Not actual soap, but a shampoo bar. Would you ditch the plastic bottles?

With the rising awareness of what one-use plastics are doing to our beloved planet (and in doing our absolute upmost to not disappoint David Attenborough) we’re often left wondering what we can do next to help. We recycle, we’ve got multiple foldaway shopper bags and we’ve protested against the use of palm oil by giving up Nutella (yes, really). Retailers are switching plastic carrier bags to recyclable paper ones and supermarkets are trialling packaging-free shopping. LUSH were one of the first people to release a shampoo bar that comes, you guessed it, without a plastic bottle. More and more brands are starting to develop them, while it’s being describes as a ‘trend’ it really needs to be a lifestyle change. Deep down we know we should be using them, but would we?

If you’re anything like us, it’s taken you nearly a quarter of a century to find a shampoo and conditioner that actually works well for your hair. So why on Earth would you suddenly give this up? Here’s a few pretty good reasons why:

National Geographic stated the four main reasons why you should switch up your hair care from bottles to bars.

They reduce the use of plastics

Right now, around nine million tonnes of plastic are being thrown into our seas and oceans every year. If you break that down, it works out that one bin-full of plastic is being dumped every minute. By ditching the bottles and buying shampoo bars which are generally sold in recyclable boxes or wrapping, which you can then store in reusable metal tins. You’ll be contributing to cutting back the use of plastics while keeping your bathroom looking, in our opinion, sleeker and tidier. Our planet really is in need of some TLC and this will seriously help; David Attenborough would be proud.

You can travel with them

No more squeezing 100ml of your favourite products into travel bottles before you fly! And absolutely no chance of shampoo-y leakages all over your outfits for your holiday in your suitcase. Travelling with shampoo bars couldn’t be easier as, well, there’s no problems at all! No limit on how much you can take, and it might even make the contents of your case smell delicious. Win, win, we think!

They’re concentrated to last longer

Most bottled shampoos and conditioners hold 80-95% water. When you use shampoo bars, they’re super concentrated. Adding water to them is essentially the same as the water that comes in the bottles. Due to their high concentration levels, they tend to last two-to-three times longer than your bottled products do. This means you’re not only saving the planet, but you’re saving yourself shopping trips and pennies too. Yay!

They’re cruelty free and natural

The brands creating the wonders that are shampoo bars, are generally on a mission to save the oceans, planet, the wildlife that live here, and the ecosystems that are affected by the mass production or chemical-burdened products of the beauty industry. While many bottled shampoos and conditioning products are full of chemicals that can rid your hair of its natural oils and irritate your scalp, shampoo bars tend to be made from solely natural ingredients and are cruelty free from the environment and animals. One more thing, they’re generally free from palm oil too! Which means giving up Nutella was totally worth while.

The reasons above are completely viable when it comes to deciding whether to make this lifestyle change or not. We spoke to three people who all have experiences with shampoo bars to see what they thought.

Georgia, 23, from Essex has been using shampoo bars for just under a year, and made the switch to cut down on the use of plastics in her bathroom. “I was using the ‘Godiva’ bar from Lush, but now I’m trying out the ‘Bounty Hunter’ shampoo bar from Bath Bubble and Beyond which I managed to pick up from my old student’s union shop!” She said that using these have had a huge, positive impact on her hair. “My hair is very thick mixed black Caribbean/white, and as I’ve learned from making the switch, it really doesn’t enjoy having too much product put in it!”

“The natural products have made my hair smoother, shinier and softer to the touch, and it’s easier to manage than ever before”.

She went on to say “they’ve had a huge impact on my hair, and my self-esteem in general, making me a lot more comfortable with my natural curls. They’re environmentally friendly too, meaning I’ve been able to dodge buying plastic bottle after plastic bottle.”

We then spoke to Jamie, 22, from Bradford who started using Lush shampoo bars two years ago. “As a blogger I was getting disappointed with the repeat of products that I would see within the hair industry and felt like I needed to try some new things for my blog at the time. I saw a major difference. When using Trichomania (from Lush) I saw a major difference in that my hair stopped being dry and started to appear more healthy and shiny due to the natural ingredients.”

Next up, we quizzed Sophie from Cumbria. Sophie, 27, currently uses Lush’s Jumping Juniper shampoo bar and Lush Big conditioner. Here’s what she thinks: “I have to be brutally honest. I wouldn’t recommend Lush shampoo bars to anyone. They’re full of Laureth Sulphate which completely strips your hair, so essentially they’re just a solid form and more expensive version of supermarket shampoo. My face loves the Lush cleanser though and the natural soap bar. I’ve got sensitive skin and get red horrible blotches, so I have to be careful about what I put on my face.”

Although she doesn’t love Lush’s products, Sophie is still determined to continue using bars instead of bottles. “I want to try Primal Suds next. They’re a totally natural and a British brand which contain no nasty chemicals and you don’t need to use conditioner. The only thing I’d be concerned about would be the transition phase that my hair will go through. I imagine it’d be pretty horrendous, because I have greasy roots and dry ends but I’ve read that they’re amazing once your hair adjusts.”

Finally, we asked Luke, 28, from Bradford what his opinions were having used shampoo bars for a whole year and a half now. “I was looking for something that would be more cost effective as solid bars last at least three times longer than the normal bottles of shampoo and conditioner that I normally use. I currently use the Seanic Shampoo Bar and Big Solid Conditioner from Lush and one from The Yorkshire Soap Company.” He confirmed that using these products gave his hair more natural volume and meant that he didn’t have to wash it as often.

We asked all three of these shampoo bar users for advice on switching to these plastic-free products. Their main point was to just go for it. Do your research, read reviews and ask around so that you have a good measure of knowledge when it comes to choosing the right product for you and your locks. Expect your hair to rebel to the lack of chemicals that it is trained to be used to, but power through and know that there is very much a light at the end of this plastic-free tunnel.

Will you be making the change to abandon plastic shampoo bottles? The environmental benefits that it holds are incredible and in the long run, really could save the state of our planet. They could also save the state of your hair! Let us know your thoughts and if you already use shampoo bars, shout about your recommendations in the comments below.

Feature image: Heather Ford on Unsplash