Sunday, July 26, 2009

Trying something new--the shampoo bar

In my quest to reduce my plastic consumption, I have examined my personal care products for ways to improve my environmental footprint. Not only does shampoo, conditioner, body wash and facial cleanser come in plastic bottles, many additives are not great for me or the environment. Down the drain does not mean gone forever as extensive tests and scientific reports have shown.

At the farmers market I visit weekly, one vendor sells homemade soap. While I have the best of intentions to make my own soap with lye, olive oil and a touch of honey, the ingredients are still on my pantry shelves and I remain hopeful I will make it in the future. One item that caught my eye recently at the soap vendor was a shampoo bar. Talk about environmentally friendly packaging and reduced waste! Here was a solid bar for shampooing my hair, the ingredient list was short (and understandable) and the packaging was minimal--just a thin cardboard box.

When I inquired about the item, the seller explained I just had to use on my hair as it lathers up like liquid shampoo and rinse it out. If I felt a residue, more prone to this in hard water than in soft, use some diluted vinegar (~50% solution from what you buy in the grocery store) and spray on my hair to rinse it clean.

I was excited to try my new shampoo bar because it was novel. I wet my hair, easily moved the bar over the hair and lathered well. It felt just like I was using liquid shampoo except I rubbed a bar on my roots. I rinsed it out and while the hair was a bit tackier than normal, it was clean and free of oil and styling products. My hair curled nicely but I did notice the tackiness I felt after shampooing translated to more gunky feeling hair by the end of the second day. Since I wash my hair every two days, this was not awful but I plan on rinsing with some vinegar the next time I use it.

In total, I used the shampoo bar three times and was happy with its performance. The tacky residue was disconcerting but my hair did not seem to act differently than with liquid shampoo. I will definitely keep using the bar and will try the vinegar rinse to see how it affects the tacky feeling and the residue after two days.

While I am happy with the shampoo bar, there are still several bottles of perfectly good shampoo stashed away and even some I really enjoy using. I will not be trading in the plastic bottle for the cardboard box permanently, but as a companion to my current personal care regime. Now if I could only find the perfect facial cleanser for summer and winter...


  1. If you have one in your area, Lush sells shampoo bars - you can also buy them online. Of course, you will pay premium prices for it there...

  2. @Lise,

    I have heard of Lush but was hoping to purchase such items locally if possible.