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in collaboration with Eco Hair and Beauty and Green Salon Collective // funding from UK Research and Innovation // support from L'Oréal, Wella and Toni & Guy // research assistance from Stephanie Hodgson
ECO TIP 9: Have you ever tried shampoo bars?
Shampoo bars are solid versions of traditional shampoos which typically contain 80% water. Rather than containing harsh chemicals, surfactants and detergents, shampoo bars are often made with natural oils, butters and gentle cleansers.
Read on for:
Shampoo bars seldom contain the same harsh chemicals that traditional shampoos do which strip the natural oils from hair and can lead to breakage over time.
Because they are newer to the market and aiming for more environmentally conscious consumers, shampoo bars are often made with more natural ingredients which are gentler on your hair, scalp and skin.
They save water. You may not save on your water bills here since using shampoo bars is pretty much the same as using traditional shampoo. However, the bars are super concentrated and require less water to manufacture.
Compare that to traditional shampoo containing up to 80% water which means transporting 80% unnecessary material which means significantly reduced emissions related to transport.
Also without such a non-concentrated liquid product, there is less need for plastic packaging. Switching to shampoo bars will reduce your plastic footprint and contribution to plastic pollution.
DYK Plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose and often just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually becoming microplastics which enter our food system.
Most shampoo bars are packaged in recyclable paper or card or sometimes without any packaging at all.
1: Shampoo bars are space savers. They save space in your bathroom and in your toiletry bag when you travel or go to the gym. Ultimately they help with clutter!
2: They are travel friendly. Shampoo bars are small, compact, light and leak-free. How annoying are those liquid limits on flights? You don't need to worry about that with shampoo bars!
The most notable beauty benefit is that leave-in conditioner can give body to fine hair. Some people find that leave-in conditioner makes their hair easier to style. It can also reduce colour fade. Just think: less rinsing out conditioner, less rinsing out dyes.
Using leave-in conditioner rather than showering whilst using traditional conditioner can save on your energy and water bills.
Heating water uses an enormous amount of energy so anything you do to reduce your shower time will have a significant impact on your wallet and on the planet.
Using dry shampoo instead of always shampooing your hair (especially in hot water) can be good for hair as it doesn’t strip natural oils from your scalp. Using it can also save your hair from being blow dried too often which can make hair brittle. Dry shampoo can make it easier for you to style your hair and can give it volume! It can even reduce colour fade.
The cost savings of using dry shampoo once a week over a year saves approximately £80 per household. As for the environment, using dry shampoo can actually help to reduce your water usage and emissions.
First step is finding the right shampoo bar for you and, of course, your hair type.
Soak your hair with water and wet the bar. You can go about the next step in one of two ways or a combination of both. You can build up a lather in your hands and apply to the hair or you can rub the wet bar directly onto your hair.
Continue lathering and working it into your hair as you would do with shampoo. Be sure to massage it into your scalp and all the way down to the roots.
Rinse as normal and condition (if needed) after your shower. You can also try going without conditioner – researchers from the University of Southampton asked those who normally use conditioner to try going without and report back on progress. 40% said it made no difference, 30% said their hair was less oily and didn’t need shampooing again so quickly and 30% said it was worse (too dry). So there is a 70% chance you don’t really need it.
Ever person is different and every bar is different. Try out a few and see what works for you!
PRO TIP: Let your shampoo bars dry out between uses. Leave it somewhere where it can drain and dry out rather than where water can pool around it.
Some people have switched to shampoo bars for environmental reasons. Others have switched to a vegan shampoo bar that matches their lifestyle. Some people use them just for travel or for the gym. Everyone is different and the list of reasons for using shampoo bars over traditional shampoo is long!
If you have tried using shampoo bars – please let us know how it went - we’d love to hear your experiences.