March Sustainable Swap: Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
Hi There :)
Welcome back to my Sustainable Swap Series, which is a monthly series where I talk about one small change I’ve made in my daily routine to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Last month I switched out single-use plastic floss for refillable floss with cocofloss. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, check it out here!
When I first came up with this series I was really excited about focusing my efforts on reducing plastic in two main places in my kitchen and bathroom. I felt like over time I was creating the most waste in those two places, although I’m sure I’ve created more waste in others that I just hadn’t thought about yet haha. Anyways as I was doing some research on some swaps I could make in these two spaces, I found shampoo and conditioner bars. I was super curious about how well they worked. In the past, all the “natural” shampoo and conditioners I’ve tried never lathered correctly and a lot of them weren’t recommended for color-treated hair, which is a no-go since I recently started dyeing my hair. Here’s what I found out!
More than 552 million shampoo bottles end up in landfills every year
The number of shampoo bottles thrown out in the U.S. every year could fill 1,164 football fields
Only 1 in 5 people consistently recycle items from the bathroom (sorry to say I’m one of those people)
Many bottled shampoos are made with harmful chemicals such as SLS, phthalates, and formaldehyde releasers that can have lasting effects on your hair, health, and planet
Many liquid shampoos are made with 80 to 90 percent water
The average shampoo bottle weights over 5x more than shampoo bars therefore causing a large water and carbon footprint when packaging and transporting product
Once I knew I wanted to try and make the switch to shampoo and conditioner bars, I just did a simple google search and then looked through a couple of the sites that came up. Ultimately, I decided to go with The Earthling Co. becaue I really liked their mission and the simplicity of their bars. The scents seemed appealing, both the shampoo and conditioner bars got great reviews, and honestly I really loved the vibe I got from their website and instagram (guys, I’m a sucker for some good branding).
So let me explain a little about the company… The Earthling Co. is a positive lifestyle brand that focuses on offering affordable, plastic-free alternatives to everyday products. In addition, they give back to the planet by donating 1% of gross sales as a 1% for the planet member, as well as, making donations to various other organizations such as WIRES (Australian Wildlife Relief), Carbonfund.org (Tree Planting), Black Visions Collective, and more!
Now onto about the bars! The shampoo bars are sulfate-free and contain plant-based ingredients such as coconut oil, hemp seed oil, Vitamin B5, and Glycerin. On their website they explain how each of these ingredients help your hair stay healthy and beautiful. These bars are manufactured in the U.S. and they’re packaged without any plastic. They currently have six different scents and an unscented version. The bars are good for all hair types and they are supposed to last approximately 50-75+ washes, which they estimate lasts about 2-6+ months. The conditioner bars are pretty similar in terms of ingredients, scents, and facts.
How It’s Going
I decided to try both the shampoo and conditioner bars in the cool breeze scent. I really wanted to try the sweet sandalwood scent, but it was all sold out in the shampoo bar and I’m weird and need to have my shampoo and conditioner match. Anyone else like that or am I just odd? Haha I also read in the reviews that a common issue with shampoo and conditioner bars is that they tend to lose product quickly in the shower and many recommended getting a holder for them. Many recommended using the wooden soap dish or the sisal soap saver bag. I actually got both - the wooden dish to hold my shampoo and conditioner bars and I got the soap bag to use for when I eventually run out of my body wash and replace it with a bar. Although I heard you can just place the bars in the soap bag and that will also prolong their usage.
When I received the package, the first thing I noticed was how small the package was and that there was truly no plastic in the packaging. It was in a small 100% recycled cardboard box and the bars came in small compostable/biodegradable and recyclable boxes. They definitely smelled like more of a natural shampoo, but I really liked it. The wooden dish and the soap bag came just as they were in the pictures. The bars also looked super cute on the wooden dish. So much better than my old plastic bottles, which is an added bonus!
My first wash with the shampoo bar was amazing! I loved the way it lathered and just running it over the top of my head was the perfect way to the amount of product I needed. The conditioner bar was a little trickier to figure out. Everytime I ran it through my hair it felt like it was pulling strands of my hair out. So I looked up some reviews and on their instagram page. Apparently, the easiest way to use the conditioner bar is to use a “painting” motion on the ends of your hair, which ended up working like a charm!
My Final Thoughts
Overall, I love this switch and I love The Earthling Co. bars. They smell good, the shampoo bar lathers well, the conditioner makes my hair oh-so-soft and the price point is decent at $15 each. This might seem a little pricey considering other drugstore shampoo and conditioners can be under $10 each, but I think the quality of these bars speaks for itself and it is pretty inline with other big brands of shampoo/conditioner bars that I’ve seen.
I was curious to see that they label their bars “good for all hair types”, which I do believe from the reviews I’ve read. It seems like people with all types of hair (curly, oily, dry, etc.) like the bars. I would say I have pretty normal hair? I wash it once every other day and it isn’t too oily or too dry so I might not be the best test case. I did see that Ethique and HiBAR are pretty popular brands and offer specific types of formulas like moisturize, for dry or frizzy hair, and volumizing. I never really notice much a difference when I try out variations of formulas from the same brand, but I am interested to see how these other bars perform.
When I run out of The Earthling Co. bars I might try out a HiBAR set of shampoo and conditioner bars just to see how they compare, but I know one thing for sure. I will not be going back to bottled shampoo and conditioner. I would also 100 percent order from The Earthling Co. for shampoo and conditioner bars. I might even try out some of their other sustainable products!
Want to try out The Earthling Co. shampoo and conditioner bars for yourself? Check them out here for 20% of your order :)
Hope you enjoyed reading about my journey with switching from bottled shampoo and conditioner to bars. Let me know if you have tried or will be trying the bar form any time soon. Have you made any other sustainable swaps this year? I want to know in the comments!