Whenever we hear someone; our friend, hairdresser or a stranger on the internet talk about sustainable shampoo, what does it really mean?
Is it made from responsibly-sourced and fair trade ingredients? Or does it refer to a biodegradable, recyclable or zero-waste packaging?
In this article, we will unpack what sustainable shampoo is all about and look at some of the best environmentally friendly shampoo and conditioners that you can buy to help you get healthy hair whilst saving the planet.
We will also look at eco-friendly products that can help you make minimal but meaningful changes to preserve the environment.
Here are some of the recommended sustainable shampoo and conditioners:
- Ethique Eco-Friendly Purple Shampoo Bar
- Reef Safe Shampoo Bar - Coconut
- Orange&Poppy Sunflower Coconut Shampoo Bar
- Foamie Shampoo Bar Hibiskiss
- Coconut Solid Shampoo Bar by Superflysoap
- ACURE Coconut & Argan Shampoo Bar
- Dollylocks Tea Tree Spearmint Dreadlock Shampoo Bar
- Rosemary & Orange Shampoo Bar by SoapCauldron
- Tea Tree sulphate-Free Solid Shampoo Bar
- Coconut Milk Shampoo Bar by AkHippyChic
- Auromere Ayurvedic Shampoo Bar
- SEAandCLEAN Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo Bar
- Strawberry Honey Shampoo Bar by ZirYabsBodyBrew
- Lavender and Rosemary Shampoo Bar by TheCountryEscape
- Organic Cedar + Patchouli Shampoo Bar by AlabamaMudSoapCo
- Zero Waste Conditioner Bar by EcoRootsShop
- HiBar Solid Conditioner Bar
- Lavender and Tea Tree Solid Conditioner Bar by SoapCauldron
- Mango Solid Conditioner Bar by SuperflySoap
- Sherwood Forest Solid Conditioner Bar by MoldMadeSoaps
- Honeysuckle & Jasmine Blossom Solid Hair Conditioner Bar by NaturisticBath
- Organic Argan Oil hair Conditioner Bar By LittleBearBigBear
- Ethique Eco-Friendly Shampoo & Conditioner Bar Bundle
- IndulgeMe Solid Shampoo and Conditioner Bar
- Shampoo & Conditioner Bar Duo by PlasticFreeZone
- MizTag Shampoo Bar and Conditioner
- Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Bar
- Herbal - Oily Hair Shampoo and Conditioner Bar by LittleFarmyard
- Crystal Cole Conditioner and Shampoo Bars
- Lavender Calm Shampoo Bar and Conditioner Bar by PureSabao
- Shampoo and Conditioner Bar Set by NMJHandmade Creations
- Sensitive Scalp Shampoo & Conditioner Bar by EarthlyElixirsShop
Eco-friendly shampoo brands to look out for:
DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, from which I may earn a small commission if you click on them, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for taking a step towards a more sustainable lifestyle!
What Is Eco-Friendly Shampoo?
Nowadays, the word eco-friendly is used a lot. From clothes to makeup, it seems that different industries have been implementing this initiative across the board, but what does it mean?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, eco-friendly (also known as earth-friendly and environmentally friendly) means something that brings very little to no harm to the environment.
The shampoo is a necessity in our daily lives - it is part of our self-care routine, nourishes our natural crown and is widely used by salons, blow dry bars and the like.
Basically, eco-friendly shampoo means that the shampoo is not damaging to the environment.
Sustainable Shampoo Production
In short, this is achieved by ensuring sustainable practices throughout the manufacturing process of the product, from sourcing the raw ingredients to packaging.
Responsibly-Sourced, Natural Ingredients
Ingredients are key to labelling products as environmentally friendly, especially consumer products like shampoo and conditioner.
Sustainable shampoo contains natural, non-toxic ingredients which help to nourish your hair and unleash its glow.
When choosing an earth-friendly shampoo, look out for these ingredients which are highly beneficial for your hair.
Essential oils such as argan oil, avocado oil and tea tree oil are known to provide hydration and nutrients for your crowning glory.
Clay and charcoal, on the other hand, are excellent exfoliators, which removes dirt and oil without damaging your hair. On top of that, coconut oil further strengthens your strands.
Aside from ingredients, the packaging is also crucial in labelling any product as sustainable.
It refers to improving the life cycle of a packaging which lessens the impact on the environment. In this case, the packaging has to be either reusable, recyclable or compostable.
What Shampoo Is Best For The Environment?
Before we help you choose the best sustainable shampoo, let’s take a look at the reasons why you should consider making the switch:
It Is Gentle on Your Hair
Choosing a sustainable shampoo over a mass-manufactured, chemical-laden shampoo will give you healthier, voluminous hair minus the irritations that come in a bottled shampoo.
Chemicals such as parabens and sodium laureth sulphate may bring more harm than benefit in the long run.
Good For The Planet
When you purchase zero-waste products, you reduce your carbon footprint, which plays a big part in conserving the environment and tackling climate change.
Did you know that every year, 9 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean?
Easy on the Budget
Investing in sustainable shampoo shouldn't put a huge dent in your wallet.
This is because shampoo bars are highly concentrated, as they are formulated with much less water than traditional shampoo.
A single shampoo bar can last up to the equivalent of 2 to 3 bottles of shampoo. So when you think about it, that’s a lot less money (and waste) for much more uses!
Types Of Environmentally Friendly Shampoo And Conditioner
There are various selections of earth-friendly shampoo in the market, such as:
- Eco-Friendly Shampoo Bars
- Eco-Friendly Conditioner Bars
- 2-in-1 Eco-Friendly Shampoo and Conditioner
Where Can I Buy An Eco-Friendly Shampoo?
Thanks to technological advancements and the vast availability of WiFi, access to sustainable shampoo is easily available at the tip of our fingers.
Here are some of the best eco-friendly shampoo and conditioners available on the market:
Eco-Friendly Shampoo Bars
A selection of zero-waste shampoo bars to help you reduce waste and get more bang for your buck:
- Ethique Eco-Friendly Purple Shampoo Bar for Blonde & Silver Hair, $17.99
- Reef Safe Shampoo Bar - Coconut, $9.95
- Orange&Poppy Sunflower Coconut Shampoo Bar, $4
- Foamie Shampoo Bar Hibiskiss, $10
- Coconut Solid Shampoo Bar by Superflysoap, $6.39
- ACURE Coconut & Argan Shampoo Bar, $9.37
- Dollylocks Tea Tree Spearmint Dreadlock Shampoo Bar, $19.95
- Rosemary & Orange Shampoo Bar by SoapCauldron, $4
- Tea Tree sulphate-Free Solid Shampoo Bar, $12.99
- Coconut Milk Shampoo Bar by AkHippyChic, $5.40
- Auromere Ayurvedic Shampoo Bar, $9.71
- SEAandCLEAN Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo Bar, $7.60
- Strawberry Honey Shampoo Bar by ZirYabsBodyBrew, $6.92
- Lavender and Rosemary Shampoo Bar by TheCountryEscape, $5.95
- Organic Cedar + Patchouli Shampoo Bar by AlabamaMudSoapCo, $10
Eco-Friendly Conditioner Bars
Concentrated wholesome ingredients come in bar form, too! These are some of the top picks:
- Zero Waste Conditioner Bar by EcoRootsShop, $9.50
- HiBar Solid Conditioner Bar, $13.93
- Lavender and Tea Tree Solid Conditioner Bar by SoapCauldron, $5.75
- Mango Solid Conditioner Bar by SuperflySoap, $7.10
- Sherwood Forest Solid Conditioner Bar by MoldMadeSoaps, $8
- Honeysuckle & Jasmine Blossom Solid Hair Conditioner Bar by NaturisticBath, $10.95
- Organic Argan Oil hair Conditioner Bar By LittleBearBigBear, $10.50
2-In-1 Eco-Friendly Shampoo And Conditioner
Combo packs and zero-waste shampoo and conditioner bars. A bang for your buck and travel friendly.
- Ethique Eco-Friendly Shampoo & Conditioner Bar Bundle, $29
- IndulgeMe Solid Shampoo and Conditioner Bar, $16.99
- Shampoo & Conditioner Bar Duo by PlasticFreeZone, $12.80
- MizTag Shampoo Bar and Conditioner, $22.97
- Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Bar Combo Set, $17.99
- Herbal - Oily Hair Shampoo and Conditioner Bar by LittleFarmyard, $10.15
- Crystal Cole Conditioner and Shampoo Bars, $15
- Lavender Calm Shampoo Bar and Conditioner Bar by PureSabao, $21.95
- Shampoo and Conditioner Bar Set by NMJHandmade Creations, $17.95
- Sensitive Scalp Shampoo & Conditioner Bar by EarthlyElixirsShop, $25
Best Environmentally Friendly Shampoo Brands
Here are some of the best earth-friendly shampoo brands for you to get started:
Ethique is a pioneer in producing a line of solid beauty bars - from shampoo and conditioner to cleanser and scrubs, Ethique is 100% plastic-free and committed to ensuring that ingredients are responsibly-sourced.
Chagrin Valley Soap And Salve
Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve - This family-owned company uses ingredients certified organic by the USDA and ensures their products are sustainably produced.
Rahua - Named after rahua oil, Rahua includes this key ingredient in their products, which have been used by Amazonian women for centuries. They work with the families of the Amazonian tribes to ensure that their products are sustainable and effective, as well as to protect and preserve the rainforest.
Beauty And The Bees
Beauty and The Bees - Beauty and The Bees offers a range of shampoo, in which all-natural ingredients are used in the production. Since their establishment in 1993, they only use earth-friendly packaging and are also cruelty-free.
Is Shampoo Bad For The Environment?
Shampoo in itself is not bad for the environment. However, some of the ingredients (particularly chemicals) used to formulate shampoo may be detrimental to the environment.
Let’s take a look at some of these ingredients:
Sulphates are cleansing agents which are widely used in everyday products, including shampoo.
You may find them in one of their many names, such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES).
Although sulphates play an important role in removing dirt and oil from your hair, it may not be suitable for everyone.
It can irritate sensitive scalp, strip natural oils from your hair as well as cause frizzy hair.
Apart from that, using sulphate-based products can be harmful to the environment. This may lead to water pollution, which can affect the habitat of aquatic life.
Parabens are mainly used as preservatives in cosmetics, skincare and haircare products.
Parabens are added to prolong the shelf life of products by preventing bacteria growth.
Unfortunately, using products with high amounts of parabens may disrupt hormonal functions and cause skin irritations. Additionally, due to the prominence and high usage of parabens, it has become an emerging pollutant and is found in various water sources.
Formaldehyde is another microbe-preventing preservative which is mainly added in shampoo.
It is easily absorbed into the skin, which has been proven to cause allergic reactions with consistent use. Moreover, formaldehyde can be toxic, especially to aquatic life and causes air pollution from industrial emissions.
Are Shampoo Bars Better For The Environment?
Shampoo Bars Are Earth-Friendly
Firstly, shampoo bars are often free from packaging and plastic, so it is practically zero waste and leaves a minimal carbon footprint.
Secondly, producing shampoo bars requires much less energy and the least amount of water than commercial shampoo.
Thirdly, shampoo bars are biodegradable and non-toxic. Besides being plastic-free, they are formulated with ingredients which are good for your hair and do not contribute to pollution, resulting in a greener and cleaner planet Earth.
The Downside To Using Shampoo Bars
The single argument used against using sustainable shampoo bars in our daily routine is the adjustment period.
We may discover that certain shampoo bars do not work for our hair.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of options in the market for different types of hair concerns to accommodate our ever-changing needs.
Are Shampoo Bars Better For Your Hair?
The short answer to this is yes. Shampoo bars are better for your hair.
These are how shampoo bars work to encourage hair growth, provide a boost of nutrients and bring back the natural shine in your hair:
Filled With Nature’s Best
Shampoo bars are manufactured with the wellbeing of the planet in mind. It is packed with the best natural ingredients to ensure similar, if not better results as a traditional shampoo.
Richer Formula For Better Hair
Sustainable shampoo, particularly shampoo bars are made with a lot less water than bottled shampoo.
This means that your hair is extra nourished in every wash due to lathering with concentrated shampoo.
Natural, Shiny Hair
Since shampoo bars are packed with non-toxic, natural ingredients, it can remove the chemical residue from commercial shampoo and permeate your hair with the best nutrition.
As a result, your hair will regain its genuine shine and glow.
List Of Eco-Friendly Products Which Are Good For The Environment
Apart from shampoo, there are countless items that you can start using to help you shift to a more sustainable lifestyle.
They are small changes that you can make every day. Here are some ideas to help you get started on your sustainable living journey:
- Reusable Face Masks
- Tote Bag
- Wooden Cutlery Set
- Reusable Straws
- Beeswax Wraps
- Organic Eye Pillow
- Reusable Razor
- Eco-Friendly Toothbrush, Toothpaste and Dental Floss
- Zero-Waste Dishwashing Soap
- Zero-Waste Detergent
Reusable Face Masks
Nowadays, people are hoarding all sorts of necessities such as food, hand sanitisers and face masks. Instead of continuously buying boxes of disposable face masks, why not switch to a reusable, washable mask instead?
For kids, the 3-ply batik face masks come in vibrant colours. All face masks are layered with filters so you can stay safe in style.
One of the ways to reduce single-use plastic is by using tote bags. It’s versatile, so you can use it for anything - from carrying groceries or work items.
Did we mention that it is also machine washable? Priced from $25, the Batik Tote Bag will keep you going for a long time. Buy Batik Tote Bag
Wooden Cutlery Set
Switch to reusable cutlery when you plan on getting take away food or your next picnic.
Considering the pandemic and the amount of disposable plastic cutlery being used, it is definitely better to have a set of your own cutlery.
This 9-piece wooden cutlery set includes a straw and washing brush. It comes with a chic pouch, too, making it easy to carry around.
It is estimated that 500 million straws are used every day in the US alone. Start reducing your plastic waste today by skipping the straw.
You can start by getting a set of reusable straws for a change.
Reusable straws are available in various materials; such as these metal straws, these bent reusable silicone straws (if you prefer a more natural taste) and these bamboo straws which are all biodegradable.
The straws come with a pouch, so you can take them everywhere you go.
Did you know that cling film or cling wraps are not recyclable? Instead of letting used cling wraps go to waste (no pun intended), why not use beeswax wraps for a change?
It’s reusable, washable and eco-friendly.
It comes in vibrant colours, and you can get them individually or as a combo pack. Buy Beeswax Food Wrap
The commercial loofah sponge gets its name from the luffa plant, which grows on a vine.
An organic loofah is better for your skin and the environment, so it’s a no-brainer to shift to this greener option.
Apart from showers, you can also use these loofah sponge as a substitute for your kitchen sponge.
Organic Eye Pillow
If you are wondering how to adopt a sustainable self-care routine, this organic lavender eye pillow can help you start.
Shaving with disposable razors contributes to plastic pollution. However, you can change this by investing in a reusable razor.
This eco-friendly razor comes with a bamboo handle and a sturdy safety razor, helping you switch the blades easily.
It is suitable to be used for facial as well as delicate shaving needs.
Eco-Friendly Toothbrush, Toothpaste And Dental Floss
Level up your dental health game by using biodegradable toothbrushes. Check out this pack of 10 biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes which can be shared with your whole family.
In case you’re wondering, there is also an environmentally friendly toothpaste alternative.
Complete your earth-friendly brushing routine with these zero-waste dental floss, made from natural ingredients and comes in plastic-free packaging.
Zero-Waste Dishwashing Soap
Commercial dishwashing soap comes in plastic bottles which though recyclable, contributes to more waste.
Make your washing more green (environmentally speaking) and give eco-friendly detergent a try.
These waste-free laundry detergent tabs are non-toxic and come in different sizes to suit each washing load.
If you prefer a powder version, this natural laundry detergent works wonders to remove stubborn stains and keep your clothes smelling fresh.
Bottom Line - Are Sustainable Shampoos Worth The Switch?
The shift to adopt a sustainable lifestyle definitely pays off.
Not only does using sustainable shampoo help you save money and the planet, but you are also instilling good habits that benefit yourself as well as the planet, in the long run - by reducing waste and using better quality products.
It is also worth noting that adopting a sustainable lifestyle means taking it one step at a time.
Small switches that you choose to make today will bring as much of a good impact as significant changes do.
If you have used zero-waste shampoos or any of the eco-friendly products mentioned above, share your experience with us in the comments section below!