alternative: shampoo

Alternative Zero Waste Shampoo
One of the most common types of plastic packaging at everyone’s home is the shampoo bottle. However, there are so many other ways to get clean hair without producing unnecessary amounts of trash.

Here you find alternatives for your (soon to be plastic-free) hair wash routine:


Wash less often.

Conventional shampoo can contain problematic preservatives, silicones and allergenic substances (as I had to experience first-hand…). These products do not only have the potential to harm our body, but also the environment. If this is not enough for you to switch to natural shampoo options but you still want to ditch the bottle (so to speak), start with the first step: wash your hair less often. This will help your hair and your budget as well as our overall goal to reduce our resource consumption.

If you need something to cover up bad hair days, Kathryn K. from Going Zero Waste has an instruction for an easy to make dry shampoo for you.


(Natural) shampoo bar.

If you can live without well-known shampoo brands, you could switch to shampoo bars. They look like soap bars, but contain basically the same ingredients as conventional shampoos if you buy them, for example, at Lush. Other shops offer eco-friendlier options: Sonnengrün or the package-free shops in Vienna (e.g. Der Greissler).

In addition, you could opt for natural shampoo bars that are made without potentially harmful substances. In Vienna, you could buy these at Alles Seife near Naschmarkt or at Machma Seife, near Taborstraße in the 2nd district.

Tip: Apply only the foam and not the whole soap to your scalp. Otherwise you will get fantastic dreadlocks…


Baking Soda and Vinegar.

An even more natural and simpler method would be baking soda and vinegar. Personally, I do not like to apply baking soda to my hair because I think it is too aggressive. However, a lot of people love it and you can get both ingredients package-free. The ratio of baking soda to water is handled differently from person to person, but here is an easy to follow guide.

On the other hand, I really like to use apple vinegar as a conditioner. Especially, while transitioning from conventional products to natural ones, my hair tends to look ‘strawy’. And do not worry, if you use enough water to rinse, you will not smell like vinegar.



You can buy clay (rhassoul) at your local pharmacy package-free or in cardboard boxes. I have never used clay myself, but I have heard it is wonderful for your hair as well. And did I mention zero waste? 😉


Rye flour.

I have the feeling more and more people are using rye flour for as shampoo substitute. It is perfect for a zero waste beauty routine, because you only need rye flour and water – that’s it! You can find a detailed guide from Shia at her blog Wasteland Rebel.

Tip: Do not use whole grain flour. It is more likely to clump.

Water only.

The utimate zero waste shampoo alternative is to use water only. I guess the transition period will be really tough, but the bad hair days will be worth it in the end. I have absolutely no long-term experience, but if you want to know how to handle greasy hair and other problems, I can recommend this guide.


Do you know of any other alternatives for conventional shampoo?

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