Solid shampoo and conditioner bars are a great way to rid your haircare routine of some single use plastic. However, if you have naturally afro, curly or wavy hair, you’ll know that finding the right liquid products can be a bit of a challenge and that the right product combination can be as unique to you as your curl pattern is.
Our founder, Phoebe, has naturally wavy hair and has been on a mission to find the best curl-friendly zero waste and plastic free shampoos, conditioners and styling products. She has shared the best of what she’s discovered so far in this post and has tried to include as many products as possible, to suit the many different varieties of curly hair.
The best solid shampoo bars for curly hair
Dry & curly shampoo bar by Zero Waste Path
- Curly Girl Method friendly
- Moisturising and PH balanced
- SLS & sulphate free
- Works in hard water
This solid shampoo bar by Zero Waste Path has been specifically formulated with curly hair in mind. The surfactants used (Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB)) are gentle, coconut-based and sulphate free, so you can use this bar if you are following the curly girl method. There is no transition phase necessary when using this bar, you don’t need to use an acid rinse with it and the gentle surfactants also means it works well in hard water too.
The hydrolysed quinoa protein helps keep your hair soft and tangle free and the organic, unrefined Shea and Cocoa butters will help to condition your curls. The bar will help keep your hair soft and manageable but we recommend using it with a solid conditioner to tame the fluff and frizz. The dry & curly hair bar has been designed to be the most nourishing for curly hair varieties but all of Zero Waste Paths 2-in-1 bars use the same, gentle surfactants so you could also choose from their fine & oily bar, itchy scalp bar or their normal hair bar too.
Botanical shampoo bars by Bain & Savon
- available in cornflower or calendula
- effectively removes dirt and product build up
- works well in hard water
- infused with botanical oils and flower petals
- vegan & cruelty free
These botanical beauties from Bain & Savon are a great swap to make if you want to cut down on the single use plastic in your bathroom. They have a coconut based surfactant (sodium coco sulphate) that will effectively remove dirt, oil and product build up from your hair, even in hard water.
The surfactant used in these bars is not quite as gentle as the Zero Waste Path bars, so if you’re strictly following the Curly Girl Method they may not be that suitable, but it is coconut based rather than petroleum based. The bars smell amazing and the botanical oils and flower petals add an extra touch of luxury to the bars.
Bean & Bee Solid Shampoo Bars
We don’t currently stock Bean & Bee but we hope to in the near future. They have a great range of zero waste products specifically designed for curly hair. Their ‘extra gentle baobab bar’ is silicone and sulphate free (so suitable if you’re following the Curly Girl Method).
Another brand that we hope to stock in the future. Beauty Kubes are a great plastic free option for curly hair. Their choice of coconut surfactant is gentle yet effective for cleansing your curls. Once you get used to crumbling and lathering them up, the single cube portions are quite easy to use and and distribute through your hair.
The best solid conditioner bars for curly hair
Friendly Soap Solid Conditioner Bars
- Available in Lavender & Tea Tree or Lavender & Geranium
- Sulphate and preservative free
- can be used as a solid bar or converted into a liquid conditioner
This is one of our favourite conditioner bars that we offer. It’s rich and nourishing due to its blend of cocoa butter and castor oil. We’ve also found it to be one of the easier solid conditioner bars to distribute through your hair as, once you’ve warmed it a little between your hands, it glides over your hair. If your curls are prone to fluff and frizz, this bar of conditioner really helps to tame your hair and define your curls.
Friendly Soap also provide instructions on the back of each cardboard packet for converting the bar into a liquid conditioner, if you really struggle to get used to using it in its solid form.
Authentic House Solid Conditioners
These small but mighty bars are particularly good if you like to give the dry ends of your hair a deep condition. I like to work these little bars over the ends of my hair, after shampooing, and leave it to work its magic for the rest of the time that I am washing, lightly rinsing it out right at the end of my shower routine. These conditioners are packed with cocoa butter, jojoba oil and vitamin E to deeply nourish hair and help prevent split ends.
Plastic free and zero waste styling products for curly hair
Finding styling products for curly hair that are plastic free and zero waste is quite tricky. The best types of styling products for curly hair tend to come in the form of a liquid, cream or gel and there just isn’t a huge range of companies in the UK (at the moment) that offer plastic free options for these products.
Flaxseed & Kalahari Melon Curl Defining Custard by Bean & Bee
Although not truly zero waste or plastic free because of the plastic pump, this curly hair styling product is the best, low plastic styling product we’ve come across. The curl defining custard works like a light – medium hold gel that can be used whilst your hair is still damp after washing. It forms a cast in the hair whilst its drying and can be scrunched out once your hair has fully dried.
Boucleme offer a great range of styling products for all types of curly hair. Their products do come in plastic packaging, however, they are currently made from a minimum of 50% post-consumer resins and the company are working towards finding refill and more sustainable options for their products.