zero waste shampoo items for picky hair?
September 6, 2020 12:57 PM   Subscribe

I have been using Kiehl's Sunflower shampoo for color treated hair (paraben free, blah blah) for years. It comes with a really annoying amount of plastic and there are no options for refills. I'd like to switch to another shampoo brand that would allow me to buy low- or zero-waste refills but avoid the "one generic shampoo which works for everyone" that most of my local zero waste places sell (which doesn't usually work for me).

Bars don't work for me, looking for conventional shampoo. Any brands you can recommend? I don't need a dispenser, I have a wall mounted dispender, I just need a zero or low waste container.
posted by arnicae to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Would a salon-size bottle be sufficiently low-waste? Because that would open up a lot of options.
posted by mskyle at 1:13 PM on September 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm really looking for something that either has refill pouch like Cult + King or I can exchange glass jars or something else that doesn't involve repeatedly purchasing plastic bottles.
posted by arnicae at 1:23 PM on September 6, 2020

You can buy vinegar in 5-gallon containers and use it to wash your hair. Like shampoo but without the marketing or bubbles. It is color-safe.
posted by aniola at 2:05 PM on September 6, 2020

Vinegar is also very easy to make, especially during harvest season. And then you know you're not using any plastic at all!
posted by aniola at 2:06 PM on September 6, 2020

You could try Aveda.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 2:35 PM on September 6, 2020

Loop sells this shampoo in their reuse platform (they take back the containers, sterilize, and reuse them).

I think Kiehl's also offers a discount if you bring back bottles for recycling (though the plastic should already be recyclable in most curbside recycling programs).
posted by pinochiette at 2:44 PM on September 6, 2020

You can convert shampoo bars to liquid soap pretty easily, if it is just the form you dislike.
posted by veery at 3:11 PM on September 6, 2020

If you are okay with solid shampoo bars that have been grated/stored in water to make a liquid, then I have been using Chagrin Valley solid shampoo bars for several years. I just ordered a $10/one pound sale bag of my favorite (Butter Bar Conditioner) and added a sampler of Neem and Tea Tree body and hair shampoo (1.7 oz for $2.95). They always come in a flat rate box and are packaged in paper bags and cardboard boxes.

I unravel a shower scrunchy and cut it into thirds, double a tube and tie overhand knots in each end. Then I untie a knot, slide in a fraction of the shampoo bar, and retie.
The shampoo scrunchy is a quick way to build up a luscious lather. The bar is easy to handle and easy to hang from the shower handle with the recycled scrunchy tie. And the multiple colors allow me to keep my shampoo bars organized (purple - Rosemary & Lavender, green - Herb Garden, white - Coconut Milk or Soapnuts).
As long as I remove the shampoo scrunchy from the shower when I am finished, it will last a very long time.
posted by TrishaU at 4:44 PM on September 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Many shampoos have harsh ingredients like sulfates. Does your hair like the sulfates, or are you open to no-poo options?

Maybe a no-poo option would let you eliminate shampoo entirely.
posted by answergrape at 4:53 PM on September 6, 2020

The Good Fill has two shampoo refill options but they are fairly generic.
posted by aetg at 5:46 PM on September 6, 2020

Not sure if this type of thing is available in your area, but at my local upscale-organic-etc market, in the beauty/personal care area they have big dispensers of shampoo, conditioner, and bubble bath that shoppers can fill their own containers with. Not a lot of choice, though.
posted by stowaway at 6:47 PM on September 6, 2020

If you are familiar with Cult + King, do you already know about New Wash ‘shampoo’? It saved my hair, and they send refills in 32 oz. pouches.
posted by stellaluna at 6:48 PM on September 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yeah, as stellaluna said, New Wash is great. It does come in a giant refill pouch which is currently not recyclable, but I think I read that they are coming out with recyclable pouches later this year? Anyway, then you dump your pouch into a reusable aluminum pump bottle. It's $$$ unfortunately but has done great things for my hair.
posted by sparkling at 10:41 PM on September 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

L'Occitane also sells refills. I love their shampoo, though I only use it once a week or so.
posted by dame at 6:38 AM on September 7, 2020

YMMV, but I've found Dr. Bronner's Baby unscented bar soap is the perfect shampoo.
posted by 10ch at 6:43 PM on September 7, 2020

If you have a local salon that sells Kevin Murphy products they will do refills for you.
posted by machine at 8:49 AM on September 8, 2020

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