The 9 Best Sustainable Shampoos: from Soaps to Bars to Dry Powder
Okay, so I might be late to the party.
Sustainable shampoos have alluded me until now, but I’m no longer making excuses. Often, you don’t think about needing to get shampoo until you’re at the dregs of the one in your shower, maybe having swished water around in it a few times. But, committing to a lower carbon footprint means thinking ahead a little more, and shampoo is a pretty simple swap to make.
Why do we need sustainable shampoo?
Shampoo (and other hair and body care products) are big energy wasters and polluters. First, we’re looking at ingredients in said products, often derived from chlorine, sulfites and formaldehyde (yep). Then, we’ve got the transport of those ingredients from allll around the world to the factory putting them all together, then to the store, then to you. Lastly—and most obviously—the packaging it comes in. Those bottles are difficult to recycle at the best of times, but more often it’s impossible.
The personal care and beauty industry creates 120 billion units of packaging annually. Removing one product’s packaging from your waste bin might not sound like much, but eliminating shampoo bottles from our showers would knock out 550 million plastic containers a year, just in America. So, let’s get down to it.
Ingredients to avoid in shampoo
The most sustainable shampoo liquids
If you’re not ready to go full shampoo bar yet, I don’t blame you. It takes some getting used to, and there are great options out there that keep your shampoo liquid. Aluminum is an incredible material, it’s durable, endlessly recyclable, and light to transport. These shampoos utilize aluminum packaging to cut down on their environmental impact.
1. Seed Photonutrients
This shampoo is vegan, 99% organic, Leaping Bunny certified, and comes in a recyclable aluminum package. They’re even carbon neutral, and made without all those nasty ingredients listed above. They’re got an everyday shampoo, as well as one to combat frizz and one to protect color treatments, too.
2. Plaine Products
This guy comes in three natural scents: Rosemary mint, citrus lavender, or none at all. You also can choose before adding to your cart whether or not you want the plastic pump included in your purchase, which cuts down on one of the most difficult pieces of packaging to recycle. It’s vegan, cruelty free, and zero waste. Plus, you can subscribe so you never have to run out of shampoo again.
3. Public Goods
Public Goods isn’t known for their eco friendly practices as much as they are for their well priced staples, but this company is quietly gaining ground on other sustainable companies. The product is vegan, cruelty free, This shampoo does come in a plastic bag, but that’s a lot thinner than a bottle and the huge size will last you many, many showers. Plus it’s vegan and cruelty free, coming in at a cool $15 doesn’t hurt, either.
The most sustainable shampoo bars
In this category, we’ve got a lot more to choose from. So if you’re ready to take the dive into shampoo bars you’re guaranteed to find one that works for you. Not sure how to use a shampoo bar? It’s easy! either work the bar into a lather in your hands, or rub directly on your hair for the same results!
1. Upfront Cosmetics
These bars come formulated for any hair condition (pictured above is the one I use). Obvs, the packaging is minimal (and paper) and they replace three shampoo bottles. At $16 a pop, it’s cheaper than your average shampoo.
Theses super cute bars come in packs of two with shampoo AND conditioner, and are organized by hair type. At $6-13 each, they’re a steal to cut down on packaging. I have a bit of trouble using these bars because of their size, but a holder and washcloth does the trick.
This bar is shaped for ease, and comes in tons of specialties. My personal favorite sustainable shampoo, it’s right on the money with the paper package, Leaping Bunny certified and vegan. The product itself is even biodegradable. It sounds crazy, but the shape of this shampoo bar may have revolutionized shampoo bars.
4. Meow Meow Tweet
Okay, so not a bar, but this powder in an aluminum can cuts down on packaging, shipping weight and is used in the same way. Plus, with the absolute cutest name and packaging, this lightly scented shampoo powder is a must. Its a perfect alternative while traveling when a bar could get messy. This brand also has a pretty great shampoo bar.
Most sustainable dry shampoo
Finally, we’ve gotten to the best category. For those days you want to be so eco friendly (or lazy) as to not even step foot in the shower, we’ve rounded up a few natural products to keep the grease at bay.
1. Fat and the Moon
This dry sustainable shampoo comes in aluminum or paper, and is 100% organic. The vegan blend is made from four ingredients, so no hiding here.
2. Captain Blankenship
We might be saving the best for last. This certified B Corp, woman-led, 1% for the Planet committed company makes one heck of a dry shampoo. It comes in a compostable paper tube, and is full of vegan, organic, fair trade ingredients. The only problem is, they sell out fast.