With reports of water scarcity and shortages across the world unless radical changes take place, it’s high time to make easy switches to reduce water waste. With that in mind, we look at reasons to trade bottled shampoo for shampoo bars.
Whether you lather up every day or give your locks a good wash every few weeks, there is one nifty and easy way of making your shampoo habit cleaner for the environment: shampoo bars.
Often made using natural - and sometimes vegan - ingredients, the bars are a big win for the environment in that they usually come wrapped in paper or recyclable boxes rather than the plastic bottles liquid counterparts.
Unlike liquid shampoos and conditioners, the solid bars typically use very little water in the manufacturing stage, being as they are, a concentrated product. And given that some shampoos are up to 80% water, while conditioners can consist of up to 95% water, this is also another big tick for the environment.
The bars are easier to transport than liquid shampoo being lightweight and solid in shape. There’s no need to decant them into tiny plastic bottles to get through airport security nor is there a worry they’ll leak in your bag either.
And if that isn’t enough to sway you, on average solid bars last longer too, making them more affordable in the long run.
But are shampoo bars any good?
Brianne West, founder of Ethique, the world’s first full-range zero-waste beauty brand thinks so.
Frustrated with the amount of plastic clogging the oceans and water wastage, the scientist created the brand of beauty bars, which has just launched in the UK.
And she is pleased with the results both in terms of cleansing the hair and in creating a positive impact on the environment.
“The shampoos work, they genuinely work - look at our reviews!” she says.
“Every little step makes a difference. Every time you buy a sustainable product, it’s a vote for a much more sustainable world. I created the products out of a desire to live as sustainably as possible and to positively contribute to the environment.
“It was driven by the realisation that plastic packaging is one of the most significant problems facing our planet. Despite our best intentions as consumers, just 9% of plastic worldwide is
actually recycled, which is why such an extortionate amount of plastic waste that continues to end up in landfills and our oceans.”
Solid beauty products wrapped in recyclable packaging
You might need to shop around to find the right bar for you, as well as exact on the best way to clean your hair with it - some work best on everyday use, others require a longer massage than liquid shampoo - but the pay-off is worth it.
Swapping up liquid shampoo for a solid shampoo bar means reducing the need for unnecessary plastic packaging and reliance on landfills, and just as bad, the oceans.
And given how many shampoo bottles we go through just in washing and conditioning our hair, the argument to switch to solid bars wrapped in recyclable packaging is a compelling one.
“The difference with solid beauty products is that they can be packaged in compostable sleeves and therefore, completely remove the need for plastic packaging,” she says.
“Traditional liquid shampoos require plastic containers to contain them, which of course doesn’t compost and are then with us for a very long time.
“Every piece of plastic ever made is still on earth, in one form or another, because it simply doesn’t break down. Instead it breaks up into micro-plastics which no microorganisms use for food. Plastic is incredibly resource-heavy to make; from mining the fossil fuels required, to the water used and the carbon released.”
As well as the packaging, the facts around water wastage are hard to brush aside. Particularly when a small change can make a big difference. “There’s already water in your shower, after all, so why would you need shampoo and conditioner to be made from up to 90% water?”
“Water shortages are expected to seriously impact 2 billion people by 2025. Only 0.3% of the water on earth is accessible or usable to use, so why waste this in your products when you already have water in your shower?
“Each bar you use is the equivalent to at least three bottles of the equivalent. This means, on average, every bar saves just under 1L of water.”
Words: Keeley Bolger