If you think you are already doing your part to reduce plastic use, take a quick peek inside your shower stall. See those plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner? No judgment but ahem…
The good news is there is another, more eco-friendly way to cleanse that magnificent mane of yours. The growing category of shampoo bars is gaining in popularity with people who want to do the right thing but also want their hair to look its absolute best.
Shampoo bars are a small but significant step in our quest to reduce plastic proliferation. The makers of these bars say their products are essentially the good parts of shampoo (the stuff that gets your hair clean and beautiful) without a bunch of non-essential water (liquid shampoo contains 80 to 90% of water) added – and with no plastic bottle required.
The amount of plastic used in the beauty industry is significant, creating 120 billion plastic packaging units every year globally. In the United States, 552 million plastic shampoo bottles are sold every year. However, less than 10% of the plastic we create gets recycled.
Removing the water from shampoo formulations leaves consumers with one small bar containing the equivalent of around three bottles of shampoo, enough for up to 80 washes, depending on the brand. Then, there is the issue of what it takes to get that bottle transported from a factory to your shower stall because you get more product for less weight and volume. There are fewer greenhouse gases generated during shipping with shampoo bars.
Brianne West, founder and CEO of Ethique, explained that one of their shampoo bars has just 8% of the carbon footprint of the liquid product equivalent. Allison Teasdale, COO of Unwrapped Life, notes that they have diverted more than 4.5 million plastic bottles from entering our oceans. They are committed to preventing more than 20 million plastic bottles by 2025.
It Might Take Some Getting Used To
After rinsing and drying, your hair might look a little different than the way it does after a traditional shampoo, at least at first. Shampoo bars tend to be gentler than shampoo, so you will need to let your hair adjust to that milder cleansing or you might eventually need to switch up the timing and frequency of your shampoos. For some people, it takes two to three weeks to ‘break in’ and let the hair become normalized after years of having natural oils stripped away by shampoos.
What About Conditioner?
Whether you will need a conditioner bar is a matter of your particular hair type. Someone with short hair might be just fine but those with thicker, longer or curlier hair might want to use one.
Travel and Shave With Your Shampoo Bar
Because of their compact size, shampoo bars make sense for travel. They eliminate worries about Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements because – ta-da! – you have ditched the liquid altogether. Whether you are staying at a luxury hotel or a campsite, you will also find that a shampoo bar is an excellent in-a-pinch way to care for hand-washable clothing when you are on the road.
People can use the bars on their entire bodies or as a replacement for shaving cream. And you can break them out when it is time to wash pets too. No matter what you are doing with your own particular bar, they are gentle enough to use every day.
A Few Shampoo Bars to Try
Arencia Shampoo Bar
This refreshing daily shampoo bar is made with Boseong green tea, camellia oil and tea tree oil. Boseong is a region in Korea known for its green tea fields, high altitude and wide daily temperature range create green teas that are concentrated with catechins and vitamins. Formulated for normal to oily hair, it is also a good choice for those with dandruff.
J.R Liggett Shampoo Bar
Liggett, who has been making and selling J.R Liggett’s shampoo bars for more than 30 years, said that their product is earth-friendly, people-friendly and pet-friendly. The travel set from this shampoo bar maker comes with a pouch that allows the bar to dry completely, reducing waste.
Apple Valley Natural Soap
Apple Valley Natural Soap is naturally hand-crafted in small batches using the cold process method. Suitable for normal to oily hair, this pink bar features rose kaolin clay which promotes hydration, detoxification, circulation, new cell growth and the reduction of inflammation and irritation.
Let us know in the comment section below if you are planning to switch to shampoo bars.