Not only does this one set of products fill up our landfills and worsen the planet’s plastic pollution, but the chances of the bottles being made from 100% recycled materials and then being recycled are extremely low.
Switching to a plastic free shampoo is not only easy, but the contents are usually better for your hair and gentler on your scalp as they will not contain nasty chemicals and fillers.
There are so many eco-friendly shampoos out there (and not all of them are bars); some are liquids in glass or aluminium bottles, some are tablets and powders, and there’s one that is in plastic but offers 5L refills from recyclable bottles. (Check out these 10 Plastic Free Conditioners to complete your hair washing routine).
Whatever your hair type there is an eco-friendly, plastic-free shampoo for you!
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Brand | Battle Green
Features | This zero-waste and eco-friendly shop is based in Wales. Their products are FSC and Leaping Bunny Certified.
You also have the option to order your bar wrapped in paper or in a reusable tin.
The bars come in fresh scents like Lavender and Tea Tree, Mint, and Citrus. Expect to get around 80 washes with one bar.
Brand | Friendly Soap
Features | This UK made soap is vegan and cruelty free. It has no palm oil, parabens or SLS. The packaging is a fully recyclable cardboard box. No plastic in sight.
This bar tends to do better in soft water, so if you have hard water, you may want to try an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse.
Brand | Living Naturally
Features | The Coconutty Soapnut Bar uses organic ingredients and is cruelty-free with no animal testing.
The bar is suitable for all hair types and comes in a cute reusable cotton bag.
Brand | Fair Squared
Features | Fair Squared uses FairTrade certified ingredients that are vegan and not tested on animals.
The pack is for two bars and it comes with a cotton pouch to store the bars in.
Brand |J.R. Liggett’s
Features |J.R. Liggett’s is a zero waste companythat produces vegan, cruelty-free products.
The shampoo bars use simple, natural products that are suitable for all hair types and can even double as a shaving bar.
Brand | Acala
Features | Acala shampoo bars are handmade in Wales using vegan, cruelty-free ingredients and no plam oil.
The bars are wrapped in recycled kraft paper that can be recycled or composted.
Plastic Free Shampoo (Not Bars)
Brand | Beauty Kubes
Features | These little cubes come in boxes of 27. If you have long hair you’ll use one cube, but if you have short hair you can get away with half.
The cubes are organic, vegan and cruelty free. The box is recyclable and the wrapping on the inside can be composted at home so no waste.
If you aren’t quite sure about these little cubes, you can grab a travel size box (which is 3 cubes) and try them out.
They have different formulas for different hair types including a 2-in-1 shampoo and body wash and a men’s version.
Brand | Beauty Kitchen
Features | Beauty Kitchen is a Certified B Corporation that is made in the UK. The ingredients are vegan and free from animal testing.
The bottle is aluminium with a rock paper label. They are also creating a closed-loop system as all of their products with the ‘Return, Refill, Repeat’ stamp can be sent back to them (for free in the UK), so they can be washed out and reused in the next batch of products.
Brand | Conscious Skincare
Features | Conscious Skincare uses organic, vegan ingredients and is Leaping Bunny certified.
The bottle is glass with an aluminium top. You can request a reusable plastic pump dispenser for the first bottle if you need one.
If using glass concerns you, you can always save your last plastic shampoo bottle and refill it with the Conscious bottle. You reuse the plastic bottle and keep it from landfill and recycle easily recycled materials-glass and aluminium- instead.
Brand | Millie and Sissy
Features | This little sachet of vegan, cruelty-free ingredients is a powder that you mix with your own bottle of water to make the shampoo. It makes 500mls worth of shampoo.
The sachet is made from paper and vegetable based lining so you can pop it in your compost bin when you are done mixing.
Brand | Funky Soap
Features | These little cubes are handmade in small batches in the UK using natural, vegan ingredients that aren’t tested on animals.
Each box contains 40 cubes which is good for 40 washes. There are different formulations for dry, oily, and sensitive scalps, too.
Brand | Moo Hair
Features | Moo Hair is made in Scotland using natural ingredients that are not tested on animals.
The ingredients are specifically formulated to protect your hair from UV exposure and environmental toxins, so a great choice for summer.
The bottle is glass and can be shipped with or without the plastic pump.
If you are a klutz like me, you may just want to save your last plastic bottle and refill it with Moo Hair. No need for a plastic pump and no need to worry about accidently dropping it either!
Brand | Awake Organics
Features | Awake Organics is made in the UK using ingredients that are Soil Association Certified Organic, Fair-trade, Wild-crafted, Food Grade, or Local Organic from the UK and Italy.
This tiny bottle is actually filled with powder that you tip into your hand and add water to and create a lather in your hair.
The aluminium bottle and powder form makes this especially convenient for air travel.
Brand | Nereus London
Features | Nereus shampoos are made in the UK using natural, organic ingredients that are vegan friendly.
The bottle is made from 100% aluminium and a woodpulp label that it biodegradeable.
Brand | Sop
Features | Sop is made in the UK using natural, organic ingredients that are vegan and cruelty-free.
The bottles are 100% aluminium making them easily recycleable.
They offer two sizes 250ml and a 50ml travel or sample size if you want to give it a try.
Brand | Fulfilled
Features | Fulfilled is a big 500ml aluminium bottle of natural, vegan-friendly ingredients.
What makes this company unique is they have a refill pouch you can order and send back to Fulfilled for recycling. No waste.
Plastic Free Dry Shampoos
Brand | Sea and Clean
Features | No nasty chemicals from aerosols like isobutane, butane, and propane. Instead this lovely powder dry shampoo uses moisture (and odor absorbing) ingredients like arrowroot and koalin clay.
It comes in 3 different shades for easy blending, too.
Brand | Dirty Hippie Cosmetics
Features | Another powder dry shampoo that contains non GMO cornflour and Bamboo powder. Bamboo powder is high in silica which is often used in hair growth serums along with powdered nettle leaf.
This powder is available in three shades, though you can message for custom options. There are also refills available.
Plastic Free Dandruff Shampoos
Brand | Green People
Features | It may look like plastic, but don’t be fooled, Green People uses plant based materials for their products. Sustainably sourced sugar cane in this case that happens to be completely carbon neutral.
The company itself uses organic, vegan, and cruelty free products and this tube of shampoo shampoo should last around three months. There’s also a Men’s Dandruff Shampoo, too.
Brand | Andrea’s Organic Market
Features |Lots of lovely, organic ingredients to bring the moisture back to your scalp without leaving your hair oily.
The bars are packaged in recycled paper and sent in recycled packaging as well.
Since the bars are so popular they tend to sell out, but you can also give the dandruff serum a go. You rub it on your scalp and leave it for 20 minutes before washing as usual.
Brand | Hank’s Garden
Features | This shampoo is all organic ingredients that are vegan and cruelty-free. It comes in an aluminium bottle with a plastic pump that can be reused indefinitely when you order the refill bottle without the pump.
The shampoo can also double as a body wash and there is a complimenting conditioner that doubles as shave cream, too.
There’s even travel sizes. With refills available, too.
Brand | Fushi
Features |Fushi shampoo is full of ingredients to soothe and moisturise your scalp. The oils are all organic and all of the ingredients are vegan and cruelty-free.
The shampoo comes in a glass bottle that does have a plastic pump, but they can easily be repurposed for handsoap or used at your favourite refill shop for body wash.
Plastic Free Colour-Friendly Shampoos
Brand | Care Bare Shampoo Bars
Features |These bars are unique in the sense that they were created by a hairdresser with 20 years experience in the salon. So if she says this is good for colour-treated hair (as well as curly hair) then I am ready to try it out.
She also offers a violet shampoo bar specifically for blonde, silver and grey hair to tone down any brassy or yellow tones.
Brand | Naturtint
Features | Naturtint shampoo bars are Ecocert certified as all natural ingredients. They are also vegan products.
What I like about Naturtint is that they also make low-toxic hair dye (which I use and it covers my grey nicely) so their shampoo bars will nicely compliment their own colour products.
Plastic Free Kids Shampoos
Brand | Rowdy Kind
Features | Rowdy Kind are children-specific bars that come in fun scents and most importantly. They. Float.
This bar is specifically made to keep your little’s hair from tangling but they also have 2-in-1 bars that can be used for their hair and body. Follow up with the Man-Go with the Flo conditioner bar and you will have happy kids indeed.
Brand | Dr. Bronner’s
Features | Ok not plastic-free. However, Dr. Bronner’s Shikakai Liquid soap is gentle enough for babies, but can be used for the whole family’s face, hands, body, and hair.
If you don’t get the Shikakai-specific shampoo, Dr. Bronner’s is known for being an 18-in-one product that can clean you and your house potentially eliminating the need to buy other products.
The ingredients are certified organic and most of them are also fair-trade certified.
Many scents are available in jumbo 3.8L refills so you can save the smaller bottle for refills.
No Poo Option
If phasing out shampoo completely is something you have thought about, then Shikakai powder may be for you.
Brand | Hello to Health
Features | This powder no poo is made by a small family company in England using just three ingredients- Reetha, Amla and Shikakai powder. This blend of all three powders creates the ultimate natural hair, shampoo-less treatment.
Available in 100g sachets if you want to try it.
How Do I Use a Shampoo Bar?
Shampoo bars can be used by making a lather in your hands and washing your hair with the lather, or by rubbing the bar directly to your hair. Make sure you rinse really well especially if you have hard water. A vinegar rinse may be necessary to remove any residue.
Is There a Transition Phase When Switching to a Natural Shampoo?
It really depends on your hair. Some people can switch with no issues and others may experience a period of detoxing where your hair adjusts to the change in chemicals. Make sure to rinse well, especially the back of your head, as hard water can react with bars and leave a residue. A weak apple cider vinegar rinse can help.
Do I need to do a vinegar rinse when using a shampoo bar?
If you live in a hard water area, a residue can be left behind, so an apple cider vinegar rinse can help remove that residue.
Using an apple cider vinegar rinse also helps to leave your hair shiny and conditioned.
Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Mix one part Apple Cider Vinegar with 3 parts water
(I mix the rinse in a pyrex measuring cup)
You can pour the mix directly on your head or pour small amounts into your hand and work through your hair. A dark glass spray bottle would also make it easier to apply and keep it from breaking down faster.
Condition after your rinse.
Caring for Your Shampoo Bars
As with any soap bar, if you let your shampoo bar sit in a puddle of water it will break down and wear away quick.
Use a dedicated soap dish or tray so your soap can dry out completely.
You can also cut off a small piece of the bar and use that, so the entire bar is not getting wet every time. When you finish using the one piece you can cut off another.
The Benefits of Plastic Free Shampoos
Making the choice to use a plastic free shampoo, will save hundreds of bottles (in your lifetime) from being sent to a landfill or incinerator.
In my effort to waste less I also wash my hair less. It took a couple months, but I worked my way to washing my hair once a week. Most shampoo bars last anywhere from 55-80 washes. So for me, one bar can easily last me over a year.
You are being exposed to less toxic chemicals.
Sulfates, parabens and other chemicals proving to be toxic to humans, have no business being in our products. While many are deemed safe in small amounts, what happens when we add up all those small amounts from all of our daily products? (The average woman uses 16 products containing around 168 chemicals every day.
They probably aren’t such small amounts anymore.
The companies that care enough to not use a plastic bottle are also the companies that are likely to use natural, organic, vegan ingredients.
They also will be the companies that don’t test on animals.
Plastic free shampoos are good for you, the animals, and the planet, so this switch is really a no brainer!
Let me know which one you fall in love with in the comments below.