Zero-Waste DIY Shampoo Bar to Try at Home

By Amber Rambharose in Natural Products

After almost ten years in the beauty industry, I know firsthand how wasteful personal care products can be. If you're looking to commit to a zero-waste lifestyle, tackling your personal care routine product by product is a great way to start. The process doesn't have to be overwhelming as this DIY shampoo bar recipe will show you.

Committing to a zero-waste personal care routine doesn't have to have huge impact on your day-to-day life, but it can and will make a major—positive!—impact on our planet. According to a report conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, over 12 percent of the 292 million tons of trash generated by the United States in 2018 was in the form of plastics. But you and your family can start a different trend!


What Is a Zero-Waste Shampoo Bar?

One of the simplest ways to give back to the planet while using more natural products is to make your own zero-waste shampoo bars. Not only are you avoiding using plastic bottles, but you'll also help to improve your overall scalp and hair health. You can create a product that includes ingredients to smooth your hair, soothe your scalp, or add moisture—customized to your exact needs.

A zero-waste shampoo bar is shaped like a bar of soap, cutting out the use of plastic bottles, and it's used the same way. While most zero-waste shampoo bars don't lather like traditional shampoo does, that doesn't mean they're ineffective. Think, for example, about how DIY hair masks have a different texture than store-bought hair masks. They still work, they're just different from what you might be used to.

DIY Shampoo Bars

How to Make a Zero-Waste Shampoo Bar

While advanced soap- and shampoo-makers use sodium hydroxide to make their shampoo bars, you can start your DIY shampoo bar journey by using a melt-and-pour soap base. Pick one that suits your specific needs, whether that's adding moisture using shea butter, soothing an irritated scalp with rosemary essential oils, or adding shine with coconut oil.


Easy Zero-Waste Shampoo Bar Recipe

Here's what you'll need to make your homemade shampoo bar:

  • ½ lb. of melt-and-pour soap base of your choice
  • 1 tsp. of shea butter
  • ½ tsp. of olive or coconut oil
  • 20 drops of essential oils of your choice

Along with those ingredients, you'll also need a double boiler (or a makeshift one: a heatproof bowl and a small pot), a large mixing spoon, and silicone molds—the kind used for making desserts or large ice cubes will work fine here, although there are many soap bar molds available as well.

Step 1

Break up your melt-and-pour soap base and put the pieces in your double-boiler with the burner set to medium heat.

Step 2

As it melts, stir your soap base with a wooden spoon. Once it is completely melted, start adding in your other ingredients—except the essential oils—and continue to stir until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Step 3

Once fully blended, allow your shampoo bar mixture to cool slightly but not harden. This should only take a few minutes. Add your essential oils and stir well.

Step 4

Finally, pour your shampoo bar mixture into your molds and allow them to sit for 24 hours.

Shampoo bars

Feel free to play around with this recipe, whether that means adding different blends of essential oils for different aromatherapy effects or trying out different oils and butters.


Inspired to start transitioning to more zero-waste personal products? Explore more ways to keep your body and our planet healthy on the DIY Naturally board from @tomsofmaine on Pinterest!

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The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.

Why It's Good

You can nurture your body and the Earth by crafting your own zero-waste shampoo bars at home using natural ingredients. This quick and easy recipe offers you the very best of bespoke personal care customized to your hair and scalp needs.