One of the most versatile ‘eco’ beauty products has to be soap bars. They are a great example of a product with no plastic packaging and something that everyone uses (or at least the people I want to spend time with!). In my post about Soaper Heros, I featured the Friendly travel soap which was one of the first eco gifts that I sold at the pop up stall for the school and marked the start of this eco adventure for me. It remains that this is in my opinion is the best ‘all rounder’ soap and a great travel companion used as a shaving bar, laundry soap and shampoo too and at a low cost of only a few pounds. It definitely has a place in our family bathroom. Although it a great product, I am look for something a bit more specific for hair.
With a hairdressing qualification and also having worked at a leading beauty retailer in the hair care sector, I have a keen interest and knowledge about hair and beauty products. I can see the eco benefit of a soap bar over a plastic bottle in reducing packaging but always been more skeptical when it comes to using shampoo and conditioner in a soap form. In the past they have not been good sellers but times are changing and consumers are being more eco conscious in their choices and this is seeing the popularity of the soap bar again. The main ingredient of traditional soaps is sodium lauryl sulfate which is a surfactant used to degrease. Although very good at doing this job it has often been associated with drying out, like hands or skin for example. They are also highly alkaline which when used on hair can give a rough appearance of the hair follicle, leaving it with a dull appearance all of which is not what we would want for a hair product. Balancing the PH with a conditioner afterwards will help improve the hair appearance by smoothing back down the hair follicles. Therefore, I am looking for a product that contains something more gentle for shampoo in a the soap bar form.
I decided to give some shampoo and conditioner bars by Grϋum a go, having seen them advertised. They are a small UK enterprise where they make all their products from natural ingredients. All of their packaging is made from recycled materials that are carefully thought about for size and shape. They are also the first UK company to offer a recycling scheme for razor blades which I might give a go for another blog post.
The shampoo bars are the equivalent of using 2 plastic bottles of shampoo. They are not a cheap product at £8 a bar but you need to consider that it lasts for longer and be mindful when making a comparison. Grϋum also offer discounts too on multiple and repeat purchases. I ordered the brightening shampoo to counteract any dullness with the extra moisturising coconut conditioner. I also ordered 2 of the the tins for shower storage.
The shampoo main ingredient is sodium coco sulfate. which is an alternative to the traditional sodium lauryl sulfate. It is palm oil free as it is made from the fatty acids of coconut oil without the issues around deforestation of habitats of endangered species. It’s rich foam cleanses hair, dissolving dirt and grease effectively without drying the hair or opening up the hair follicles. The shanpoo has a lovely fresh lemon fragrance with textured appearance. The conditioner is a rich solid milky white bar that is lightly embossed with the words ‘conditioner bar’ on the top.
I was very impressed with how these shampoo soaps foamed up. With very little water the soap bar was much like any usual shampoo, releasing the lemony fresh aromas. The conditioner bar took a while to get it to lather but then seemed to apply fine with a few goes. I was pleased that my hair seemed soft and not at all dry and I would say equivalent to using my regular shampoo and conditioner.
The only slight annoyance is the tins are not differentiated in any way. I would prefer a labelled tin so I know which is which as I know I will get them muddled up! I got around this by adding a hairband to the lid of the shampoo tin to remember use that one first. For me this what being ‘eco’ is about finding solutions. If you try something and its the same of better than what you were using before then this will be a good eco swap. What else are you willing to give a go?
Some suggestions for other posts about ‘eco swaps’: Coffee Pods, Make-up refils, Ice lollies, Face Scrubbies, Unsponges, Beeswax wraps