You may have heard of them from that one friend who is always killing it on the sustainability front or seen them popping up in beauty roundups, but what exactly is a shampoo bar?
We share everything you need to know about this eco-friendly shampoo option that eliminates plastic waste and leaves your hair as silky as it is sustainable. Plus, we share some of our favourite brands to try incorporating into your daily rinse.
What is a Shampoo Bar?
Simply put, a shampoo bar is a more concentrated, solid version of what you’d find in your shampoo bottle. Shampoo bars keep all the good stuff and eliminate the water (which usually makes up 90% of a shampoo bottle) and any other liquid ingredients.
The concentrated bar means you need less product, and it will last a lot longer. Although they may look small, one bar usually equals about three bottles of shampoo and gives you on average 70 washes — a major win for your wallet alone.
What Makes Them So Sustainable?
It’s no secret that we humans have a plastic problem. It’s estimated that over 550 million empty shampoo bottles are thrown away in the US alone each year. And it pains us to say this number doesn’t even include conditioner bottles. Unfortunately, only 9% of bottles are properly recycled, and the rest end up in landfills, where they take on average 450 years to decompose.
Shampoo bars skip this waste with minimal packaging and have a much smaller carbon footprint. Just think of how much heavier a regular shampoo bottle is in comparison. Producing and shipping these ultimately water-filled plastic bottles means higher carbon emissions, which is the last thing our planet needs right now.
Another eco-plus of these concentrated bars is that in addition to removing water, they usually leave out potentially harmful chemicals that can end up in our waterways. You’ll usually find that shampoo bars formulas include amazing natural ingredients that are kind to both your hair and the environment.
While these facts may leave you side-eyeing your shampoo the next time you shower, switching to a shampoo bar is the perfect way to make a small sustainable tweak to your daily routine that will make a big difference over time.
How Do You Use a Shampoo Bar?
Sometimes there can be an adjustment period when switching to more sustainable products, but swapping out your shampoo bottle for a bar could not be easier. You still get that satisfying lather, but with the added bonus of knowing you’re doing well by the planet.
Once you’re in the shower, gently rub your shampoo bar directly onto your wet hair. Gently massage your scalp to create a lather and then thoroughly rinse your hair. That’s it.
One thing we’ll give you a heads up on is the dos and don’t of storing your shampoo bar. We learned the hard way that you should let your bar dry completely between uses. Because it is concentrated and activated by water, it will eventually become a mushy mess if your bar sits in water for too long. But here are some easier ways we found to avoid this:
- After using your bar, place it on a soap dish with slats or grooves to help the water drain out.
- If you’re finding that your bar is still getting mushy, try cutting it up into single-use flakes. Store these in a tin in your bathroom and use them as needed.
Some Brands You Should Try
If you’re curious about trying a shampoo bar the next time you need a restock, we recommend giving the brands below a try. They use natural ingredients that are mindful of the planet (some even give back) and offer different formulas to address all of your hair care needs.
Once you’ve given your shower an eco-upgrade, learn how to make the rest of your bathroom more eco-friendly. And if you’re really feeling motivated, move on to the kitchen and check out our round-up of ten essential items to invest in for a plastic-free kitchen.