According to a report, 520 million empty plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles are thrown out in the UK.
- They’re more economical as they last twice as long as bottled versions.
- They use up less water.
- They have a smaller carbon footprint.
- They come in biodegradable cardboard packaging.
Shampoo bars are a great way to embrace sustainable lifestyle choices at home and they’re one of the easiest steps to a plastic free bathroom.
Here’s why you should adopt zero waste shampoo bars into your haircare routine and 10 brands pebble loves that actually work.
Are shampoo bars better for your hair?
There’s always a bit of risk when trying a new hair or skincare product.
The best shampoo bar should be easy to lather up and rinse out with minimal water.
It should leave your hair feeling soft, healthy and nourished.
Some bars have a bit of a reputation of giving you a transition period where your hair may feel waxy or greasy.
It doesn’t last long though and a way around it is to use bars with good quality formulations that are specifically designed for your hair type.
On the whole, the right shampoo bar is better for both your hair and the planet as it’s free of plastics and harsh chemicals.
What are the benefits of using shampoo bars?
There are many amazing benefits to using a shampoo bar.
In fact, the right one can be a complete game-changer for your haircare routine. And not just for your hair, but your wallet and the environment too.
Here are some of the benefits of using shampoo bars
1. Saves you money. Shampoo bars can last twice or three times more than your average bottle of shampoo as the formula is more concentrated. For perspective, a bottle lasts about 25-35 washes and 80% of it is actually water.
2. Reduce plastic waste. A staggering 520 million empty shampoo bottles are thrown out in the UK. Many of them are made from single-use plastic. Shampoo bars are plastic free. In fact, they take it a step further by being zero waste. Once the product is gone there’s nothing to throw out. Most packaging is biodegradable FSC-certified cardboard too.
3. Lower carbon footprint. Shampoo bars have a lower carbon footprint than the liquid versions simply because of their size. A lorry full of bars holds roughly the same amount of washes as 15 lorries carrying liquid shampoo bottles.
4. They’re often vegan friendly or use all natural ingredients. Good quality brands used ethically sourced, cruelty free and naturally derived ingredients which work with your hair to help it look its best. This is a much healthier option than using haircare products full of harmful silicones, sulphates and SLS that strip your hair of naturals.
How to use zero waste shampoo bars
Before applying any product, wet and detangle your hair as normal.
Then, you have one of two methods you can use.
You can either lather up the bar in your wet hands and massage the suds into your wet hair.
Or, another option is to gently wet the bar and apply it to wet hair, rubbing it in circular motions until you have enough lather to massage into your hair and scalp.
As a general rule, you’ll always need less than you think you need. Remember to rinse out your hair thoroughly too.
Should you use a conditioner after a shampoo bar?
It’s a good idea to condition your hair after using a shampoo bar as you would after the liquid version.
One exception is if the bar specifies that you don’t need a conditioner like Ethique’s St Clements or KIND2’s Two in One.
Conditioners help to replenish moisture and give ends a bit of TLC.
There are also conditioner bars available eg from KinKind if you don’t want to use liquid versions.
How to store shampoo bars
To make sure the shampoo bar lasts, keep it out of direct water flow and sunlight.
Ideally, put it on a soap rack that has holes to allow it to air dry. You can get racks that sit by the bath, or you can get ones that suction onto the wall or clip onto your shower.
If you’re taking it away, store it in a metal or bioplastic tin or wrap it in a wax/soy wrap.
12 Best Zero Waste Shampoo Bars That Work
1. Best New Shampoo Bar: weDo
weDo’s No Plastic Shampoo Bar gives you professional performance hair care and lasts up to 80 washes.
Designed for salon-style locks in mind, it has a minimalist, dermatologically tested formula for optimum effectiveness at low allergen level.
It’s also cruelty free, vegan and free of harmful chemicals, sulphates and silicone. Instead, it contains ethically sourced argan oil which naturally locks in moisture and gives your hair a luxurious silky feel.
Living up to the no plastic name, weDo have partnered with Plastik Bank, an organisation that tackles plastic pollution and extreme poverty by empowering communities to turn waste into wealth.
For every weDo product sold, eight plastic bottles are collected from the environment.
2. Best Budget Shampoo Bar: Morrisons
Morrisons has become the first UK supermarket to launch their own-brand range of zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars, and they’re an absolute steal at just £3 a pop.
The Nutmeg Shampoo and Conditioner Bars are perfect for those wanting to take the leap into solid haircare products but are nervous about trying something expensive.
They’re also a great option if you want to keep haircare costs low but want to cut down on plastic.
The bars are vegan, plastic free and come in recyclable cardboard boxes. They last up to 30 washes and smell divine. Ingredients include Organic Argan Oil, Wheat Germ Oil and Coconut Oil.
3. Best Shampoo Bar For Showers: FOAMIE
FOAMIE’s innovative and ergonomic design means that these shampoo bars can all be hung up to dry and not sit on the side of your bath or shower leaving marks and turning to sludge. It also keeps your shampoo bar fresh and easily dried.
A particular favourite of ours is the Coconut Shampoo Bar for Normal Hair. It has a gorgeously tropical scent of coconut which stays in your hair after washing.
It also has additional wheat proteins to give you strong, supple hair with a natural shine.
It’s pH balanced and 100% free of soap, sulphates, SLS, parabens and alcohol. There’s no transition period for your hair either, making it the perfect switch for first-timers.
4. Best Bar For Multitasking: KIND2
KIND2 makes the ritual of washing your hair relaxing, gentle and importantly – sustainable.
New to their range of plastic free, planet friendly haircare bars is the Two in One Shampoo & Conditioner bar just perfect for short to medium length hair.
Or you can use it on your body or beard. It’s that good at multitasking.
It uses chia seed, upcycled hemp seed and macadamia oils to detangle and moisturise. As with everything at KIND2 the new bar is soap and sulphate free, vegan-friendly and pH balanced.
5. Best Shampoo Bar For Tackling Dandruff: KinKind
Let’s face it, dandruff is awkward. It’s itchy, uncomfortable and the white flakes are paranoia-inducing. Enter KinKind.
The award-winning brand have launched CLEAR my head. It’s the first UK shampoo and conditioner bars with a clinically tested, naturally derived, plant based active ingredient to reduce dandruff, redness and an itchy scalp.
The shampoo has a gently foaming cleanser that works with the skin’s natural microbiome. They last twice as long as the bottled versions (that’s two plastic bottles!), helping you save money and the planet.
All KinKind’s bars are zero waste, vegan, cruelty and paraben-free.
6. Best Scented Shampoo Bar: Faith in Nature
For a spa treatment on hair wash day say hello to Faith in Nature’s zero waste shampoo bars.
All bars are handmade and vegan, containing no parabens and sulphates. They lather up well, leaving your hair cleansed and nourished.
There are three fragrances to choose from – Lavender & Geranium, Coconut & Shea Butter and Dragon Fruit.
The Dragon Fruit in particular is ideal for fortifying damaged hair and giving it some much needed TLC. All scents are 100% natural too.
7. Best Shampoo Bar For Shinier Hair: Beauty Kitchen
Beauty Kitchen’s Daily Shine Shampoo Bar gives your hair a natural radiant shine without any harmful chemicals or sulphates.
The concentrated formula contains hints of grapefruit and lemon to remove any impurities and give dull hair a boost that smells good too.
It lathers up well, making it easy to massage into the roots and leaves them feeling clean and refreshed. It’s also vegan friendly and cruelty free.
Each bar saves two plastic bottles and lasts up to 70 washes. To top it off, the cardboard packaging is compostable. The perfect zero waste shampoo bar!
8. Best Shampoo Bar For Sensitive Skin: Lavera
If you have a sensitive scalp, you might want to avoid overly fragrant shampoo bars containing essential oils.
The Lavera Basis Sensitive Shampoo Bar from the brand’s sensitive skin range has a mild and gentle plant-based formula that cleanses your hair, leaving it soft and shiny.
It lathers up easily so you can gently massage the suds into your hair without causing any irritation. The certified natural and organic ingredients include aloe vera and quinoa which moisturises and nourishes.
The shampoo bar is also plastic free and a climate neutral product which means that all unavoidable CO2 emissions are offset through Climate Partner, an environmental offset organisation.
9. Best Shampoo Bar For Oily Hair: ethique
If you have fine, oil-prone hair ethique’s St Clements is your new holy grail.
The shampoo bar is light on hair and contains luxurious Lime and Orange oils to balance natural oil production, freshen up the scalp and leave your hair looking silky smooth.
There are no harsh foaming agents or silicone. What’s more, you can use this bar on its own without needing a conditioner as there are humectants which draw moisture to your hair without oil.
This eco-friendly solid shampoo bar is soap-free, pH balanced and safe to use on colour treated hair.
One bar saves three plastic bottles and a tree is planted with every order!
10. Best Shampoo Bar For Travelling: WiDEYE
If you’re on the go, we love WiDEYE’s Lime, Orange, & Black Pepper shampoo bar. It contains jojoba oil which reduces oiliness and black pepper for healthy hair growth.
The refreshing scents of orange and lime naturally condition the hair and prevent breakage.
This unisex shampoo bar is perfect for travelling or being on the go as it comes in a recyclable aluminium container for easy stashing. Plus, it’s vegan-friendly and cruelty free.
It contains no SLS, parabens, synthetic dyes or scents either. Just natural ingredients in a plastic free shampoo that works.
11. Best no mess shampoo bar: Shine Bar
Cutting plastic out of your hair care routine has never been easier thanks to high-quality and committed eco-friendly shampoo brands.
Another of pebble’s favourites is the Shine Bar which leaves hair feeling clean with salon-worthy results. You’ll get your money’s worth too as one 75g bar lasts up to four times longer than a standard bottle of shampoo.
Promising no waste and no mess, Shine Bar comes with an optional tin so you can take it to the gym or on your travels with ease.
It’s formulated using 99% natural ingredients including mild ginger, lemon and quinoa to keep hair healthy and smelling divine. It’s cruelty free and has a luxurious lather too. Bliss.
12. Best for Kids: Rowdy Kind
The final pebble favourite for this list is Rowdy Kind‘s shampoo, conditioner and soap bars. With minimal ingredients to be less harsh to sensitive skin, their products can be used from those ages 1 onwards.
Transparency and gentle cleansing is their priority, providing a detailed ingredient list for all their products, ensuring the best quality for younger skin.
Mainly aimed for young children, these bubbling and colourful bath time products are great for a sensory experience. Ethically made and plastic free, these products are kind to the skin and the planet.
Only one of Rowdy Kind’s shampoo bars are the equivalent of two bottles, meaning less waste and more product for less money. With no sulphates, parabens and PEG, and moisturising ingredients transforms knotty hair into silky, healthy locks.
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