We are so used to seeing shampoos and conditioners in sturdy plastic bottles that it can take a while to realize the growing need for eco-friendly and zero-waste shampoo and conditioners.
In fact, the shampoos and conditioners that we use day in and out are extremely unhealthy - for the environment and our health! Every year, nearly 552 million bottles of shampoo end up in landfills, which is equal to 1,164 football pitches! Besides, this figure doesn’t include conditioners, hair gels, or other personal care products.
Best eco-friendly shampoos and conditioners - The rundown
What shampoos and conditioners are bad for the environment?
We use shampoos and conditioners regularly. You’d think that such essential products wouldn’t contain any chemicals right?
Well, that’s not the case here. Shampoos and conditioners are made with common ingredients, but that doesn’t mean it is safe. Shampoos are designed to lather abundantly and make your hair feel “squeaky” clean. Conditioners are engineered to add moisture without leaving oil residue.
However, this is achieved by using many harmful ingredients like sulfates, silicones, parabens, SLS, and other toxic chemicals.
that it not only affects the scalp and hair but can also disrupt the hormonal balance. Besides the chemicals, most of the regular shampoos and conditioners are filled in plastic bottles that not only pollute the environment but also change the chemical composition of the shampoos and conditioners themselves.
Which shampoos and conditioners are environmentally friendly?
Various factors make an eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner
- Organic shampoo and conditioner ingredients: The ingredients are expected to be clean, ethically and naturally sourced and with few or no chemicals. These types of shampoos and conditioners are generally quite gentle to the skin and hair, which makes them perfect for sensitive scalps as well.
- Eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner packaging: Packaging also plays an important role in making zero waste shampoo and conditioners. Plastic packaging has bad health and environmental impact. Switching to eco-friendly shampoo packaging eliminates lots of plastic shampoo bottles and can be decomposed!
You can check our detailed buying guide at the end of this blog to learn more about these factors. We have assessed these factors to compile our list of the best eco-friendly shampoos and conditioners in the market as well. Curious to know more? Keep on reading!
Best Ecofriendly Shampoo and Conditioners
About the founder and CEO - Brianne West
Brianne West started Ethique during her time at the university. She learned cosmetic chemistry from scratch and created a product from the ground up. That’s how Ethique was born. She says that it is a combination of her passion for the environment and cosmetic chemistry and the desire to create a business that is more than just making a profit. Her mission with Ethique is to inspire brands to rethink how they sell and package their products. No wonder Ethique has pioneered the way for more eco-friendly shampoos and conditioners!
About the product
Ethique makes some of the best zero waste shampoos and bars - and we love bars. Bars are such an amazing alternative to liquids and gel. They can either be wrapped around recyclable paper or not wrapped at all!
Ethique’s sustainable hair care range is palm oil-free, vegan, natural, and cruelty-free. The company specializes in all things bar - from moisturizers and scrubs to conditioners. Besides the range, the product also ticks most of the requirements for sustainable and eco-friendly shampoo bars.
They are not only certified organic and vegan but they also don’t contain palm oil. It also has eco-friendly packaging and uses biodegradable and minimal packaging for all its products.
Ethical and Sustainable business practices
All the ingredients used in Ethique are sustainably sourced. They are non-petroleum, renewable, and naturally derived. The bars are safe for the environment and grey-water safe. Ethique also follows honest and direct trading: their suppliers are paid fairly and they also support their working community. Ethique is a certified B Corp company and has partnered with Ecologi, which invests in renewable energy sources.
About the founder and CEO - J.R. Liggett
JR. Liggett was first introduced to soap making at the early age of five. His great Aunt Ann from Denman would make soap using old techniques from rural America during the early and mid 20th century. He enjoyed making soaps and continued doing it as a hobby for 35 years until he found a recipe to make “hair soap”. Slowly and steadily, he started making soaps and created a successful business of his own.
About the product
The J.R. Liggett’s eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner bars are simple to use, lather well and rinse out easily. The organic shampoo bars don’t contain GMOs, gluten, or palm oil and are made from naturally sourced edible vegetable oil.
None of their products are tested on animals and do not contain any preservatives or artificial ingredients. It works with all kinds of hair textures - gray, permed, colored, and curly hair. It also works well with people suffering from allergies, sensitivity, and reactions because the formula is very gentle.
Ethical and Sustainable practices
It is a zero-waste company, which means that all the junk generated during the production of their goods is recycled to create new products of the same type, allowing them to use all resources.
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About the founders - Alin Turcea and Antonia Pitica
By creating this minimalist and conscious brand, Alin and Antonia aim to encourage buyers to make a choice and consider the future. They want to give consumers an option. The couple found that people make buying decisions out of convenience, without looking at the consequences. This prompted them to start Eco Roots, to help people make the small and sustainable switch in their lifestyle that would create a huge difference in the future.
About the product
The price of this organic handmade shampoo bar makes it one of our favorite options! Eco Roots’ shampoo and conditioner bars review suggest that it is made entirely from toxic-free ingredients, handmade with plant-based extracts and natural oils.
Moreover, the formula is also suitable for all hair types. Like other Eco Roots’ products, the organic shampoo and conditioner bars are also packed and shipped in zero waste, recyclable materials.
Ethical and Sustainable practices
Eco Roots is based in Colorado, which is a full zero waste online store. All the beauty and personal care products are palm oil-free, SLS-free, and vegan. The ingredients are ethically sourced and the store follows fair trade practices.
The company donates part of its profits to Ocean Conservancy to protect the planet from plastic damage - which was also one of their biggest motivations to establish Eco Roots.
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About the founders and CEOs - Lindsey and Alison Delaplaine
Lindsey and Alison Delaplaine are the boss sisters behind Plaine Products. It started with a dream to have less plastic waste in the world. Lindsey spent nearly 10 years working and living in the Bahamas. She witnessed the consequences of a wasteful lifestyle with plastic dumped across the shores, roads, and in the ocean. Plaine Products is a product of their life experiences. After research and sample trials, they approve their products.
About the product
Plain Products’ earth-friendly shampoo and conditioners work the best for any hair texture. For those who find using eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner bars difficult, this might be a good option.
The shampoo and conditioners are formulated to be color safe and come in a variety of choices like unscented, citrus lavender, and rosemary mint vanilla. The products come in aluminum bottles that can be recycled and refilled.
The ingredients are also free from GMOs, sulfates, silicones and are biodegradable as well! They are vegan and plant-based, promising a safe and gentle cleanse and shiny locks.
Ethical and sustainable practices
They streamline and ensure a conscious supply chain by shipping many products at once to lower the carbon footprint. The company invests in eco-friendly packaging made from 100% recycled material. Their packaging partners are also close to their headquarters, reducing the overall carbon footprint.
Plaine Products is also designed to be part of the circular economy that functions like a natural ecosystem where nothing is wasted.
About the founder and CEO - Dion Hughes
HiBar was born from the thorny issue of the plastic pollution produced by the beauty industry for years. Hibar’s mission is to solve this challenge without compromising on quality.
About the product
One of the most distinguishing features of HiBar eco-friendly shampoos and conditioners is the cheery aesthetic design that appeals to mainstream shoppers. It also features vivid colors and shades that are eye-catchy and pleasing. The shapes of the shampoo and conditioner bars are inspired by river rocks. They are quite functional and easy to use.
The shampoos and conditioners are designed and formulated to moisturize, maintain and enhance volume, depending on your hair type.
The bars are palm oil-free and do not contain sulfates, parabens or SLS. They are made from natural plant-based ingredients and extracts. The bars and conditioners are biodegradable and come in plastic-free packaging that is compostable.
How do you know if shampoo is environmentally friendly? - Our buying guide
- Ingredients sourced from the earth. This guarantees that your shampoo is completely free of any potentially hazardous ingredients. Look for products containing argan oil, tea tree oil, citrus fruits, lavender, and other such ingredients.
- The certifications are provided by a third party. For example, look for shampoos that are USDA- and NSF-approved.
- Cruelty-free. In general, vegan shampoos are manufactured solely from botanicals acquired responsibly.
- There aren't any harmful substances. Consider using shampoos that are free of parabens, sulfates, SLS, phthalates, GMOs, and other nasties. If you have gluten sensitivity, you should avoid it.
- Most eco-friendly shampoos are liquid, however, they can be packaged with recycled plastic or any other kind of environmentally friendly material. When traveling, some of these products are dry shampoos, which are easier to pack, while others are shampoo bars.