Zero Waste Shampoo Guide for Eco-Friendly Hair Care

Zero Waste Shampoo

Different varieties of shampoo have dominated the hair care products market for years. However, most of these popular options have not been eco-friendly and have posed many negative impacts on our health and our environment. Did you know that shampoo bottles contribute massively to the amount of plastic waste in landfills? According to statistics by Johnson and Johnson, roughly 552 million shampoo bottles are dumped into landfills, just in the United States alone annually!

Traditional shampoos contain harmful toxins, such as silicon and parabens, that cause dryness of the scalp and hair by stripping them of essential oils. In addition, the plastic packaging of traditional shampoos contributes to more plastic waste in landfills when the shampoo bottles are disposed of after use. 

The environmental hazards caused by these traditional shampoos are what necessitated a shift into using zero waste shampoos. These are the main characteristics of zero waste shampoos:

Eco-friendly shampoos are made from natural ingredients

These include chamomile, natural oils, coconut oils, etc., and are more concentrated due to a low volume of water. They, therefore, lather or foam easily and tend to last longer.

Zero waste shampoos have biodegradable packaging

Eco-friendly shampoos that have packaging are usually recyclable and biodegradable. No plastic bottles here!

Zero waste shampoos are convenient and easy to use

They take up less space and some forms cannot spill, for example, zero-waste shampoo bars.

Zero waste shampoo and conditioner are better alternatives for your hair

They strengthen your hair, boost its thickness and volume, and make it shinier, proving you can enjoy beautiful hair while being mindful of your environment. No harmful chemicals that dry your hair out over time like in traditional shampoos.

Benefits of Using a Zero waste Shampoo

Natural Ingredients for Zero Waste Shampoo

Zero waste shampoo bars help you save money

Shampoo bars last approximately three times longer than the traditional bottled shampoo. This is because the shampoo bars are significantly more concentrated. You only need a small amount for each washing session.

Zero waste shampoo helps reduce plastic waste

Shampoo plastic bottles add to the plastic waste in landfills when disposed of. However, zero waste shampoo is plastic-free and eco-friendly. The packaging is usually biodegradable and made of easily compostable materials, like biodegradable cardboard. Or, it’s made of easily recyclable (and reuseable) aluminum.

Zero waste shampoo is made of natural ingredients and is vegan-friendly

Zero waste shampoo is made from products that are naturally derived from plant extracts and other safe minerals. They do not contain sulfates, parabens, silicon, or other chemical substances that may be detrimental to the health of your hair. Zero waste shampoo will, therefore, be gentle on your hair.

Zero waste shampoo will help preserve the color of your hair

Non-eco-friendly shampoos generally contain sulfates and parabens which are usually used as preservatives. These tend to strip essential oils from your hair and scalp and make the color of your hair fade very fast. With zero waste shampoos, there are no synthetic chemicals, which helps to maintain the color of your hair for longer.

How Do I Make Zero Waste Shampoo?

One of the easiest ways to create your own zero waste shampoo at home is by using soap nuts. Soap nuts refer to the husks of dried soapberries. These contain a substance called saponin. Saponin is the substance responsible for giving soaps their lathering abilities.

Here is an easy zero waste shampoo recipe that you can follow to create your very own zero waste shampoo.


  • 2 soap nuts
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 glass jar
  • 1 cup of coconut oil

Zero Waste Shampoo Recipe

  1. Pour the cup of warm water into the glass jar.
  2. Put your soap nuts into the warm water in the glass jar.
  3. Shake the contents of the glass jar several times.
  4. Allow the contents to settle for approximately half an hour. This will make your soap nuts soft.
  5. Depending on your preference, you can crush or blend your soap nuts.
  6. Mix 1 tablespoon of your blended soap nut solution with a cup of water.
  7. Slowly add coconut oil to the mixture and stir. Coconut oil helps to make your hair soft and supple.
  8. Your shampoo is now ready to be stored in a glass jar for use as needed.

Top 7 Zero Waste Shampoo Brands

There are a growing number of zero-waste shampoo brands on the market that are sold online and in stores near you. Here a several well-known brands:

Plaine Products Shampoo

Plaine Products Shampoo is one of the best zero-waste shampoos that use natural, non-toxic ingredients. Their shampoo is silicon-free, sulfate-free, and does not contain palm oil. The shampoo from Plaine Products comes in reusable aluminum bottles that have a reusable plastic pump.

When you have finished your shampoo and wish to purchase more, return your empty container to Plaine Products in the box that they initially used to ship the shampoo to you.

Sintra Naturals Shampoo

This is considered one of the best zero-waste shampoos. The Sintra Naturals Shampoo is made from natural plant extracts that are biodegradable. Sintra Naturals Shampoo also comes in the form of shampoo bars that contain argan oil, which is known to promote the health and texture of your hair.

Their packaging is environmentally friendly, as they use biodegradable cardboard boxes and paper wrappers for the shampoo bars.

Tints of Nature Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Tints of Nature Sulfate-Free Shampoo is made from plant-based and natural ingredients that will not negatively impact the environment. One of the natural ingredients used in making this shampoo is chamomile, while the other is Aloe. These eco-friendly substances are very effective at dealing with inflammation and are also good soothing agents. Tints of Nature Sulfate-free Shampoo is silicone-free and does not contain sodium chloride, which may make your scalp dry.

The bottle used in packaging this shampoo is made of recyclable plastic and is shipped in recycled cardboard.

Aspen Kay Naturals Shampoo

The Aspen Kay Naturals Shampoo is gentle on your hair and comes in the form of shampoo bars. These are made from natural ingredients like hibiscus, argan oil, chamomile, and turmeric. These substances are good soothing agents and possess antiseptic properties that help promote your hair’s health.

Aspen Kay Naturals Shampoo is sulfate-free, paraben-free, silicone-free, and does not contain any artificial dye. It is a great product that can serve many different types of hair.

Ethique Shampoo

Ethique Shampoo is made of natural and sustainable ingredients such as peppermint extract and cocoa butter. It comes in the form of shampoo bars and is a vegan product that does not contain any plastic.

The Ethique Shampoo Bar is suitable for different colored hair and all types of hair. It also lathers up quickly and will moisturize your hair, leaving it shinier. Ethique Shampoo comes in plastic-free packaging that is compostable and reusable.

Butter Me Up Natural Organic Dry Shampoo

Butter Me Up Natural Organic Dry Shampoo is made from natural ingredients, such as sodium bicarbonate, kaolin clay, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder, and activated charcoal. The shampoo has zero sulfates, zero phthalates, zero parabens, and zero synthetic chemicals, and comes in the form of bars. Butter Me Up Natural Organic Dry Shampoo is great for your scalp and will not make it dry.

The shampoo is packaged in glass bottles, tin, and paperboard material that are environmentally friendly.

Foamie Solid Shampoo Bars

Foamie Solid Shampoo Bars are 100% plastic-free shampoo bars that are made from natural ingredients. Foamie Solid Shampoo Bars contain hibiscus extracts, nettle plant extracts, coconut oil, aloe vera, almond oil, wheat protein, and sunflower oil. They do not have any mineral oils, have zero parabens or silicon, and are 100% vegan-friendly.

Another great feature of the Foamie Solid Shampoo Bars is that they are pH optimized. The pH balance will help you clean your hair thoroughly and gently, from the roots to the tips.

You can use the Foamie Solid Shampoo Bars for up to 25 washes. The shampoo comes in different varieties, listed below.

  • The ‘Shake Your Coconuts’ shampoo is made from natural ingredients like wheat protein and coconut oil. It is great at making your hair shinier.
  • The ‘Aloe You Vera Much’ shampoo is made from almond oil and, of course, aloe vera. It is effective at moisturizing dry hair and giving you a healthier scalp.
  • The ‘Hibiskiss’ shampoo is made from nettle plant extracts and hibiscus extracts that are crucial in strengthening brittle hair.
  • The ‘You’re Adorabowl’ shampoo is made from almond extracts. It is very effective at boosting the volume of thin hair and making it shinier.

Pros And Cons of Using a Zero Waste Shampoo


  • Zero waste shampoos contribute less plastic waste because they come in recyclable or reusable packaging, including glass containers or compostable cardboard paper.
  • Zero waste shampoos bars are cost-effective because they last longer than non-eco-friendly, traditional liquid shampoos.
  • They are made of natural ingredients, like aloe vera and almond extract, and are free from synthetic chemical substances, such as parabens. These synthetic chemicals are harsh on your hair because they strip essential oils from your scalp and leave it dry.
  • Zero waste shampoo in the form of shampoo bars offer increased convenience, especially when traveling about because they do not spill, as is the case with the traditional, non-eco-friendly, liquid shampoo.


  • They are made of natural ingredients and do not contain preservatives such as parabens. which means they are more susceptible to expiring faster.
  • Some zero waste shampoos, such as the Bestowed Essentials Natural Aloe & Tea Tree Shampoo Bar, tend to make your hair too oily and heavy.
  • Some zero waste shampoos, such as the J.R. LIGGETT’S All-Natural Shampoo Bar, are hard to rinse off.


What does zero waste shampoo mean? 

Zero waste shampoo refers to a shampoo that does not contain harmful toxins and ingredients and is made of natural substances. Zero waste shampoo and conditioner come with eco-friendly packaging that biodegrades quickly, without negative impact on the environment. Zero waste shampoo often comes in the form of shampoo bars that help prevent waste that would have resulted from unrecyclable packaging.

What makes regular shampoo bad for your hair?

Shampoos have many ingredients that are harmful to your hair. These include:

  1. Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
    • Ammonium lauryl sulfate will scrape essential oils from your scalp when you are rinsing your hair. It can also make your hair more brittle and more susceptible to breakage.
  2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
    • Sodium lauryl sulfate can make your hair follicles weak. In addition, it can strip essential oils from your scalp and make your hair color fade, if you have dyed your hair.
  3. Parabens
    • Parabens are used as preservatives but are known to have the potential to cause the growth of cancer cells in the breasts of females.
  4. Sodium Chloride (salt)
    • Sodium chloride can contribute to hair loss by making your scalp dry and itchy.
  5. Formaldehyde
    • Formaldehyde is widely recognized as a carcinogenic substance. It is added to shampoo as a preservative.  

What makes a shampoo eco-friendly?

Shampoo is considered eco-friendly if it is made from natural ingredients, such as essential oils, natural minerals, and plant extracts. Zero waste shampoo and conditioner are also regarded as eco-friendly if it comes in recyclable packaging made of aluminum material, reusable glass bottles, compostable cardboard or paper, and metal or aluminum containers.

Why is shampoo not eco-friendly?

Shampoo contains synthetic chemicals that may pass through our drainage systems and get into our waterways. Here, they will affect both marine life and anyone that consumes water from these sources.

Why are shampoo bottles bad? 

Shampoo bottles are plastic and will add to plastic waste in a landfill when disposed of. It will take up to 1000 years for shampoo bottles to decompose into microplastics. These microplastics are toxic and will affect marine life when they find their way into our water sources. 


The benefits we can get from embracing zero waste shampoos far outweigh any downsides they may have. Zero waste shampoos allow you to nurture healthier hair sustainably while promoting the conservation of your environment. Try it out today!

Check out this article to learn about how to start a Zero-Waste Kitchen.