ingredients. Instead, the bars are made from ingredients like apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, hempseed oil, and olive oil. Each bar is made in the US using solar energy and the bars are packaged plastic-free in reusable or recyclable aluminum tins and ship in compostable or recyclable shipping materials.
Price: $9.99 (Use code CONSCIOUSLIFE for 10% off!)
Crafted in the US by hand in small batches using safe, natural ingredients such as olive oil and sustainably-sourced palm oil from a supplier that is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Plum Brilliance’s shampoo bars are made with attention to both social and environmental responsibility. And, each bar comes nearly package-free with just a simple paper sleeve and is shipped in recycled shipping materials.
Price: $8.75 (Use code CONSCIOUSLIFE for 10% off!)
Viori has sustainable shampoo and conditioner bars made out of rice sourced directly (and ethically) from the Red Yao women living in the Longsheng Mountains in China. The moisturizing and hair strengthening bars are vegan, cruelty-free, and they ship in plastic-free packaging. They also sell bamboo bar holders separately for an eco-friendly storage option.
Price: $16.25 for one-time purchase and $13 for subscription
Sourcing fair trade, naturally-derived, and organic ingredients, Well Earth Goods’ zero waste shampoo bars and conditioner bars are an eco-friendly and conscious choice. The bars are also pH balanced, biodegradable, cruelty-free and silicone, paraben, and phthalate-free!
Each bar is handcrafted in Oregon, and packaged in a minimal recyclable paper box.
With luxurious sounding scent combinations like rosemary avocado and lavender coconut milk, Meow Meow Tweet’s shampoo bars are a special treat. And, made using natural ingredients like olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil, and hempseed oil, they’re a healthy non-toxic treat for your hair, too.
Other Natural Zero Waste Shampoo and Conditioner Options
Bars aren’t the only way to achieve a zero-waste hair care routine, so if you’re not a fan of shampoo or conditioner bars, here are some other low-waste eco-friendly alternatives.
The best bar-free alternative to zero waste shampoo and conditioner (or any other body care product for that matter) is to find a refillable option! And Plaine Products offers just that — refillable shampoo and conditioner bottles in both larger sizes and travel sizes.
How does it work? You order your first 16oz reusable aluminum bottle and use up the shampoo and conditioner until you are near the end. When you have just a few uses left, order your next set of bottles, and when they arrive you can ship back the original bottles using a free return shipping label from Plaine Products! Then, the circular, zero-waste process continues!
I have tested out Plaine Products’ shampoo and conditioner before and it worked great on my hair!
Price: $30 for one; $60 for shampoo and conditioner set (Use code CONSCIOUSLIFE for 10% off!)
Packaged using 100% post-consumer recycled (and compostable) paper for the exterior, 80% post-consumer recycled and recyclable plastic for the interior and shipping in packaging made with recycled content, Seed Phytonutrients are as close to zero waste as single-use bottles come!
Seed Phytonutrients’ hair products are sulfate-free, paraben-free, and not tested on animals. The brand’s products are also made with 93% natural ingredients, including many organic ingredients that are sourced ethically from organic farmers.
Price: $17.99 (Use code CONSCIOUSLIFE for 10% off!)
10. Beauty Kubes
Beauty Kubes offers a unique zero-waste shampoo and conditioner option that is packaged in 100% plastic-free, biodegradable paper packaging. Their vegan shampoo and conditioner bars are free from sulfates, silicones, palm oil, and synthetic fragrances and colors.
How does it work? Each box comes with a set of cubes and you use one cube each time you wash your hair. To use, you crumble the cube in your hand, add water to form a paste, and then use the paste as you would any other shampoo or conditioner.
Price: $15 – 16