Zero Waste Shampoo & Conditioner Bars - FAQ - Zero Waste Cartel

Zero Waste Shampoo & Conditioner Bars - FAQ

Here’s everything you need to know about our zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars.

First things first, they are completely:

    • Vegan

    • Cruelty Free

    • Earth Friendly

    • Responsibly Sourced Ingredients

    • Handmade in the USA

    • pH balanced

And they are also:

    • SLS-Free
    • Palm Oil-Free
    • Gluten-Free (shampoo bars only, continue reading to find out why our conditioner bars contain some gluten)
    • Preservative-Free
    • Paraben-Free


How big are the shampoo bars & how long do they last?

We have 2 sizes of shampoo bars- 2.4oz and 3oz. 

Our 2.4oz sizes last approx 50-75 washes. The 3oz ones last approx 75-90 washes - dependent on how long your hair is though of course!

If you have REALLY long hair - you are likely to use them faster than someone with really short hair. The bars generally replace 2 medium sized bottles of shampoo. 

How big are the conditioner bars and how long do they last?

The conditioner bars are all 1.7oz & usually last about 60-80 washes. They are super moisturizing and don't lather as much as the shampoo bars which is why they often last a lot longer. The bar might seem small initially but most people are surprised at how slowly the bars go down in size.

How is best to store them?

It's best to keep the bars away from water when you're not using them (i.e. on a soap shelf, in a tin or on the sink). This will help them to last as long as possible.

Are the shampoo bars PH balanced?

A lot of customers ask this because many soaps are pH balanced to counteract acids. 

Our shampoo bars are not made in a way that needs this (where you start off with an acid, like sodium hydroxide, and then balance it with a base so it doesn’t harm your skin). We do not start off with an acid. (We use sodium coco sulphates instead which are all-natural and come from coconuts - more on this in the next question)

The pH of the bars is almost perfect and is around 7.0.

If you’re looking for a lower pH, the Club Lemon bars are the lowest because of the Lemon and Orange essential oils.

Club lemon shampoo bar

The jumbo size shampoo bar with organic lemon & real citrus peel which contains 10 X the recommended dose of vitamin c which adds vitality and shine to your hair follicles.

Club lemon conditioner bar

Club Lemon conditioner bar is like a moisturizing drink for your hair.

Club lemon bundle 

Get the shampoo & conditioner together and save $4. If you’ve smelled a better lemon flavor, send it back and we will happily refund you.

Do you use sulfates?

Our shampoo & conditioner bars are 100% SLS-free.

They do contain Sodium Coco Sulfate which is a mild cleanser that comes from coconuts and is what makes the bars lather.

Sulfates got a bad reputation for being unsafe, however Sodium Coco Sulfate is safe. It's made from the fatty acid of coconuts, not petroleum like SLS's. People often confuse the two because the process to produce both sulfates is the same. SCS has been deemed a safe ingredient by many environmental, cosmetic, and health watchdog groups. The molecules in SCS are large and cannot penetrate through the skin barrier, while SLS molecules are small and can get into your bloodstream. Once the lather is rinsed from your hair, the SCS goes right down the drain. 

Shampoo bars without sodium coco sulfates are mostly just regular soap labeled as shampoo, or a block of oil without the cleanser. If you look up reviews for these type of bars, you will see that most of them are unfavorable. People complain about their hair being “gummy” or having a “build up” that causes dullness and saying their hair is “lifeless”.  These types of bars need an apple cider vinegar rinse frequently or else the oils from the bars with stay in their hair and on their scalp. This is very unhealthy. Too much oil can cause damage to the hair follicles and cause hair loss in some people. Using an apple cider rinse frequently is also not good because it causes overall damage to hair and is very drying on the scalp. This can  then cause the scalp to over produce oils, leading to further issues.  

After researching this for many years, we have determined that SCS is the best for human health, clean and naturally shiny hair.

Are they handmade?

Yes, they are absolutely handmade where no electricity is used. 

For the shampoo bars, we use a hand press mold and press the ingredients together.

For the conditioner bars, they are poured into a mold and then cured.

Where are they made?

They are handmade in the USA.

Do the bars work in hard water?


The shampoo bars have added lemon juice and lemon oil in every bar because it eliminates the build-up in hair that is caused by natural deposits found in hard water.

This is also why you don’t need an ACV rinse too, it replaces that extra step! And, this is also why most people don’t have an adjustment period when transitioning to our shampoo bars. 

Do I need to use an apple cider vinegar rinse?

No :) Our bars contain organic lemon juice and lemon powder which remove the buildup of styling products, help with hard water, and help to rinse your hair clean. Because of the lemon, an apple cider vinegar rinse is not needed.

Are they gluten-free?

The shampoo bars are gluten-free.

The conditioner bars are not gluten-free because they contain wheat germ oil. We use wheat germ oil for many reasons: it is loaded with vitamins and healthy fats to help the hair grow, it prevents hair loss, strengthens hair follicles, and also helps to preserve the scents of the bars.

How do I use the shampoo & conditioner bars?

Shampoo: Just lather in the bath or shower & give your hair a good wash 

Conditioner: The biggest mistake people make with the conditioner bars is not using enough. We recommend using them all over the hair, even on the roots. Some people are hesitant to do this because they have an oily scalp. Using the bars helps heal the scalp and prevents it from over producing oils after time. 

These bars rinse very clean and it is impossible to over condition with them. Try running your fingers through your hair in the shower - and if there are still tangles or knots, you haven’t used enough. There should be very minimal effort to comb their wet hair after they get out of the shower.

What do you use to color your shampoo & conditioner bars?

All our shampoo & conditioner bars are natural. We use clay which comes from the earth & gives the shampoo bars their wonderful vibrant color. Here’s what we use to color everything...

The Club Lemon bars are colored with yellow clay. 

The Orange Crush bars are colored with Apricot Seed Powder.

The Eucalyptus Fairy is colored with Indigo Powder which is made from a flower called Baphicacanthus Cusia Bremek.

The Mango Breeze bars are colored with yellow clay mixed with apricot seed powder. 

Vanilla Coconut is colored with red clay.

Pink Hibiscus is colored with cranberry powder mixed with apricot seed powder to make the pink.

The Peppermint Shine & Unscented bars contain no coloring.

Do you offer sample sizes?

Unfortunately we can't offer sample sized bars because we don't have the molds at the moment to make smaller bars (and because the current sized bars last so long, we can't give them away as samples). 

However, we do have a 30-day money back guarantee where you can get a full refund if you don't love them.

What packaging do you use?

The labels are sugarcane and the wrap is made of plant fibers. 

All the packaging is 100% compostable and biodegradable :)


Our shampoo and conditioner bars are handmade in a sterilized vegan kitchen, with the ingredients which come from a wholesale supplier that specializes in natural and organic ingredients.

I have a nut allergy. Which nuts could be in the shampoo (walnut/pecan allergy)?

Even though the bars do not contain nuts as a key ingredients (except coconut), there are crushed walnut and almonds in the kitchen. Therefore, we would not recommend these bars for anyone with a nut allergy because of the cross contamination that may happen within the facilities.

I have an allergy to scents - even if they are natural fragrances like essential oils. Which bars have the least-strong scents?

We’ve recently launched a new Unscented option specifically for people with allergies to scents!

For anyone that's not allergic but still wants a milder scent, you can leave the bars out in the opened unwrapped. The scent fades quickly because we don't use preservatives nor chemical fragrances, they get their scents from the essential oil blends.



I have dry & frizzy "I killed it with bleach" hair - what’s best for me?

The bigger bars are better for helping with frizz because they have more moisturizing properties in them. 

They contain Abyssinian oil which comes from the seed of a tiny white flower and is loaded with beneficial properties for healthy hair. It has Omega 4 and 6 fatty acids, as well as Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C and E.

The Mango Breeze seems to work really well for dried out or damaged hair. Definitely match it with the conditioner bar too!

I have dandruff- what’s the best shampoo for me?

The peppermint bar is best for scalp issues. Peppermint oil is really good for hair and scalp, like a natural medication.
We’ve even had one person say it works even better than their expensive medicated prescription shampoo!

Are they safe for colored hair?

Yes, they do not strip the color from hair. I personally color my hair and I think it prolongs it.

They are super moisturizing due to the Cocoa Butter and Coconut Oil - both of which moisturize the hair and scalp. These two ingredients also help protect to colored/treated hair from losing the color too fast. They coat each strand of hair, and prevent water from entering each individual shaft and drawing out the color molecules. Water itself is detrimental for color-treated hair because it easily enters into the hair shaft, swells it up, and then comes back out, carrying the hair dye molecules with it. 

During the washing process with the shampoo bar, the coconut oil and cocoa butter stop most of the water from entering, therefore keeping the dye molecule intact.

Do they work on curly hair?

Yes!  Any of the bars would work well but we’d recommend the Mango Breeze ones - we’ve had lots of comments from people with curly hair who love this one in particular.

Is there really a one-size-fits-all kind of bar?

Yes! Peppermint.

Both oily hair and dry hair are symptoms of scalp issues. And really, when hair is oily, it’s because the scalp is over compensating for dryness. Peppermint heals the scalp so it should work for both dry & oily hair.


Refreshing peppermint scents with healing peppermint oils to revitalize and reenergize your hair, and you!


Super moisturizing conditioner bar that works well on both dry and oily hair.


Get the shampoo & conditioner together and save $4. If you're sceptical about just how well they work - try them risk-free with our 30-day money back guarantee.

One of my sons has super thick hair. You can barely see his scalp. Therefore it collects oils and debris, looking like, or causing dandruff. What's your recommendation?

Any of the bars would work - but for a kid/teenager, we’d recommend any of the bigger bars as they last longer.

Since they really clean and lather so well, any of the bars should get through his thick hair and clean out the oil and debris.

I have thin, graying hair - and need volume and shine! What's best for me?

My hair is fine, straight and somewhat long. It’s also thin, dry and prone to being static. Because it’s so fine, it's easily weighed down by products that are made for dry hair. However, if I use products for "fuller" hair my hair ends up with a lot of static. What should I use?

Pink Hibiscus! We use a blend of essential oils in these bars (to make up the dreamy scent), and as this hair type is thin, the combination of those oils would be the most beneficial as they wouldn’t weigh the hair down.

Can I use your conditioner bars as a leave-in conditioner bar? My hair ends up quite frizzy if I don't use a leave in conditioner.

Yes! You could shave off a little bit of the conditioner bar and mix it with water in a spray bottle for a leave in conditioner, so you could give that a try! If you have the bottle at home already, you won't need to buy any more plastic bottles :)

If your hair type isn't covered here, let us know :)

Hopefully, these FAQs have helped answer some questions and we've covered most hair types! 

If you have any other questions, just drop us an email at and we'll get back to you asap.



Super moisturizing, delicious mango scents with a rich blend of citrus oils and vanilla coconut.. Sweet, clean, and "beachy"!.


A mix of pink hibiscus flowers, spiced rum, and vanilla! It's sensual and sweet, delicious and tropical.


With top scents of vanilla and coconut, & lower scents of cotton candy, caramel, and brown sugar... You can’t get more “beachy” than this scent!


Like a refreshing drink for your hair, with organic lemon & citrus peel to add shine & nourishment.


So refreshing it's like a walk through a Florida orange grove.


If you're looking for an option without any essential oil scents, you might like our new Unscented bars.

Harriet S.
Co-Founder of Zero Waste Cartel & surfer of very small waves.

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Do the shampoo and conditioner bars fit together in the tin container? Or do they need separate containers? Thanks.

Virginia L. Boyd

Will your products work well with cold (unheated) water?


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