Maintaining healthy hair requires using the right hair products and establishing a consistent routine. It can be challenging to pinpoint the right products for your hair type and more so for people who prioritize sustainable living. Below, we’ve compiled some of the best zero waste curly hair products. You’ll find products that support hair growth, protect your hair’s natural oils and generally work great for curly hair types.
Many hair products contain artificial colors and synthetic fragrances and come in plastic bottles, so it becomes important to find alternatives. Since the zero waste movement encourages reducing waste, many zero waste hair products are springing up. If you’re part of the curly girl community or anyone looking for a zero-waste option to support your hair health, you’ll find options in this article. Here’s to the people looking to adopt a zero-waste curly hair routine.
People with curly hair often find it hard to locate products that work well for their hair type. The problems can seem endless, from products that cause frizzy hair and strip the hair of its natural oils to those that affect scalp health. For this reason, many people with curly hair end up purchasing endless products or decide to switch to straight hair.
If you’ve been looking for how to embrace your curly hair journey while staying zero waste, you’re not alone. As you grow to embrace your curly hair, it’s only normal to seek a low waste curly hair routine.
Thanks to the products and brands we’ve featured here, low and zero-waste products for the curly girl are accessible. Here are some of the best zero waste products for curly hair approved. Your natural hair will thank you whether you have loose or tight curl patterns.
Quick links to the best zero waste curly hair products
A good shampoo is one of the most essential hair care products. Many shampoo products are on the market; however, not all of them are low or zero waste. Additionally, not all of them serve curly hair well.
Zero waste shampoo bars are a great alternative to regular shampoo. They help eliminate waste, last long and often come in biodegradable or compostable packaging. For many people with curly hair, frizz is a major issue. As a result, they’re always on the lookout for products that provide moisture to dry hair strands. It also helps to find a great shampoo that reduces frizz while cleansing the roots for a healthy scalp. Look no further as these curly hair shampoo bars will make great additions to your zero waste curly hair routine.
Targets: Dryness and curl definition
Commitments: Vegan, 100% recycled, unbleached cardboard packaging, handmade products
2in1 shampoo and conditioner products might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Regardless, this product from Zero Waste Path has a simple formula that’ll clarify your scalp, soften your strands and leave your hair smelling great.
This dual shampoo and conditioner bar contains hydrolyzed quinoa that keeps the hair soft. The company uses gentle and biodegradable surfactants, from coconut, in this PH-balanced product. The addition of organic cocoa and shea butter will supply more moisture and more shine to your hair.
If you’ve been looking for a simple zero waste curly hair product to get started with, this makes it easy. Apart from keeping your hair clean and soft, this 2in1 product also supports defined curls. It cleanses, softens, moisturizes, nourishes, and aids color retention.
Bianca, the founder, started Zero Waste Path out of her drive to reduce waste. Apart from practices like selecting sustainable packaging, she was concerned about production waste. She initially began making products for personal use, then realized that many brands weren’t transparent about the lifecycle of products.
Zero Waste Path has evolved into a responsible business that cares about natural ingredients and plastic-free packaging. The company doesn’t outsource materials. Instead, it carefully selects its suppliers and creates all products within the company workshop. Zero Waste Path remains eco-friendly from its sourcing methods down to the end of the life cycle.
Targets: Dryness, thin chemically-treated hair, and curl definition
Commitments: End-to-end plastic-free practices, phthalate, silicone, sulfate, and paraben-free
If you have colored hair that’s dry and thin, the HiBAR Volumize conditioner and shampoo bars might be what you need. Each pack of two comes with one conditioner and shampoo bar. HiBAR uses African dates and Vitamin B5 to target volume and definition for your curls. It does this without weighing your hair down or disrupting your natural oils.
Each conditioner or shampoo bar from HiBAR is entirely free of sulfates. It also contains no phthalates, silicones, or paraben. Naturally, this aligns with the curly hair routine method of avoiding certain ingredients.
Unlike regular bars, this one features an ergonomic design that makes it easy to handle while washing. One bar should last as long as a 16oz bottle, according to the brand. How long it lasts depends on how often your wash day is.
HiBAR provides an end-to-end plastic-free experience by ensuring that its materials are eco-friendly. Besides the Volumize set, HiBAR also has Maintain, Fragrance-Free, Moisturise, and Soothe sets.
HiBAR prides itself in providing eco-friendly salon-quality products. Bigger than that, the brand is on a mission to target the world's plastic pollution problem. It contributes to a plastic-free world through its product range and encourages people to start in their plastic-free bathrooms. HiBAR’s products target curls of all textures, volumes, and patterns. It targets all curls, twirls, coils, and kinks.
Targets: Repair, comfort, moisture, volume, growth
Commitments: Sulfate-free, silicone-free, plastic-free, eco-friendly practices
Vida Bars supply conditioner and shampoo bars that are Curly Girl Method friendly. One of the best options from this brand is the ability to select products based on your hair needs.
Not everyone on their curly hair journey requires the same items to suit their hair texture, pattern, and moisture levels. Due to this insight, Vida Bars created various bar sets to target specific hair needs.
The brand has five shampoo and conditioner sets. These sets are the: hydrate set, soothe set, balance set, clarity set, and growth set. The hydrate set is ideal for those with dry, damaged hair. Its formulation targets hydration and repair, providing the hair with moisture.
Vida Bars created the soothe set for people with sensitive scalps. This set relieves dry and irritated scalps. If you have oily scalp and dry hair and are looking for some balance, the balance set is excellent for your hair. If your fine, thin hair needs some volume, the clarity set can help revive your hair without stripping it.
Finally, the growth set targets hair growth and strength. The growth set contains ingredients with properties that stimulate blood flow and therefore support growth. If you’re looking to purchase a single conditioner bar or shampoo bar, the brand provides options for that.
Vida Bars’ origin is closely linked to the founder’s hair journey. Ana, the owner, is a curly girl, and for the longest time, she found it hard to embrace her curls.
Once she started implementing a new method specifically for her curls, she knew it was time to find the right products. This eventually led to Vida Bars. The brand’s zero waste curly hair product range serves various hair textures and needs. If you’re vegan, most of the sets are vegan-friendly. Only the Growth and Balance conditioners contain honey.
Targets: Cleansing, dryness
Commitments: Plastic-free, long-lasting, silicone, paraben, phthalate and sulfate-free
This zero-waste conditioner and shampoo bar set from Tree Naturals is an excellent addition to any curly girl’s routine. You can simply activate each bar with water and watch it produce foam for cleansing.
This formula is moisture-rich, unlike many bars and liquids that may strip your strands and dry out your scalp. It contains Fair Trade cocoa butter and various plant oils to nourish your scalp while cleansing it. Tree Natural’s choice to make these into bars was out of the desire to create a low waste line.
From the materials to the packaging, you’ll find that it’s a great plastic-free alternative to your regular liquid conditioner and shampoo. A great addition is that the solid bars can last up to 80 washes. The Tree Naturals team wraps each item in paper and uses paper packaging for shipping.
Tree Naturals is a Black-owned, woman-owned hair care company. The founder, LaTresha, started it as a solution for dry, itchy, and moisture-deficient hairs.
This brand steps in with its solutions since multi-faceted textured hair needs a good moisture balance to thrive. Tree Naturals’ product range is great for all hair types. These include curly, kinky, wavy, and straight types. With each product, you get something that’s moisture-rich to quench your hair’s thirst. The brand uses a range of exotic herbs and quality scents in its offerings. Although Tree Naturals isn’t a completely zero waste brand, it’s taking steps towards sustainable practices.
For people who are used to liquid conditioner and shampoo products, you’re not left out. Although bars serve as a great low-waste choice, many brands create zero-waste liquid alternatives. Rather than using single-use packaging like plastics, you’ll find eco-friendly options like aluminum. Many of these options provide a lightweight formula to support your hair’s needs.
Targets: Clarifying and scalp balance
Commitments: Reusable and refillable, cruelty-free, vegan, biodegradable, silicone and sulfate-free
Plaine Products offers a convenient way to maintain a zero-waste curly hair routine. With its refillable and reusable bottles, you’re on your way to curbing waste.
Plaine Products offers clarifying shampoo and conditioner variants with various active scents. This rosemary, mint, and vanilla set is excellent for those seeking scalp balance. It clarifies your scalp while restoring essential nutrients to the hair shaft.
After washing your hair with the brand’s shampoos, you get a soft and light feeling. The natural ingredients support various hair textures. The presence of Vitamin E ensures a healthy scalp for improved growth.
As part of Plaine Products’ sustainability measures, the company allows you to return your bottles for refill. In countries like Canada, where they don’t currently send refilled products to individual customers, you can still send your empty bottles for the company to reuse. When they receive it, they sterilize and refill it.
Two sisters founded Plaine Products out of their desire to change the way plastics were an integral part of haircare. Before launching the brand, they spent years researching natural ingredients that would take care of people’s hair. The company designs its products to contribute to a circular economy. Plaine Products consistently updates its sustainability reports to ensure transparency as an environmentally-friendly brand.
Targets: Strength, shine, and color
Commitments: Chemical-free, natural ingredients, refill options
If you’re looking to strengthen your brown or black hair, Funky Soap London has something for you. Made with black walnut hull powder and clove oil, these ingredients target brown and black hair. They also provide added shine and some highlights to your natural color, apart from adding strength.
This shampoo doesn’t dye your hair in any way. Instead, it enhances your hair’s natural shade and gives it a luxurious shine. Since the business doesn’t use synthetic thickening agents, you’ll find that the product is thinner than traditional shampoo. However, this doesn’t take away from its cleaning ability. With a small amount, you can wash and cleanse your hair. The addition of natural oils like coconut and olive oil provides softness and shine. All the products are handmade.
Funky Soap London makes 100% natural and handmade self-care products. Apart from haircare items, you’ll also find body, lip, and skincare products.
All products from this business are chemical-free. Instead, it uses natural butter, oils, and essential oils for fragrance. Since all the products are handmade, the business consciously curbs over-production. It also pays attention to ethical sourcing and thoughtful packaging.
Styling items are a must-have when establishing a new routine. After washing and conditioning, you’ll most likely need something to style your curls. Here, you’ll find options from a flaxseed gel to a leave-in product.
Targets: Curl definition, moisturizing
Commitments: Zero waste, organic, plant-based
This brand has a wide range of products. However, the flaxseed gel falls under the category of items that work great for curly hair. It contains a range of natural products that nourish, protect, moisturize and add shine to your hair.
Apart from flax seeds as the main ingredients, it also contains aloe vera and Vitamin E. The aloe targets moisture, shine, and strength—the presence of Vitamin E and Omega-3s help to nourish your scalp.
As part of its earth-friendly principles, the brand uses only aluminum bottles. So, this range is completely plastic-free. Apart from this eco-friendly alternative, you can also get refill pouches. These pouches make it easy to refill your bottles and place the pump right back on the bottle.
You can choose from either the lavender scent or the sweet orange scent when shopping. Alternatively, you can opt for an unscented version. Apart from the flax gel, the brand also has other great products for curls. There’s the Refresh Curl Revitalizer and Defined Hair Gel.
A Simple Planet is committed to being zero waste, earth-friendly and people-friendly. The brand makes and sells hair care products using plant-based ingredients. Not only are these safe for the environment but also for users. The products are free from sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, and artificial fragrances and colors. The refillable bottle option creates a circular system where you don’t have to throw your bottle out. Instead, you request a refill pouch and continue using your aluminum containers.
Targets: Moisture and nutrient addition
Commitments: Natural-first, eco-friendly
The rice pudding leave-in from Ecoslay contains ingredients that’ll quench your curls’ thirst. It contains ingredients like marshmallow root extract, chamomile flower extract, peppermint leaf extract, jasmine essential oil, and many others.
Many people know rice water for its nutrient-rich properties. Ecoslay went a step further to infuse fermented rice water in this product. As a result, this adds nutrients to your hair while keeping it shiny, strong, and bouncy.
Ecoslay’s formula adds vibrancy and shine to your curls. This product is ideal whether you need to manage your hair after washing or for styles like twist-outs. It’s easy to use the rice pudding leave-in conditioner. Simply apply to your dry or wet hair and work through your scalp and strands.
Ecoslay is all about slaying your hairstyles and not the planet. The brand’s values include respect for the environment and being kind to one another. The Ecoslay team carefully picks and tests each ingredient to ensure it supports your hair’s health.
With a passion for hair care, the brand has a wide product range with a passion for hair care. You’ll find wash ‘n’ go bundles, balance bundles, and individual products like the Orange Marmalade and Lemon Buttercream. Also, it curates various sets to make wash day a breeze.
Zero waste curly products are now storming the market. Although they’re not yet 100% widespread, many brands are springing up. The products we’ve compiled in this piece are great for anyone looking to embrace their curls while minimizing waste. From selecting shampoos and conditioners to styling products, your routine is about to be a healthy one for you and the environment.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.