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Biodegradable shampoo and conditioner for eco-friendly travel

  • June 20, 2018
  • By Stephanie, The Roving Fox
Biodegradable shampoo and conditioner for eco-friendly travel

Biodegradable shampoo and soap

When I went to Costa Rica to volunteer with sea turtles at La Tortuga Feliz, they recommend that we bring biodegradable shampoo and conditioner, along with biodegradable soap. Luckily, there are many biodegradable shampoo brands who create outstanding eco-friendly products that are gentle for every day use.

There was not a filtration system at the turtle rescue, so all of the soap and water we used for our showers and clothes washing flowed right back into the Earth.

In order to preserve Mother Nature, it was best to use biodegradable products during our time at the hatchery (and is advised for at home use as well). So naturally I went on a biodegradable shampoo bender to research some of the best biodegradable shampoo and soap brands available!

Thankfully, eco-friendly options are becoming more mainstream thanks to the demands of customers looking for more sustainable options.

What makes shampoo biodegradable?

Biodegradable shampoo and soap are products that there is no negative impact to the natural environment. Still you should use these soaps on land and not by showering directly in natural water sources like a lake, river, or waterfall.

Products that are at least 90% broken down into water and carbon dioxide within six months are considered biodegradable.

Popular shampoos and soaps that we regularly use contain chemicals like sulfates, triclosan (now banned in soaps), and phosphates. They make soaps antibacterial and the shampoo lather and give them a longer shelf life, but the chemicals are not biodegradable, so they’d flow into the earth or clean water resources. They can also cause irritation to sensitive skin.

In order to keep your skin, hair, and the environment healthy, it is best to look for biodegradable shampoo and biodegradable soap brands without these added chemicals. The rule of thumb is–if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t put it into the water.

Nature lovers, campers, and those with sensitive skin now have a myriad of biodegradable shampoo brands at their disposal.

Biodegradable Shampoo Brands

Here are some of my favorite picks for the best biodegradable shampoos and conditioners.

(We use affiliate links, which means we might get a small portion of any purchases you make after clicking a link. This costs you nothing, but helps to keep the blog alive! Read our disclosures for more).

1. Love Beauty And Planet Shampoo and Conditioner

This super adorable biodegradable shampoo and conditioner by Love Beauty and Planet has NO parabens or silicone, are considered vegan shampoo and conditioner, are made with plant based cleansers and organic coconut oil, and are not tested on animals.

They have lovely scents like this sugar and rose scent, ylang ylang, or lavender.

 2. The Honest Company Shampoo & Conditioner

The Honest Company has an outstanding reputation for their gentle products, and that includes this biodegradable shampoo and conditioner set.

I love that the biodegradable shampoo can double as a biodegradable body wash, making one less plastic bottle to keep in your shower! Loaded with nourishing oils, orange peel extract, and jojoba protein this set will keep your locks smooth and hydrated. Reviewers also say it smells like an orange creamsicle. Yum….

3. Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Shampoo and Conditioner Combo

This is the brand that I brought with me to Costa Rica. I also used the biodegradable shampoo as a body wash to cut down on the amount of plastic I needed to buy.

Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Shampoo and Conditioner are biodegradable and safe for the environment, and are sulfate, paraben, and dye-free.

4. Ethique Eco-Friendly Solid Shampoo Bar

Now this is cool! Ethique Eco-Friendly Solid Shampoo Bar comes with no packaging, so you can go the extra mile and not use any plastic packaging.

They use all-natural oils and the bars are compostable and not tested on animals. Their St. Clemens bar is made with Rosemary, Juniper, Basil, Lime, Lemon and Orange extracts and oils.

The company says it “balances oil production, cleans the scalp and freshens your hair up. Leaves hair perfect without the need for a conditioner as there are humectants in there which draw moisture to your hair.”

I’d imagine you can also use it as a biodegradable body wash, too!

5. Puracy Natural Daily Shampoo

Plant derived Puracy Natural Daily Shampoo is a biodegradable shampoo brand that is made in the USA from clinical-grade ingredients. Coconut based cleaners and plant-based moisturizers gently clean and soften the hair. Their products are never tested on animals and contain no harsh chemicals or sulfates. There’s an added bonus that they’re vegan, hypoallergenic, and gluten free, too!

6. 100% PURE Shampoo and Conditioner

100% PURE products boast no parabens, phthalates, PEGs, and artificial fragrances that can be harmful for your hair and the environment. This Burdock & Neem Healthy Scalp Shampoo is perfect for dry scalps, and can help with dandruff while adding moisture with coconut oil and Vitamin E.

Biodegradable Soap Brands

Here are a few of the best biodegradable soap brands suitable for showering and camping. All of these soaps can be used sparingly to minimize the runoff into the Earth.

1. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap – Baby Unscented

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap – Baby Unscented soap is one of the stalwarts of biodegradable soaps. And with good reason!

Campers love to bathe with it, clean dishes, and wash clothes. I use the baby unscented version in my own homemade hand scrubs and always travel with a 2oz size so I can hand wash my clothes while traveling.

It’s also certified organic and vegan and made with Fair Trade organic oils including coconut, olive, hemp and jojoba oils. The gold standard of biodegradable soaps!

2. Sea to Summit Trek and Travel Liquid Soap

Sea to Summit Trek and Travel Liquid Soap is a perfect soap for use on your body, dishes, or for your clothes when hand washing. The three oz size is ideal for traveling. The formula is super concentrated, so a little goes a long way, and this can also be used as a biodegradable shampoo in a pinch!

3. Aspen Kay Naturals Dead Sea Mud Soap, 1 Pound Bag of Fugly Soap

Aspen Kay Naturals makes an all-natural Dead Sea Mud Soap, and they sell this 1 Pound Bag of Fugly Soap, or just the bits and ends that don’t make it into the “regular” bars.

Their artisan soap is vegan, cruelty, free, and made without testing on animals. The soap is made with certified organic materials like Certified Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Certified Organic Sunflower Oil, and can be used as a biodegradable face wash or body soap.

4. 100% PURE Bar Soap

100% PURE bar soap is made with natural ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and natural fragrance to give you a buttery bar of cruelty free and vegan soap. Their soap is also gluten free and palm oil free, and is never tested on animals. I love the variety of fragrances like apple, coconut, peach, mandarin, and more!

Cornstarch Baby Powder for Hair

If you don’t want to shower or wash your hair, you can always just apply some cornstarch or tapioca baby powder to your roots!

Try the Farmstead Apothecary Natural Talc-Free Baby Powder with Organic Tapioca Starch, Organic Chamomile Flowers, Organic Calendula Flowers, Lavender & Chamomile. It will help your hair look less greasy and give it a light, clean scent.

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Biodegradable shampoo and biodegradable soap brands

Biodegradable shampoo and biodegradable soap for eco-friendly travel

By Stephanie, The Roving Fox, June 20, 2018
  • 1
1 Comment
  • Christine
    November 5, 2021

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m traveling to Tulum in Mexico next March/April and want to partake in snorkeling in the Cenotes in that area, but wanted to make sure I’m well-prepared and have all things biodegradable with me. I have curly hair, so I’m pretty well-versed in the no parabens, sulfates, etc since I follow the curly-girl method, but wanted to make double sure whatever I take works for that environment. Thanks again!

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Stephanie Janes The Roving Fox blog
Hi, I’m Stephanie

Hey there, I am Stephanie, aka “The Roving Fox!” I started this blog to share travel tips with friends, and eventually started incorporating more info about my hip labrum surgery, beauty products I love, and restaurant reviews. Please say hi here on the blog, on Instagram, or Facebook!

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