The Rise of Solid Shampoos: Eco-Friendly Beauty

Solid shampoos are revolutionising the beauty industry. Learn how they reduce plastic waste and the best options for your hair type.

Solid shampoos: Plastic-free, zero-waste shampoo bars


Why is there a need for more sustainable hair care?

You’ve probably used traditional shampoos for most of your life. They’re widely available, smell fantastic and leave your hair feeling fresh and clean. But what exactly goes into those plastic bottles, and why should you look to change?

Many conventional shampoos contain harsh chemicals like sulphates, parabens and synthetic fragrances that can strip your hair of its natural oils and leave you with a dry scalp and lacklustre locks. These ingredients also pose a significant threat to aquatic life when they wash down your drain.

However, it’s not all about what’s inside the bottle. The bottle itself has huge environmental repercussions too. Every year, over 520 million shampoo bottles end up in landfills in the UK alone. As plastic bottles slowly degrade, they can leach harmful chemicals into the soil and groundwater, causing further damage.

The carbon footprint of producing and shipping these bottles around the globe is alarmingly high too. The energy required for production, the fossil fuels burned during transportation, and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions all contribute to climate change.

What can you do to make a difference?

That’s where sustainable hair care options, like solid shampoos come in, allowing you to take care of your hair and the planet.

Transitioning to sustainable hair care products not only helps reduce your environmental impact but can also improve the health and vitality of your hair.

What are solid shampoos?

Solid shampoos are essentially shampoos that come in a solid state, similar to your regular soap bar. These compact bars pack all the hair-cleansing properties of your liquid shampoo but with zero plastic waste.

Brands like Friendly Soap, Ethique and Faith in Nature are renowned for their wide range of solid shampoos, each with different natural ingredients designed to cater to various hair types and needs.

How are solid shampoos different from traditional liquid shampoos?

There are a few key differences between solid shampoos and traditional liquid ones that make them the more eco-friendly option:

  • Packaging: While traditional shampoos come in plastic bottles, solid shampoos significantly reduce plastic waste. Brands like Ben & Anna and Green People use recyclable or compostable packaging, promoting a zero-waste philosophy.
  • Ingredients: Many solid shampoos from brands like Ethique and Lamazuna use all-natural and organic ingredients. Avoiding the harsh chemicals often found in liquid shampoos makes them better for the environment and kinder to your hair and scalp.
  • Travel-Friendly: Because they’re solid, shampoo bars are easy to carry around, making them a traveller’s best friend. You won’t have to worry about liquid restrictions at the airport or accidental spills in your luggage.

What are the main ingredients used in solid shampoos, and are they safe?

Solid shampoos are typically formulated with natural ingredients that cleanse and nourish your hair. These common ingredients are all safe for your hair and scalp:

  • Saponified oils like coconut, olive or castor oil are the base of any solid shampoo. As these oils undergo saponification, they become soap and provide the shampoo bars with their cleansing action.
  • Essential oils give the shampoo bars their pleasant scents and provide various benefits depending on the oil. For example, tea tree oil is known for its anti-dandruff properties, while lavender is calming and soothing.
  • Herbs and botanicals in shampoo bars from brands like Faith in Nature and Green People promote healthy hair growth, add shine, or help with specific hair concerns.
  • Natural additives like honey, oatmeal or clay provide extra moisturising, soothing or deep-cleansing properties.
Faith in Nature's Lavendar & Geranium Solid Shampoo
Lavender is calming and soothing

How do solid shampoos benefit the health of your hair and scalp?

The eco-friendly benefits of solid shampoos are clear, but what benefits do they offer your hair and scalp?

Most solid shampoos, including those from brands like Lamazuna, Ben & Anna and Green People, are free from harsh chemicals commonly found in liquid shampoos. Ingredients such as parabens, silicones and sulphates can strip natural oils from your hair and irritate your scalp. Solid shampoos use natural, often organic and vegan-friendly ingredients that clean your hair without stripping its natural balance.

Solid shampoos also offer high concentrations of nutrients for hair health. They contain less water than liquid shampoos allowing more room for beneficial ingredients like essential oils, plant extracts and butters.

Friendly Soap’s Lavender & Tea Tree Shampoo Bar is rich in castor oil, which promotes hair growth and controls hair loss.

How can you transition from liquid to solid shampoo?

It might seem daunting at first, but it’s actually pretty simple. Here’s how you can make the switch to solid shampoo with minimal fuss:

  1. Choose the right solid shampoo. Solid shampoos come in various formulations to suit different hair types, from oily to dry or colour-treated.
  2. Use it correctly. Solid shampoos might be new to your bathroom, but they’re a breeze to get used to. Wet your hair thoroughly, then gently rub the shampoo bar directly onto your scalp in a circular motion. As you work up a lather, spread it down the length of your hair.
  3. Rinse your hair thoroughly to avoid any residue build-up that might leave it feeling sticky.
  4. Store it correctly in a dry, cool place to prolong its life. Use a soap rack or dish with holes to allow it to air dry.
How to use solid shampoos
Wet hair thoroughly, then gently rub the shampoo bar onto your scalp in a circular motion

What should you expect during the transition period?

The transition from liquid to solid shampoo can be a unique experience as your hair adapts to the new product. Here’s what you can expect during this phase:

  • An adjustment period is natural when switching to a solid shampoo, especially if you’ve been using shampoos that contain silicone and sulphates. It might take a few washes or even a couple of weeks for your hair to adapt.
  • Your hair may feel different for a while. As solid shampoos don’t strip your hair of its natural oils, it might feel slightly oilier than usual while your hair regains its natural balance.
  • Hard water might leave you with a ‘waxy’ feeling after washing with a solid shampoo. An apple cider vinegar rinse can help to eliminate the build-up.

It might take time to adapt to solid shampoo, but once you do, you’ll notice healthier, more vibrant hair. Plus, you’re reducing your plastic waste and contributing to a more sustainable future.

Several trusted brands have dedicated themselves to creating excellent solid shampoos that are kind to your hair and the planet. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Friendly Soap use plant-based ingredients, with fragrant essential oils to give each shampoo bar a unique scent. They’re cruelty-free and plastic-free and have achieved the coveted Best Buy Label for supplying genuinely ethical products.
  • Beauty Kitchen are B Corp certified, cradle-to-cradle certified, vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and microplastic-free. They are committed to effective, natural and sustainable products.
  • Ethique shampoo bars are soap-free, pH-balanced and safe for colour-treated hair. They are a zero-waste pioneer with a range of solid shampoos suitable for different hair types.
  • Faith in Nature are known for their commitment to natural ingredients, with shampoo bars that are vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and free from SLS and parabens.
  • Ben & Anna shampoo bars and tablets offer a novel way to nourish your hair sustainably. Made with natural and vegan ingredients, they’re easy to use and transport.
  • Green People are known for their more traditional products, but they’ve stepped into the solid shampoo space with bars enriched with organic ingredients.
  • Lamazuna are a French brand with a range of handmade, natural shampoo bars. They’ve even innovated a zero-waste approach to packaging, using cork pots to store your bar.
Beauty Kitchen Solid Shampoos
Beauty Kitchen are B Corp certified, cradle-to-cradle certified, vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and microplastic-free.

Do solid shampoos cater for different hair types and concerns?

Solid shampoos are as diverse as they are eco-friendly. Like traditional liquid shampoos, there are options for all hair types and concerns.

How do solid shampoos help the environment?

When you choose a solid shampoo, you’re helping the health of your hair and the health of our planet too.

The main environmental benefit of solid shampoos is the elimination of plastic packaging. Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issues we face today. Approximately eight million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans each year.

Solid shampoos typically come in minimal, biodegradable or recyclable packaging. By choosing solid shampoos, you’re actively reducing the amount of plastic waste you generate.

Each solid shampoo bar from Faith in Nature, Ben & Anna or Lamazuna is a plastic bottle that won’t end up in a landfill or ocean. It’s a simple swap that can make a huge difference. Brands such as Ethique and Friendly Soap are plastic-free, contributing to a cleaner and healthier planet.

Solid shampoos are generally more concentrated than their liquid alternatives, meaning they last longer and don’t need replacing as often, ultimately reducing your overall consumption. For instance, Faith in Nature boasts that their solid bars can last as long as a one-litre bottle of liquid shampoo.

Solid shampoos are lightweight and compact, needing less space and fuel to transport than their liquid alternatives. Fewer carbon emissions contribute to cleaner air and a healthier planet.

Liquid shampoos are mainly water. By choosing a solid shampoo, you’re helping conserve precious water resources.

Ultimately, your decision matters and every plastic-free choice you make can help drive the beauty industry towards more sustainable practices. Switching to solid shampoo is a small change in your beauty routine, but as you shower each morning, you’ll know you’re doing your part to create a more sustainable future.

So, what are you waiting for?

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