We all use shampoo, apart from a few extremists who follow the ‘no-poo’ method (not recommended by trichologists as hair does not clean itself, and you’ll end up with an itchy scalp). But most conventional brands of shampoo are not just packed in plastic bottles, but usually a cocktail of chemicals, from sodium lauryl sulphate (an engine degreaser that is far too harsh for your scalp and linked to hair loss and dermatitis) and artificial fragrances (again is irritating and does not biodegrade when it washes down the drain, so can cause algae bloom which chokes oxygen out of water, harming marine life).
Avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing and medical conditions affected by them (epilepsy, asthma, heart – avoid rosemary, citrus and sage oils for high blood pressure). Avoid shea butter for latex allergies. If you live with pets, keep essential oils and cocoa butter (same ingredient as chocolate) away from them. Never use human shampoo bars on pets, the PH is different (read how to give your dog a bath).
It’s a myth that any shampoo can do much other than wash your hair. So don’t pay a fortune for ones that claim to make your hair grow (though not using sodium lauryl sulphate shampoos should help). If your hair is not growing, then fix it through good nutrition and healthy lifestyle, and simply use a natural shampoo (give it a few weeks, as your hair likely will look worse as the silicones and other yuckies wash out of your hair, which can take awhile). You can make your own clarifying shampoo by mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of warm water, and applying as a hair rinse before using the bar, for the first few times. This will help to remove residue faster.
Store shampoo bars on a slatted soap dish, to avoid them going squidgy. Or alternatively use a natural shampoo in metal packaging (avoid glass, as it’s dangerous handled with wet hands). Or a dry shampoo (good for travel and people with disabilities, who find it hard to take a shower etc). Let’s have a look at all three:
Zero Waste Shampoo Bars
These look like bars of soap, and basically are made from oils like coconut and olive, then blended with essential oils and left to ‘cure’ for several weeks, before being wrapped in paper. They do go soft in water, so keep them in a dish or on a slatted soap bar. You simply wet and rub over your hair to shampoo, then rinse as normal. Look for bars free from beef fat (sodium tallowate) and palm oil (sodium palmate).
Alter/Native Shampoo Bar is handmade in Yorkshire, from a blend of coconut, castor and essential oils. Sold in a cardboard box that you can compost after use. Choose from Lavender Geranium, Rose Geranium or Coconut Argan Oil.
Zero Waste Natural Shampoos
These are made from natural biodegradable ingredients, and packed in aluminium bottles, rather than plastic. Although both are easy to recycle, aluminium is usually made from recycled materials anyway, so helps to reduce the plastic mountain.
Awake Organics Shampoo is a water-activated powder shampoo that is ideal for dry, thinning or colour-treated hair. Sold in plastic-free bottles, it’s organic and free from nasties, with no water or fillers.
This lavender & tea tree shampoo bar (also sold in mini-tins with citrus and mint) is a nice alternative to plastic bottles of shampoo, just store on a slatted soap dish or in a soap tin, to help it last longer. Sold in compostable wrap, the bar contains olive oil to strengthen hair and grapeseed/coconut oils to lock in moisture, and real aromatherapy oils. To use, rub the bar in wet hands then through your hair. Rinse with warm water. Avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing and babies.
A few people find that their hair takes a few weeks to adjust to shampoo bars. You can add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a pint of warm water to make a ‘hair rinse’ while your hair gets used to it, but some don’t worry. It’s worth a shot though if you live in a hard water area, as it means the old shampoo residue will rinse out quicker.
Most hair shampoos are not just sold in plastic bottles, but often contain fragrance oils that don’t biodegrade. This means that when the conditioner washes down the drain and goes into the water supply, it causes algae bloom that chokes oxygen out of the water, and harms marine creatures. The best way to keep hair in good condition is to chop off damaged locks (you can’t really repair them) and eat well and look after your hair, from now on!
This lavender hair conditioner bar is a nice alternative to plastic bottles of conditioner, just store on a slatted soap dish or in a soap tin, to help it last longer. Sold in compostable wrap, the bar contains rhassoul clay to reduce frizzy tangles, and plant oils with organic cocoa butter, along with real oils of lavender and tea tree. To use, rub the bar in wet hands then through your hair. Leave on for 2 minutes, then rinse well with warm water. Also in chamomile. Avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing and babies.
Most hair conditioners are not just sold in plastic bottles, but often contain fragrance oils that don’t biodegrade. This means that when the conditioner washes down the drain and goes into the water supply, it causes algae bloom that chokes oxygen out of the water, and harms marine creatures. The best way to keep hair in good condition is to chop off damaged locks (you can’t really repair them) and eat well and look after your hair, from now on!