As part of my plans to be more sustainable in 2019, I’ve been looking at ways to eliminate unnecessary plastic from the house. My partner seems to think that this is a tad unnecessary, “It’s all recyclable, and you recycle everything.” He says with a frown.
Well, yes and no. In theory it is all recyclable, but actually many low-grade plastics are refused by recycling plants now that the can’t be exported abroad for recycling, and are just incinerated. So cutting down as much as possible is obviously the way forward.
I’d already started experimenting with beeswax wraps to use in the kitchen, and as I’d run out of shampoo it made sense to start looking at plastic free alternatives. I did some reading and decided to try solid shampoo from Lush. I did some reading about Lush’s ethical status and their decision to continue using SLS and other chemicals in their products, and decided while it’s a mixed bag, it was the best viable alternative to plastic packaged shampoo that I could find at this moment in time.
Do they reduce waste?
From a zero waste or at least plastic reduction point of view they are good. The packaging that they arrived in is entirely compostable, with the starch pellets having vanished into my heap already and the cardboard slowly breaking down. The metal storage tins can be used over and over again and look more streamlined in the bathroom than the shampoo and conditioner bottles that would normally be in the same place. They take up a lot less space for a more minimalist look and according to Lush, one lorry load of their shampoo bars is the equivalent of 15 lorries of old style shampoo.
What are they like to use?
I was really impressed with the Honey I Washed My Hair shampoo bar. It works like a normal bar of soap (remember those?) in that you rub it on your wet hands to lather up, then rub this into your hair to wash it. A little goes a long way and I’ve learned that if I use too much my hair gets “squeaky clean” very fast. I don’t like the sensation of my hair squeaking and it feels like it’s been stripped of all it’s oils and protection so I’ve learned to hold back with the shampoo bar but even from the first wash it’s worked quite well though the sweet smell is a bit powerful if you use too much.
The conditioner is a bit more of an issue. I’ve always liked to use quite a bit of conditioner on the ends of my hair. It’s partly because my hair is fine and wavy and liable to tangle, and partly because my hair is pulled around a lot by babies and toddlers. After a few uses, I’d say that the fragrance isn’t great, but this is probably a good thing given how powerful the smell of Honey I Washed My Hair is. I found the Sugar Daddy-O conditioner bar a bit fiddly to apply, with lots of repeated rubbing through all of my hair to ensure an even coverage. Having said that, I haven’t noticed my hair feeling any drier than usual and that’s with weekly trips to a chlorinated pool.
Do I love them?
I like that they are plastic free and I like that they take up so little room in my bathroom. Solid shampoo would obviously be ideal for travelling. What I don’t like is that they contain SLS, my old shampoo and conditioner were SLS and paraben free for all that they came in plastic packaging. My skin on my face and body has felt dry since starting with the dry shampoo, as if I’d washed with soap, and given that I’m quite prone to eczema and dermatitis that’s obviously not ideal and I’m having to layer up with moisturizer to compensate.
Having said that, my hair does seem to have more volume than usual and my boyfriend did tell me that it was looking very shiny the other day, so if dry skin isn’t a concern for you, I’d definitely recommend trying these out.
In the meantime, I’ll be keen to experiment with less drying shampoo bars when I’ve finished this. Can anyone recommend one that would work on blonde hair? I’m also in the market for a sustainable deodorant.