Sustainability & haircare - shampoo and conditioner bars
Updated: May 5, 2021
With the current growing awareness of polluting our home (aka Mother Earth) more and more people make changes in their daily lives: plastic straws replaced by bamboo or metal reusable straws, reusable water bottles became a hype and had to be as fashionable as a water bottle could be. Also in the bathroom, we want to make a few changes: we said hello to the bamboo toothbrushes, toothpicks and toothpaste tablets, the old-school soap bar came back and many brands thought: why not creating bars for shampoo and conditioner. I think about NatureBox and Lush as the brands I know and use, but there are plenty of haircare bars nowadays. Are they truly better in all aspects? Read further to find out!
I use the Nature Box shampoo bars and the Lush conditioner bars. I write this review based on my experience with these bars from these brands. I will also share the experience from others with conditioner bars and strictly mention when it's their story I'm telling and not my experience. I feel like I owe you to say this, since everyone has different hair. It's like your skin: some got oily skin, others got normal skin with oily or dry patches, others have dry to very dry skin. But now, let's get into the review.
My hair type and history
Well, important to know I guess. I got dry to very dry hair. I used to get a balayage for two years, but I stopped with it about a year ago. Why? First of all, it's pricy haha. The hairdresser where I go does it quite well, but I'm not willing to pay 100 to 150 euros every few months, because - this brings me to my second reason - I feel like you have to fix your balayage quite soon, I'd say after two to three months. Whenever I went to the hairdresser they'd always do my balayage over, but not on the colored hair, they'd take new hairs... I asked why and they said it's normal to do so, but screw that Carol! Anyway, getting off-topic here. The balayage dried out my hair so much and I also experienced hair loss for quite some time. I'm not saying it was linked to the balayage, because I was recovering from a burn-out a few years ago. In the past three to five years I've tried out so many shampoo and conditioner, vegan, cruelty-free, free from SLS, parabens, sulfates, or the opposite, drugstore products versus salon products. I've seen too much, to be honest. In short I can say that salon products will make your hair look great, but it's not like really healthy, I'd say: because of all the junk in there your hair looks amazing, but the moment you stop using the products you can experience hair loss, residues in your hair, or - like me - end up like a bison frize. So, I guess it was November 2019, while I was still living in Sweden, that I decided to use the Faith in Nature shampoo and conditioner completely so I didn't have to take it with me to Belgium and I stopped using a blow dryer. I'll be honest, living up North in winter asks some planning when to wash your hair when you're not into blow drying anymore, but hey, it worked out well. Once I was back in Belgium, at the beginning of 2020, I only used shampoo and conditioner bars, since I got my first ones in a Christmas gift.
About the bottle experiences
I'll make a shortlist of a few products that I remember and how I experienced them. This doesn't mean you'll have the same experience with them.
Faith in Nature shampoo and conditioner - jojoba: large bottles are a yay to me, since you can use it for a very long time. I used mine for 6 months. I would say that at that time I did experience a lot of hair loss, but I also found myself in one of the most stressful times of my life.
Dr Organic shampoo and conditioner - charcoal: I'd say yay if you use them both. To me the shampoo dries out my hair so it starts to tangle. Applying the conditioner seems the only relief to make my hair smooth.
Gliss kur Schwarzkopf - pretty much all of them: this line of Schwarzkopf was my go-to when I was in my teenage years, it does the job (despite all the junk in it) and it's not too pricy. The only reason I had split ends and dry hair was because I used my straightener at a too high temperature.
About the shampoo bar experience
As mentioned earlier, I've been using shampoo bars from Nature Box since January/ February 2020, so let's say about 5 to 6 months. I am now using my second shampoo bar. I don't know if it's just me, but I feel like these don't last me as long as plastic shampoo bottles. However, the bars are only packed in carton and the bottles are plastic. Price-wise I'd say Nature Box' shampoo bars cost about 6 to 7 euros, quick calculating it could cost me 12 to 21 euros for shampoo per year. Guess, that's okay with me. What does it do to my hair? Well, it's clean. I use shampoo twice and I can really feel that my hair has been cleaned and taken care of by the shampoo bar. I don't struggle with any hair loss and my hair doesn't feel heavy.
About the conditioner bar experience
Oh well, I'm currently using the pink one by Lush, since it's a gift I'm not sure what the name is, but checking the Lush website I believe it's 'American cream'. I started using it at the same time I started with my shampoo bars and I still have so much left! I guess I might be able to use it for a whole year or even longer! Of course, price-wise knowing Lush, it might be a bit pricy, but let's say 12 euros for a conditioner that last a year or even longer, is least to be said a good deal! Also the packaging of Lush is quite sustainable paper packaging, but I'm pretty sure, if you show up with your own box they'll allow you to use that instead of the Lush packaging. What does it do to my hair? It nourishes it as well as it can. Since I stopped with the balayage, my natural hair is getting its strength back, but my colored pieces are so dry! Adding this conditioner bar is - for me - an absolute must! However, I've heard stories from others - since it's so nice to share experiences about products - that they don't like conditioner bars of any brands. I heard they prefer using the Lush shampoo bar, but never the conditioner bar because it would make their hair greasy in no time.
To summarize: should we all use bars instead of bottles?
Well, I'm not the one who says what you have to use. I feel bars are really nice, because to me they really work, are cheap and their packaging has a lower impact on the planet. Still storing them when they're wet isn't as easy as the bottles, especially while traveling. There are special boxes and bags to store them, but I can't share my experience with them (cause I don't own any). On the other hand, they're lightweight and don't take a lot of space in the bathroom or while traveling. I'm a fan, and I don't think about using bottles again, just for the planet. It's a small act, since I own a lot of other products in plastic packaging, but at least it's something. Do you guys think there will be a time where all products are packed in reusable packaging and you can't find anything anymore in plastic, even your mascara can get a refill... Let me know in the comments!