Updated: Oct 29, 2020
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of shampoo and conditioner bars by now, or even seen them in your local markets, health stores or supermarkets. But what’s the big deal? Why bother going through the palaver of changing everything up? Here’s why: because if you aren’t using Shampoo and Conditioner bars, you’re missing our big time! Read on for five reasons that Shampoo and Conditioner bars are the bees knees and well and truly worth making the change to!
1. EASY. The concept of using a bar in your hair, instead of liquid squirted from a plastic bottle, seems pretty foreign right? Weird even? Awkward perhaps? Well here’s the thing… it’s truly not. Using a shampoo or conditioner bar is simple. For the shampoo, you just wet your hair and the bar, run it through the roots until the desired amount of product has been attained. Then you use your fingers to work the product through your hair, creating a lather (sound familiar?) and rinse as usual. The conditioner is applied to the mid-lengths and ends of your wet hair until you feel like there’s enough, then use your fingers to work it through again, and rinse! You can see my 'how to' use a shampoo bar video here, and my 'how to' use a conditioner bar video here.
Ever counted the plastic bottles in your bathroom cabinet and shower? "But I recycle them!" I hear you say. And that is far better than them ending up in landfill, or the ocean. But the truth is that only 9% of all plastic ever created has been recycled, and even when you do recycle a plastic bottle, it doesn't make the problem disappear. That plastic still exists, just in another form, and it will continue to exist for hundreds of years. No one knows how long plastic takes to break up (because it doesn’t break down, it just breaks up into smaller pieces called microplastics – which incidentally, are now found in 9 out of 10 fish, and the average human consumes a credit card full of them every week), but estimates put it at a minimum of 450 years. Also, plastic is not infinitely recyclable, every time it is recycled the quality of the plastic decreases, meaning most plastics can be recycled 7-9 times. Recycling involves burning oil to melt it back down to create new products, and that's on top of the energy intensive process involved in creating the plastic in the first place. And lastly, chucking a plastic shampoo bottle in your recycling bin doesn’t guarantee that it will actually be recycled; factors such as the grade of your plastic, contamination and worldwide plastic markets all come into play. The simple truth is we need to reduce our plastic use rather than rely on recycling. Shampoo and conditioner bottles are the perfect place to start. Take a bar of Lusid shampoo for example. One 72g bar is the equivalent of 500ml of liquid, that’s 2.5 200ml plastic shampoo bottles saved for every bar! If you’re thinking that those environmental benefits must come at a price, keep reading…
3. COST EFFECTIVE. While at first glance a shampoo or conditioner bar may seem pricey, it only takes some quick high-school maths to discover that bars are in fact priced very competitively. You see the thing is, that a typical bottle of shampoo is around 40% water, and conditioner can be up to 90% water. Shampoo and conditioner bars take that ingredient out (because why should you be paying for water??), and by doing so, you are getting a concentrate product, of which you require significantly less to use. So a $22 bar of shampoo would be the equivalent of 500gr of liquid shampoo.
To give you a price comparison:
500ml of Pantene shampoo from Countdown Supermarket would cost $10.66. ($8 for 375ml). 500ml of Loreal Professional Shampoo from Rodney Wayne would cost $55.00 ($33 for 300ml).
Suddenly $22 for a salon-quality product doesn’t seem so steep!
4. GREAT FOR TRAVEL – Shampoo and conditioner bars are your ultimate travel-buddy. You've probably experienced that weep-worthy moment of opening up our suitcase to discover… yuck… cabin pressure has caused our shampoo bottle to leak and filter its soggy way through our carefully curated travel wardrobe. With shampoo and conditioner bars you can bid adios to the days of bottle-blowing catastrophes. Bars also take up a fraction of the space of bottles, and you can even go one better and chop off a small piece for your travels. Just pop them in a tin and away you go. Bon voyage!
5. NO NASTIES – Ok, so this one is a bit of a generalization, but it just so happens that people who care about making products that are free from plastic, also give a damn about the other ingredients in your shampoos and conditioners, and the affect that those ingredients can have on you and the planet. Chances are, your solid shampoo and conditioner bars will be free of most of the following: parabens, sulfates, silicones, synthetic fragrances and non-ethically sourced palm-oil. Oh and I can pretty much guarantee that they won’t have been animal tested. Many are also organic and vegan, and don’t forget to look for NZ made!
Now you know why shampoo and conditioner bars are turning haircare on its head! They’re easy to use, plastic-free, cost-effective, perfect for travel and full of good stuff. So what’s holding you back? For our hair, for our pockets, for the planet… it's time to raise the bar.
I love that, as part of my job, I get to share about incredible, sustainable NZ businesses. This post is written in collaboration with Lusid Beauty. I only work with businesses that I use, trust and love. The words and opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Juliet - The Great Eco Journey