Less Plastic Challenge Day 7: Shampoo & Conditioner

I work in the wellness department once a week for a natural foods store, and let me tell you the options for plastic-free body care products, especially shampoo and conditioner, are slim to none.

When I first started cutting out plastic and making my own body care products, I experimented with many DIY shampoo recipes. It was a total fiasco. When I followed some of the popular recipes, it left my hair a greasy mess, dirtier and oilier then when I stepped into the shower. "But you have to let your hair get used to the no poo method!" Did that --try one month of stringy and oily hair. Don't despair, there are ways to have healthy, clean, and plastic free hair without looking like you just came from the swimming pool.

What We Can Do: 

  • Buy a palm oil free shampoo and conditioner in bulk by bringing our own glass jars
  • Buy a palm oil and package free soap or shampoo bar
  • Make our own shampoo and conditioner if that works for our hair
  • Make a plastic free dry shampoo to conserve water 

I love the idea of a shampoo bar-- if it works! I was using a local bar soap for my body and my hair and it was working great, until I realized I had overlooked one key ingredient-- palm oil! Now I'm back on the hunt for a soap that's not only palm oil free, but doesn't leave my hair super oily and gross. I currently take my mason jars and fill up on bulk shampoo and minimal conditioner.

Read about about why I don't use palm oil here. 

Hot Tip: In an effort to conserve water, I use my homemade dry shampoo in-between hair washing days. I have bangs, and sometimes they get really oily from resting on my forehead all day. This used to be a one of the signals that I needed a shower. Now I know better. My whole head doesn't need to be washed; my bangs just need some dry shampoo!  I buy my basic dry shampoo ingredients in bulk by bringing my own glass mason jars. No plastic! 

Basic Dry Shampoo:


1 small glass jar

2 tablespoons bentonite clay

2 tablespoons cornstarch

The Steps: Combine the ingredients in a small glass jar and shake. Apply to roots of hair with a brush or your finger. 

You can also use straight cornstarch or straight bentonite clay--they both work very well together and apart. This dry shampoo has served me through a range of hair colors. Before I went zero-waste, I used to dye my hair really dark, but the dry shampoo blended right in. Now my hair is getting back to its natural, more light color, and it still blends in!