I had heard of it; hair soap. I had also looked at it in the shops, but it didn't really appeal to me. Wash your hair with a bar of soap? How do you do that? That can't be nice, can it? Until, while cleaning our shower rack, I suddenly realized how many products are packed in plastic. I always have two kinds of shampoo and conditioner anyway, with an extra bottle of shampoo for my son. Then there's also shower foam, washing gel, shaving foam and a jar with scrub. Nine plastic items of which I knew would be empty and thrown away after two months.
My guilt began to gnaw. The first step to a more sustainable life starts with yourself, right? So slightly doubting I made the decision; I'm going to try hair soap. Coincidentally, a former colleague recently pointed out Shampoo Bars to me and I decided this had to be it. Curious about my experience? Then read on!
Why switch to plastic-free showering?
Actually, the question is more, why not? You are probably familiar with the term 'plastic soup' and have seen the horrible photos of a turtle suffocated in plastic. Plastic is everywhere! In 2019, 368 million tons of plastic were produced worldwide, about 40% of which is used for packaging. Think of plastic water bottles, shampoo bottles, but also the plastic that you find around the cucumbers in the supermarket.
An average person in Europe uses about 33 kilograms of plastic per year. And of all this plastic, we only use about 40% once before throwing it away. Plastic takes almost 400 years to break down and, despite our efforts to separate plastic waste, still ends up in our oceans. It not only causes a lot of damage to nature, the microplastics in the water also cause health problems for people.
Plastic is really just a Big No-No. That's why reducing your own plastic footprint is a great idea. How? Very simple, plastic-free showering! A small step with a big effect. And that's where Shampoo Bars' bars come into the picture.
A former colleague recently sent me an email: “I saw your post on LinkedIn and I hereby send you the details of a company with great sustainable gifts.” The link in the e-mail was to the Shampoo Bars website, where I quickly became excited about their concept.
The company, located in Deventer (NL), aims to reduce the use of plastic (shampoo) bottles. They do this by making sustainable alternatives possible for everyone, such as the production of the shampoo bars. The bars are handmade and contain only sustainably sourced and purchased ingredients.
In addition to propagating their vision, they also work with partners such as the World Wild Fund for Nature to draw more attention to the plastic problem. It sounds like a great company with a great product. Time to test those bars!
My first impression
For my test I bought the lavender bars; these consist of a shampoo, body and conditioner bar. They are beautiful, round and look very cute with their pastel colors. They are light in weight and small in appearance. Still, a bar should last 80 washes, that's about 3 shampoo bottles. I'm excited!
The packaging in which I receive the bars is made of recyclable cardboard and the color matches the bars completely. For my own convenience I have purchased a soap dish made of sustainable bamboo. This looks nice in the bathroom and it ensures that the bars dry faster after use, so that they last longer. I also bought a bag with it, so I can easily take them with me during a weekend trip. But the bag is also easy to hang on the shower head.
After I take a shower in the morning, I automatically want to reach for my bottle of shampoo. But hey, wait, today we're going to try something different. I take the Shampoo Bar lavender, wet it with water and rub it between my hands. It smells good and the bar starts foaming right away. I still have some doubts, am I really going to put soap in my hair? But I go for it and spread the foam in my hair. Where it first seemed uncomfortable, it soon feels like regular shampoo! The foam ensures that I don't notice a difference. Just to be sure, I also run the bar of soap over my hair and rinse it out. My hair feels clean and fresh.
Then it's the time for the conditioner. This foams less, so it seems better to rub the bar over my hair. I still think it's a bit crazy to do but I'm quickly getting the hang of it. I leave the conditioner in for a while and when I rinse it out, my hair feels soft. Actually, I don't notice any difference with the normal conditioner I use, and that's a positive!
Finally, I use the body bar. This one also smells wonderfully of lavender, it's like I'm in France for a moment. I haven't used 'regular' soap for a while, just shower gel or shower foam, and it reminds me of the old days. The soap is nice and soft and I notice that it takes care of my skin.
Not much later I step out of the shower. My hair is clean, soft and I feel fresh. I think for a moment about the doubt I had about hair soap and smile inside; those Shampoo Bars are not that crazy after all.
Towards a plastic-free life
Where I first doubted whether hair soap was for me, I am now a big fan. Besides the fact that the reasons for showering plastic-free are countless, the bars also work very well. What an great invention, those bars! An easy step to a plastic-free life.
Do you want to inspire your friends to shower plastic-free? I have put together some nice gift boxes with Shampoo Bars, you will find them here. Especially Happy Start is a great way to get to know the bars and how they work. Have fun in the shower!