Whether you’re bathing in a woodland stream or your bathtub, the suds that you rinse off your body have a big impact on our water system. The best biodegradable shampoo and conditioner is better for the environment (and your hair).
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Puracy Natural Shampoo (Our Top Pick)
Puracy’s natural shampoo is best for thin, fine hair, and guys who suffer from dryness. It adds volume to your hair and soothes the skin. Besides the citrus and mint advertised on the bottle, it’s largely coconut oil-based, which moisturizes dry scalp.
Better yet, The New York Times, NBC, and The Bump have all tested and praised Puracy for their child- and environment-safe products. They make everything from shampoo to toilet cleaners that you can trust on your skin and in your home. If it’s gentle enough for a baby to use, it’s awesome for the guy who could use a sensitive skin-friendly product, making it one of the best biodegradable shampoo and conditioner.
• Best for thin, fine hair and dry scalp. Moisturizes and adds volume.
• All-natural, verified by independent reviewers.
• Extremely gentle. You could share it with a baby. Great for sensitive skin and scalp.
• Not a company that specializes in hygiene and cosmetics.
• Not safe for guys with a nut allergy.
Dr. Bronner’s has one of the shortest, easiest to read ingredient lists ever. Their 18-in-1 soap is made with natural oils (including coconut and hemp), citruses, almond scent, and vitamin E. All of those are awesome ingredients for thick, curly, and dry hair. One Amazon reviewer even swears by it as a dreadlock shampoo.
Better yet, Dr. Bronner ensures that all their ingredients are fair trade. One of their ingredients, palm oil, is known for contributing to deforestation. The fair trade label ensures that it was sourced with integrity and inspected by Fairtrade International.
• Great for thick, curly hair that needs extra hydration.
• Gentle, all-natural ingredients.
• A little goes a long way. You can dilute the soap. The bottle is long-lasting.
• Can be used as a shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and more.
• Needs to be watered down. Formula is highly concentrated. Don’t use it on private parts.
Joshua Tree makes the best soap for guys taking an outdoor vacation. It’s travel-sized and biodegradable, so you can use it anywhere, including natural bodies of water. It has a minty smell, which is an especially pleasant surprise if you’ve ever used one of those grosser smelling outdoors soaps.
It’s also 3-in-1, so you don’t have to pack multiple bottles. Use it on your hair and skin, scrubbing from top to bottom so that the suds run down your body. It even lathers well. Most natural soaps can’t achieve that foamy texture because of how thin the ingredients are, but Joshua Tree’s soap has that creamy, bubbly lather.
• Nice minty scent. Quite refreshing compared to most biodegradable soaps.
• 3-in-1 and travel-sized, so it’s super convenient and easy to pack. (Though, sadly, you can’t take it on a plane.)
• Awesome lather and great texture.
• Bottle won’t last long. Not good for everyday use. Only for short trips.
Some of Direct 2 Boater’s biggest fans are the guys who need a shampoo for river rafting, canoeing, and boating trips. There’s just something about it that makes it ideal for a water sport vacation.
It’s unscented, so you won’t attract pests, and it has a nice lather that works on hair and skin. The bottle says that the soap is formulated for freshwater and saltwater, but technically any biodegradable shampoo should work in both, so don’t let that sales pitch worry you.
Two complaints: the cap doesn’t dispense the shampoo nicely, and you’ll have to pair the shampoo with a conditioner if your hair tangles easily.
• Unscented, so you won’t attract insects.
• Decent at keeping your hair from getting tangled.
• Great ride-along on water sport trips.
• It’s better if you pair it with a conditioner.
• Bottle dispenser is cumbersome.
Campsuds is extremely concentrated, and that’s what makes the brand a great travel buddy. Just a few drops mixed with water will lather up and wash your whole body (or your clothing. Or your dishes). The six-pack that Amazon is selling might as well be a lifetime supply.
But what really stands out is how clean you feel after using a few drops on your hair and skin. Most guys settle for that less-grimy-than-I-was-before feeling when they invest in a biodegradable soap. But you’ll feel squeaky clean with Campsuds. If you’re looking for one the best biodegradable shampoo and conditioner for men, you can’t go wrong with campsuds.
• Extremely concentrated. Mix a few drops with water to get a good lather going.
• Use on hair, skin, clothing, dishes, and anything else you can wash.
• Nice travel-size.
• Bottle is guaranteed not to leak.
• Small bottle is easy to lose on your trip.
Is Organic Shampoo Biodegradable?
Organic shampoo is sometimes biodegradable, but not always.
Per federal requirements by the USDA’s National Organic Program, products are allowed to use the label “organic” on their packaging if they contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients. That means the ingredients are agriculture-based and were grown without pesticides.
But companies may also use “made with organic ingredients,” in which case only 70% of their ingredients must be organic.
It’s a misleading term.
And the FDA emphasizes the fact that you won’t necessarily find any health benefits from organic products. Plants can contain chemicals that are just as allergenic and toxic to human skin as synthetic ingredients.
Always read the packaging to make sure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients. And stop using a product if you break out in a rash, hives, or other irritated skin condition.
To be sure, it’s best if you pick from our list of best biodegradable shampoo and conditioner for men.
Is Vegan Shampoo Biodegradable?
Companies that use the term “Vegan” on their products are implying that their cosmetics were made without any animal products. However, the term is unregulated.
In fact, synthetic ingredients are vegan.
If you’re looking for all-natural products with 100% plant-based ingredients, “vegan” won’t have your back. It’s almost less reliable than “organic.”
Take our best shampoos for hard water for example. If you want a shampoo bar to survive hard water, frankly, it has to have some synthetics. Without a few synthetics and preservatives, it’ll create a gross residue that stays in your scalp.
But still, many of the hard water shampoo bars on that list label themselves vegan and organic. They fit the definition, but it’s misleading, especially if you thought “vegan” and “organic” means that the product is 100% plant-based. That’s not the case.
Is Conditioner Bad For The Environment?
Just like shampoos, conditioners contain synthetic ingredients and non-recyclable packaging that are bad for the environment.
Maybe you’re thinking, “So what? I’m not bringing any of these products camping with me.” Consider the fact that every chemical you wash down your drain makes its way back into the environment somehow. Your city might be one of many that waters its grass with effluent.
Choosing conditioners and shampoos that use zero waste packaging and avoiding chemicals that hurt our water supply is one of the ways you can consume hygiene products responsibly.
When you feel like you’re alone in your efforts to help the environment, remember that slowly consumers can shape the market by creating demand for products that are ethically sourced, produced, and packaged.