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Transitioning to a zero-waste shampoo is one of the first steps many take in adopting a zero-waste lifestyle. It’s an easy transition to make and if you’re looking for the right brand to explore, you’ve come to the right place.
There are some eye-opening and gut-wrenching statistics behind shampoo waste each year, especially when it comes to their plastic packaging. It’s estimated that more than 500 million shampoo bottles end up in landfills each year, and the number of shampoo bottles thrown out in the U.S. each year could fill 1,164 football fields if laid out flat.
There’s never been a better time to transition to a plastic free shampoo, as you explore a lifestyle that helps both the planet and you.
How to Find Zero Waste Shampoo Brands
Before you purchase your first zero waste shampoo bar or product, it’s important to understand the right ingredients to find in your product. Some shampoo bars on the market today are high in water and make through a process called saponification.
Lye, when combined with oils, chemically turns into glycerine in the finished soap, so make sure that none of the oils have combined with lye, or you’ll just be washing your hair with soap.
Once you’ve picked a shampoo brand, if you’re using a bar it’s important to remember that you might have to prep your hair before it will get clean with a shampoo bar. Just like switching from traditional deodorant to aluminum-free deodorant, you’ll essentially need to detox your hair from the natural and commercial build-up it’s accumulated.
To remove some of that excess gunk, just use a simple baking soda rinse. Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to a cup of lukewarm water. Mix well, wet your hair and then massage well into your hair and scalp. Leave in your hair a few minutes before you rinse.
Simple Zero Waste Shampoo Recipe
If you’re wanting to stick to a budget and make your own shampoo, there are plenty of simple zero waste shampoo recipes.
Mix 1 cup extra virgin coconut oil, 1 cup of aloe vera gel and 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil to make your own shampoo at home. While this shampoo won’t lather up like what you’re used to, it will leave your hair healthier and glossier.
Zero Waste Shampoo Brands
A simple Google search will prove there are plenty of zero waste shampoo brands to choose from out there. But, which one is best for you? We’ve compiled our favorites below.
Ethique is known for its conscious and concentrated solid beauty bars, and their shampoo bars are a great way to transition to zero waste shampoo. Ethique started in 2012 when founder Brianne was mixing formulas in the kitchen of her New Zealand home. Zero waste wasn’t a big deal then, and solid beauty bars weren’t sold at local and chain stores.
Fast forward to now, where Brianne’s team and inventory has grown to revolutionize the cosmetics industry. Ethique has a goal of putting a bar in every shower, and with a shampoo bar for every hair type and person, it’s hard to stop them from achieving that goal.
Dr. Bronner’s uses its Cosmic Principles to define and guide everything they do, from soapmaking to peacemaking. They focus on themselves, customers, employees, suppliers, the community, and earth to ensure that all are positively impacted by their products.
Fairtrade and organic sugar give Dr. Bronner’s 4-in-1 Organic Pump Soaps a rich caramel color and a sweet smell. Ingredients combine to keep your skin nourished, hydrated and smooth, and each soap is available in three sizes and five scents. Add the Hair Creme to provide light styling hold and silky soft hair.
Lush has roots in the early 70s with Constantine & Weir and Cosmetics To Go before it came to be the popular cosmetic company it is today. Best known for its bath bombs and soaps, Mark Wolverton and Karen Delaney-Wolverton used inspiration from London shops to create a company whose philosophy is using the freshest ingredients, not testing on animals and selling fresh to customers.
Whatever your hair goals, Lush has a shampoo for you. Lush sells a variety of scents for various hair types in both liquid and bar products, and dry shampoo is also available. Liquid shampoos come in recyclable bottles and are available in four sizes, while shampoo bars can be used for up to 80 washes.
Eco Roots was founded in Aspen, Colorado as an eco-conscious and minimalist brand aimed at informing people of the reality of single-use plastic consumption and its impact on future generations. Eco Roots ships completely plastic-free and avoid plastic when it is not necessary.
Eco Roots offers a variety of zero waste shampoo bars, and you can pair each with a zero waste conditioner. Each shampoo bar is 2.25 ounces, and can last around 50 washes.
Sisters Lindsey and Alison Delaphine founded Plaine Products with a dream in mind: to have less plastic in the world. The duo spent a year researching natural products, and have tried and personally approved each of their products.
Available in rosemary mint vanilla and citrus lavender, a 16 ounce refillable shampoo bottle can be purchased for $30, and prices decrease with a subscription. Once you’ve made your first purchase, you can return your bottle for a refill.
The Better Soap Company was founded by Sheri, a full time professor of music theory and a professional French horn player. In 2017, she set out to learn a new skill after trying a bar of her friend’s homemade soap. Soon after starting, her husband asked if she’d considered selling her soap, and the rest is history.
Each The Better Soap product is made by hand using sustainable, local, and cruelty-free ingredients. Shampoo bars are sold in a variety of scents, and each bar should last as long as a 24-ounce shampoo bottle.
Friendly Soap founders Rob and Geoff grew up in West Yorkshire in the 70s, and the hippy and punk culture back then shaped what’s become their lifelong interest in radical political thought and social and environmental justice. Ethics come before profit at Friendly, and the duo is happy to be different.
Friendly Soap offers three scented and one unscented shampoo bar, that can each be paired with a conditioner bar. While most shampoo bars are circular, you’ll find bars that look similarly to bars of soap in the Friendly shop.
Emerson Soaps, based out of Melbourne, Florida, is a handcrafted, all-natural shop specializing in vegan cold-process soap. Each is handcrafted from scratch in small batches using a unique palm-free recipe.
A limited selection of shampoo bars can be found in the Emerson Soaps shop, both in an argan and hemp option. Each bar is 5.5 ounces, and is perfect for any hair kind.
KatieMae Naturals is a small business based in Ohio that sells primarily on Etsy. Marketing her products as wellness magic for the body, mind and soul, Katie Mae crafts a variety of products including soaps, candles, lotion bars, and deodorant.
Her shampoo bars are limited, and her current selection is a rosemary mint hibiscus made from all-natural ingredients and free of artificial fragrance or color. You can also use her dry shampoo in between washes.
Sea and Clean is another Florida-based soap company that has been selling handmade soaps since 2014. Reminding consumers that Ir’s just important what you put on your body as it is what you put into it, founder Chris started using natural soaps and moisturizers himself before crafting them for other people.
Shampoo bars can be purchased in both mini (1 ounce) and full size (4.5 ounces) options, and come in a variety of scents. You can pair your shampoo bar with a conditioner bar, and grab extras like hair rinse and dry shampoo for in-between washes.