Shower essentials pt.1 – Haircare

Shampoo

Possibly the first low-waste swap I consciously made, was switching from typical supermarket shampoo, to a solid shampoo bar (I currently use one from ‘Lush’). The initial cost of the shampoo bar can seem off-putting (The ‘Lush’ bars cost an average of £8), but they last an insanely long time. I have also found that since switching to natural shampoo, I can go a lot longer between washes without my head feeling oily, and my scalp (which in the past has been prone to dryness) has also been a lot healthier.

Photo by Curology on Unsplash

Possibly the first low-waste swap I consciously made, was switching from typical supermarket shampoo, to a solid shampoo bar (I currently use one from ‘Lush’). The initial cost of the shampoo bar can seem off-putting (The ‘Lush’ bars cost an average of £8), but they last an insanely long time. I have also found that since switching to natural shampoo, I can go a lot longer between washes without my head feeling oily, and my scalp (which in the past has been prone to dryness) has also been a lot healthier.

When getting to the end of a shampoo bar, it can get a little difficult to use when the remainder of the bar breaks into lots of little pieces. However, I bought a little exfoliating soap pouch to put all the small pieces into, so that when my next bar runs down to the end I can finish using it right to the end without washing the last little bits down the drain. (I use a natural Sisal soap pouch, which I bought from the online shop ‘Earth Bits’ – £2.95).

I’m still exploring shampoo bar options from smaller brands, but until I find a bar that can compete with ‘Lush’ with regards to how well they work with my hair, and how long the bars last, I will keep using the ‘Lush’ shampoo bars. I’ve tried a couple other brands so far, and they didn’t lather very well, and dried out my hair quite badly (the length of my hair was bleached quite a lot last year, so I need a bar that can keep my hair soft and brush-able).

Conditioner

After the success of the shampoo bar, I thought I’d try out a conditioner bar too. Again, I went with Lush, but I wouldn’t say that this is as much of a success. Sure it leaves my hair more nourished than it was before I used it, but it doesn’t come close to the conditioning properties of all the brands of liquid conditioner that I’ve been using for years (‘Aussie’, ‘Pantene’, ‘Head and Shoulders’ etc).

I was still determined to find a good plastic free alternative that doesn’t break the bank, and I’ve finally found something I like. When I discovered that a zero waste bulk shop (‘The Source Bulk Foods’) had recently opened near me, I immediately went to check it out and found the perfect solution for zero waste conditioner. They have huge containers of the natural hair care brand ‘Faith in Nature’, where you can bring a bottle (or buy one) and fill up on shampoo and conditioner. There is no requirement for a minimum or maximum amount, you just pay by volume for as little or as much as you like.

I have been using the ‘Faith in Nature’ liquid conditioner for a few weeks now, and it works brilliantly for my (very damaged) hair. It is a natural, vegan and cruelty free, ethical conditioner made here in the UK, and if you can’t find a refill location, you can buy the ‘Faith in Nature’ products in 5L bottles to reduce the number of smaller plastic bottles you use (I would recommend buying a small bottle of it first to see if it works for your hair!).

  • Side note for refilling liquid hair care products: If you don’t have any old plastic shampoo/conditioner bottles lying around at home, then your best bet is to buy a glass or aluminium bottle to store it in. Aluminium is preferable in the shower as it will not smash if you drop it, but if you use glass bottles then just take extra care and maybe store them on or near the ground.

Over the last few months, I have gradually worked out what works for me and my hair, and I am simply sharing my choices and experiences to make things easier for you. What works for my hair type will not suit everyone, and not everyone will need to use conditioner at all if their hair is not as damaged as mine! As an example, I gave my dad a shampoo bar which he loved, and which lasted him more than 7months. I gave my mum a shampoo bar at the same time, which she used in combination with other liquid shampoo and conditioner, and the bar lasted a similar length of time for her. It doesn’t matter if you use a shampoo bar and still buy supermarket conditioner (or vice versa), or if you want to use a mix of bottled and bar shampoo, whatever works for you. If everyone made little changes, it would make a huge difference.

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