8 Zero Waste Shampoo & Conditioners Made By Sustainable Brands

A person washing their hair with zero waste shampoo and conditioner.

Everyone deserves a head of clean and healthy hair.

Nobody should have to wash and condition their locks with harsh chemicals packaged in plastic, but most people do!

So, I decided to take the time to find the best zero waste shampoo and conditioners out there.

What you can expect from this guide is a variety of options made by brands with sustainable values that work just as well as traditional products.

That means haircare made without unnecessary ingredients like petroleum, palm oil, or animal products – things that can have negative environmental and health impacts.

Anyways, let’s get right into the best haircare products.

Zero Waste Shampoo & Conditioner Options

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Ethique – Top Choice

A set of shampoo and conditioner bars by Ethique.

Ethique’s haircare bars are my favorite, hands down.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t other great options out there, but Ethique’s just work for me and my preferences when it comes to shampoo and conditioner.

The biggest reason I love these bars is that because of how little is required to lather into a huge foamy beast, they last forever (and smell incredible).

I mean if you’re going to replace liquid shampoo bottles, you want your new product to last a long time, right? It just makes sense from a sustainable perspective.

They make a few different sets of these bars – my favorite is the Live and Let Shine duo made for balanced hair, and I find it works great even on days where I need some extra grease busting after a tough workout.

Ethique’s sustainable face wash and deodorant tubes are also top tier!

Extra Ethique Brand Info:

  • Certified B Corp
  • Certified Palm Oil Free
  • Leaping Bunny Member
  • 2% sales to charity


Bars of shampoo and conditioner made by Etee.

Etee makes another one of my favorite shampoo and conditioner bundles, but they do differ from Ethique’s in a few ways.

If you regularly find yourself with a greasy head of hair at the end of the day, this might be the best choice for you.

The reason why it’s so good is that while the shampoo bars lather up well and strip away dirt and grime, the conditioner bars aren’t as heavy on the moisturizing as other options.

So if you need a clean head of hair but don’t necessarily want too much conditioning going on, that’s where Etee’s haircare bars shine.

After all, everyone’s hair is entirely unique and some people need less product than others in order to feel comfortable.

I also use Etee’s electric toothbrush on a daily basis – and swapping out your dental care products is just as valid as your skincare routine.


Six bars of shampoo and conditioner bars by EcoRoots.

EcoRoots stocks over 10 different fragrances of sustainable shampoo and conditioner bars – the most variety from any brand I’ve come across.

Which means if you’re looking for a rare scent or just want to try something new, EcoRoots might be a good match! Where else are you going to find fragrances like Honeydew or CocoLima Colada?

Their bars are a bit on the smaller side compared to other brands, but that could actually be an upside if you’re someone who travels a lot.

With that being said, even if they are a bit small they lather up insanely fast even with a tiny amount, so it balances out.

Similar to their hair care, EcoRoot’s plastic free shaving bar is also the most-foamy one I’ve come across that doesn’t come from an aerosol can.

Extra EcoRoots Brand Info:

  • 1% For The Planet Member

Meow Meow Tweet

A bar of shampoo made by Meow Meow Tweet wrapped in paper.
Image via Meow Meow Tweet

Meow Meow Tweet has a few different hair care bars in scents like Rosemary Avocado and Lavender Coconut Milk – and a couple more conditioner choices as well.

They also have some powder-based options that come in recyclable aluminum bottles if you’re looking for a travel option or just prefer that (the powders are cheaper, too).

Now, something to be aware of with these bars – if you have hard water with a high mineral concentration, it could react a bit strangely.

It doesn’t always happen, but because of how well these bars will clean your hair, sometimes combining that with certain tap waters can lead to your hair being too clean and drying out.

Extra Meow Meow Tweet Brand Info:

  • Certified B Corp
  • Leaping Bunny Member

Fat And The Moon

A bar of conditioner wrapped in paper made by Fat And The Moon

If you’re looking for some low-maintenance hair care options, Fat And The Moon has you covered.

Not everyone needs an extremely foamy shampoo, sometimes a simple but effective bit of cleaning and conditioning is all you need.

Just run their bar duo through your hair a few times per week (or less) and you’ll be good to go – and their simple ingredients are perfect for anyone who prefers earthy fragrances!

Simple isn’t bad (despite what the beauty industry may claim), and in this case Fat And The Moon designed these concentrated bars to work for all hair types without too much fuss.

Plaine Products

Metal bottles of Plaine Products shampoo and conditioner.

Plaine Products makes liquid hair care products worth talking about, which is impressive considering how efficient bars can be.

Their liquid formulas come in a few simple and light fragrances like citrus lavender, rosemary mint vanilla, and an unscented version if you’re looking for something basic.

The best part about this brand (aside from what’s inside the bottles) is that you can send back the aluminum packaging when you’re done, and they’ll both recycle them and send you replacements.

The optional plastic pump dispenser can be reused with the refills as well!

Plaine Product’s bottled lotion is another one of their products I’d be quick to recommend if you want to try something new.

Extra Plaine Products Brand Info:

  • Certified B Corp
  • Leaping Bunny Member
  • 1% For The Planet Member

Chagrin Valley

Conditioning shampoo butter bar by Chagrin Valley in paper packaging.
Image via Chagrin Valley

Chagrin Valley’s goal with this hair butter bar was to make a creamy and sustainable 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner bar, meaning you don’t necessarily have to also use a conditioner if you’re using this bar.

For the minimalists, this could be a game changer that could cut down on clutter in your bathroom.

For everyone else, it’s just a solid option for those who like Chagrin’s product lineup, which is full of organic, non-GMO, and vegan skincare goodness.

If this rich and buttery option is too oily for your hair, you can always check out the rest of the shampoo bars they make, but watch out for palm oil in the ingredients, as they sometimes include it.

Extra Chagrin Valley Brand Info:

  • Leaping Bunny Member
  • Certified USDA Organic

Butter Me Up Organics

A glass and metal container of dry shampoo by Butter Me Up Organics.

Butter Me Up Organics makes a butane free, environmentally friendly shampoo powder without any of the usual harmful ingredient suspects.

They combine ingredients like baking soda and kaolin clay, charcoal, cinnamon and nutmeg into a fine powder that easily forms a paste when wet – and that’s how you should apply it too.

Simply lather up a small bit of the powder in wet hands until it’s foamy and then use it like a normal shampoo!

They stock a few finishes: black, brown, and blonde; so if you’re someone looking for color-safe sustainable shampoo, this may be the best power option out there.

Definitely check out their Etsy shop if you like supporting small zero waste businesses, because they stock a lot of other goodies as well.

Hair care shouldn’t involve plastic

Shampoo and conditioners lead to a crazy amount of plastic waste simply due to the sheer amount of it being used everyday around the world.

As a species of hairy apes, we tend to like to clean ourselves regularly (well, most of us anyways) and most options you’ll readily find at the store involve plastic in one way or another.

Sadly, plastic recycling is essentially not possible on a wide scale right now, and even if it was – do we really want to encourage more plastic production?

Plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner on store shelves.

The small choices you make everyday do impact the world around you, even if corporations are the ones producing the plastic to begin with.

And by switching to shampoo and conditioners that are packaged sustainably and formulated without insane amounts of random chemicals, you’re working towards eliminating the stress of adding to current environmental issues!

Seriously, it’s stressful knowingly contributing to these issues – especially when it feels impossible to do anything about it.

So pick up some hair care products that use easily recyclable and compostable materials instead, you’ll thank me later.

Ingredients to avoid in shampoo and conditioner

There’s a staggering amount of variety when it comes to types of shampoo and conditioner, and an overwhelming number of choices can easily lead to frustration.

That’s kind of the point, anyways – beauty brands want you to feel like you absolutely need a shiny colorful bottle of shampoo.

What they don’t want you doing is any sort of research about their ingredient labels, which are just long lists of chemicals you’ve never heard of.

Take a look at the shampoo label below which highlights petroleum derived chemicals, animal products, and other bad stuff that you don’t want anywhere near your scalp.

Shampoo bottle label highlighted to show ingredients to avoid.

As you can see, your common bottle of hair product is filled to the brim with these ingredients, and when you use them you end up exposing yourself to them in a variety of ways.

Now, imagine the potential long term implications of these chemicals entering both your body and the environment over decades! The full list of chemicals you want to avoid is pretty mind boggling, and impossible to completely cover in this guide.

But if you want to get a better grasp on the most common problem chemicals, make sure to check out my guide on ingredients to avoid in skincare.

If you’re looking for a more general guide on other brands, take some time to browse my overview of skincare brands.

With that being said, let’s look at a few you may have heard of already:

  • Siloxanes
  • PEGs & PPGs


Used for smoothing and detangling hair, you can find siloxanes in most conventional hair care products out there.

Ironically, using products with a lot of siloxanes such as dimethicone everyday can lead to an oily, greasy buildup in your roots that wouldn’t exist normally, which means you’ll end up using even more product to sort the issue out.

Siloxanes like dimethicone and other similar molecules are also considered to be intentionally added microplastics, in some cases.

Although, the regulations and discussion surrounding these chemicals aren’t very clear as of yet, which is exactly what the petroleum industry wants.

They even accumulate in concentrated amounts in sewage sludge (pictured below) treated at wastewater facilities, which is then sometimes used as fertilizer.

Sewage sludge being pushed by a farm tractor.
Image by SuSanA Secretariat via Flickr

That’s right, your solid and liquid sewage is turned into fertilizer for the crops you eat, and most of the time it’s impossible to filter out every harmful chemical that comes with it!

The global production of silicone based chemicals is massive, which means they end up washing down billions of residential and commercial drains everyday, and end up in aquatic ecosystems.


Polyethylene glycols compounds (PEGs) and polypropylene glycols (PPGs) are petroleum derived chemicals used as a base for pretty much every cosmetic and skincare product imaginable.

Oil refineries like the one below are where many harmful petrochemicals like PEGs and PPGs originate.

Large oil refinery viewed from above.
Image by jqpubliq via Flickr

Another big issue with PEGs and PPGs is that their labeling on products can be confusing or outright misleading.

They can be listed under hundreds of different names and they’re often combined with other chemicals, muddying the waters even further. This kind of labeling is pretty sinister, as its often intentional to make things hard to sort out.

In addition to being confusing, during production PEGs and PPGs can become contaminated with carcinogenic impurities like heavy metals and 1,4-dioxane.

What animal products are in shampoo and conditioners?

Vegan and cruelty free shampoo and conditioners (like the ones I’ve recommended) won’t contain animal products or test on animals of course, but being able to identify them is a great skill to have.

So always be on the lookout for ingredients like:

  • Casein (animal milk protein)
  • Silk powder (silkworm cocoons)
  • Gelatin (animal bones)

Do you need to wash and condition your hair everyday?

Humans don’t absolutely have to wash their hair, but not washing it will lead to your scalp and hair eventually being gunked up with greasy and smelly stuff like dead skin, hair, and bacteria.

You definitely don’t need to wash or condition your hair everyday though, and many people choose to wash their hair with conditioner and skip the shampoo altogether.

Either way, gone are the days where sustainable products didn’t work that well or simply smelled terrible – they do both now, even better than conventional products!

Final thoughts

In this guide I’ve made it easy for you to find a zero waste shampoo and conditioner that works for your specific hair type while minimizing harm to the environment.

You don’t have to settle for poorly made “natural” products anymore!

Instead, support the numerous brands making haircare bars, liquids, and powders without plastic or harsh chemicals.

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