The 7 Best Organic & Zero-Waste Shampoo Options for All Hair Types

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Written by Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT


Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada's National Observer.


Non-toxic shampoos with simple ingredients that don’t cause an excess of waste are hard to find, but they do exist. Here are our top picks.

Table of Contents
  1. What to look for in an organic shampoo
  2. The best organic shampoo brands that are also zero-waste
  3. Packaging and other considerations

One of the best ways to reduce your environmental footprint is to look at the products you use several times a week if not every day. Small changes can make a big difference, so while switching up your shampoo might not seem life-changing, it can make a dent in your carbon emissions, help reduce plastic and waste, and even help reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals.

What to look for in an organic shampoo

Shampoo is basically detergent for your hair, so if you’ve already switched your bulky bottles of liquid detergent for eco-friendly laundry strips, consider doing the same for your shampoo!

Shampoo bars and dry shampoos have another advantage over liquid shampoo: they are less likely to ‘spoil’ due to water content, meaning much less need for artificial preservatives, colors, and fragrances. This is one reason why many shampoo bars contain so few ingredients, most of which you can actually pronounce and recognize.

Look for these ingredients

When choosing eco-friendly, non-toxic shampoo, look for natural ingredients such as:

  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Hemp oil
  • Kaolin clay
  • Shea butter
  • Essential oils (not ‘fragrance’)

Avoid these ingredients:

If you’re keen on clean beauty products, you’ll want to avoid shampoos that contain:

  • Phthalates
  • Fragrance
  • Sulfates
  • PEGs
  • Triclosan
  • Butylate hydroxytoluene (BHT).

If possible, also avoid products that contain palm oil. Otherwise, try to opt for products with at least some indication (such as RSPO certification) that palm oil is more likely to be responsibly sourced so as not to devastate wildlife habitats.

The best organic shampoo brands that are also zero-waste

Here are some of the best eco-friendly, organic shampoos available, many with minimal packaging, zero toxic chemicals, and a whole lot of love for your hair. We have been careful to select brands that are designed for all hair types, or that have designed products for different hair types.


Meow Meow Tweet! Lavender Coconut Milk Shampoo Bar

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Highlights: Zero-waste, vegan-friendly, and made in the USA with organic ingredients!

Made in the USA, Meow Meow Tweet! shampoo bars are an absolute delight. With options for dry and dull hair, oilier hair and imbalanced scalps (view on EarthHero), and more, these bars are made in small batches and always with vegan and organic ingredients. I love the zero-waste packaging (which is plastic-free and compostable!), and because these are solid shampoo bars they have a much lower shipping footprint than heavy, bulky, shampoo bottles.

Meow Meow Tweet! products are certified Cruelty-Free by Leaping Bunny, are all vegan, and are made with fair trade ingredients. These shampoo bars don’t contain palm oil or gluten. Instead, ingredients include coconut and olive oil, hemp, kaolin clay, shea butter, and castor oil.

These eco-friendly shampoo bars can even do double duty as a moisturizing body soap, keeping your shower routine super minimal and clean!


Plaine Products Refillable Travel Size Vegan Shampoo

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Highlights: Vegan-friendly, organic, and packaged in reusable, recycled, and recyclable packaging by a B Corp and all-round awesome company.

Paraben-free, sulfate-free, non-GMO, vegan and Cruelty-Free, and made by a B Corp and member of 1% for the Planet, Plaine Products Refillable Vegan Shampoo is a great choice for eco-friendly hair care. Perfect for unruly hair, this shampoo is made to moisturize and soften your locks. It is organic, hypoallergenic, color safe, and biodegradable. And it comes packaged in a reusable aluminum bottle for easy refilling and easy recycling.

Plaine Products offer 16 oz. bottles and smaller travel size bottles, both made with recycled and recyclable aluminum. The bottles, which are BPA-free and PVC-free, and the shampoo are made in the USA, keeping carbon emissions low.

Ingredients include organic aloe, Irish moss, coconut and safflower seed oil, vegetable glycerin, and guar gum, as well as natural essential oils. There’s no palm oil, PEG, dyes, synthetic fragrances, or petrochemicals in this formula. Every ingredient in every Plaine Products product is run through the Environmental Working Group database to ensure safety, and this shampoo ships in plastic-free packaging made from recycled content.


Plum Brilliance Charcoal Natural Shampoo Bar

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Highlights: This shampoo bar is designed to balance scalp pH, strengthen hair, and reduce frizz while promoting hair growth.

Handcrafted in small batches in the USA, Plum Brilliance Charcoal Natural Shampoo Bar comes in zero-waste packaging and is free from sulfates, parabens, and artificial additives and preservatives. Instead, you’ll find castor oil, tea tree oil, bamboo charcoal, responsibly sourced palm oil (RSPO), olive oil, coconut oil, and other natural ingredients including ethically wildcrafted botanicals.


Bestowed Essentials Shampoo Bar

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Highlights: Vegan, Cruelty-Free, and zero-waste, and made with natural ingredients in the USA.

Another great collection of shampoo bars, this time with apple cider vinegar, avocado oil, and citrus infusions, tea tree oil, and other natural ingredients to help repair dry and damaged hair and balance oilier hair (view on EarthHero). Bestowed Essentials shampoo bar leaves hair feeling soft and silky, and is free from sulfates, parabens, preservatives, and artificial colors and fragrances.

Bestowed Naturals products are vegan and Cruelty-Free, made in the USA and zero-waste. Products are manufactured with renewable solar power, and all shipping is plastic-free, compostable, or recyclable. Better yet, Bestowed Naturals collect and recycle 1 lb. of beach trash for every order through their partnership with Ocean Blue Project.


Fat and the Moon Lavender + Cocoa Dry Shampoo

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Highlights: Dry shampoo made in the US with organic ingredients in eco-friendlier packaging.

Already installed a low-flow shower head and reduced your shower time? Save even more water, energy, and time by using dry shampoo between hair washes! Fat and the Moon Lavender + Cocoa Dry Shampoo can extend the time your hair continues to look clean and presentable by absorbing oils and adding body before your next full wash.

Made in the USA using simple organic ingredients like cocoa powder, lavender essential oil, and arrowroot powder, as well as kaolin clay, this aluminum-free, non-toxic, color-safe dry shampoo works for all hair colors, blonde to black. Added bonus, it smells delicious!

Every batch is handcrafted and packaged in recyclable cardboard containers with a recyclable plastic lid and base. The shipping packaging is also recyclable and made with recycled content, and the product itself is vegan and cruelty-free and free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and other problem chemicals.

To use, dip a makeup brush in the powder, tap off the excess, part your hair where it’s most oily and apply the powder to your roots. Once you’ve got all the oiliest spots, tip your head upside down and brush the powder through.


Captain Blankenship Arrowroot Dry Shampoo

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Highlights: Made in the US by a B Corp and 1% for the Planet member, this dry shampoo features organic and fair trade ingredients and is vegan-friendly.

Another excellent choice for dry shampoo, Captain Blankenship Arrowroot Dry Shampoo is made using organic arrowroot powder and kaolin clay as well as (aluminum-free) sodium bicarbonate and organic essential oils of geranium and palmarose. That’s it! No synthetic preservatives, fragrances, or colors

Adding volume and degreasing between washes, this dry shampoo is suitable for all hair types. Sprinkle on your roots and work through with your fingers, reapplying as needed between washes. This product comes in a compostable tube with a recyclable lid, though I’d prefer to see the virgin plastic lid made with recycled plastic.

Captain Blankenship is also a certified B Corp and a member of 1% for the Planet, and this product is Leaping Bunny certified Cruelty-Free. The company is women-led and they use organic, fair trade, and sustainably harvested ingredients wherever possible.


Anomaly Shampoo

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Highlights: An inspiring and affordable range of vegan-friendly hair care products. Not perfect, but better than most everything else on the shampoo shelves at Target!

Exclusively available at Target in the US, the actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s new line of vegan products, Anomaly, is set to shake things up in the celebrity hair care world. While far from perfect, this range is inspiring and already has some ardent fans.

There are four shampoos in the line – clarifying, hydrating, gentle, and dry – and three conditioners – volumizing, smoothing, and shine. There’s also a deep conditioning treatment mask. All of the products are super affordable at just $5.99, which is also rare for a celebrity-created line.

So, what marks Anomaly out as worthy of mention? Well, the company has made reasonable attempts to avoid some of the most egregious offenders in most shampoos, including sulfates, parabens, phthalates, triclosan, butylate hydroxytoluene (BHT), and many others. The formulas still include some chemicals it’s best to avoid though, including PEG-150 distearate (which can be contaminated with carcinogens 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide) and that catch-all for anything companies don’t want to declare ‘fragrance’.

The shampoo is also packaged in recycled plastic bottles that are thinner than most shampoo bottles. While it’s not entirely clear just how much recycled plastic goes into making these bottles, this is a nice step in the right direction.

Packaging and other considerations

If you prefer liquid shampoos, your best eco-friendly option is to buy local, ideally at a zero-waste store that offers refills. If your local store doesn’t offer shampoo, ask if they can order it in! It’s highly likely other customers would also take advantage of more planet-friendly choices if they were offered.

When choosing a refillable shampoo, look for options made with recycled and/or recyclable materials such as aluminum. Given the potential for slipperiness and breakages, glass isn’t a good option for refillable shower products. You can also just take your empty plastic shampoo bottle to a zero-waste store for a refill! No need to buy a purpose-made bottle – reduce, reuse, recycle, remember!

Other things to consider when choosing shampoo include the company making it. Look for credible markers that a company is making a genuine effort to be eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethical, such as:

  • B Corp status (ideally with an improving score each year)
  • Fair Trade certification
  • Cruelty-Free certification
  • Member of 1% for the Planet
  • Ocean Blue Project partners
  • Use of recycled and recyclable shipping materials
  • Commitment to using organic ingredients / USDA Organic or Regenerative Organic status
  • BPA-free and PVC-free packaging
  • Manufacturing and other operations powered by renewables
  • Ingredients sourced and processed in the US (or local to where you are).

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