How often do you buy shampoo and conditioner? If you wash your hair three or four times a week, we’re guessing that’s around once a month. Over a year, that adds up to 24 bottles, and over 10 years it’s a staggering 240 – which is a lot of plastic waste.

A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and this number is projected to jump another 20% by 2021. With these alarming figures currently in the media spotlight, many brands and consumers are making changes to their packaging and purchasing.

The beauty industry is already ahead of the game, and you may have already noticed that traditional bars of soap are on the comeback trail; replacing bottled shower gels and body wash.

With that in mind, the latest trend to hit the stores moves north of the body, focusing on sustainable haircare. Replacing your bottled shampoo with a solid solution in the form of a soap bar could break new ground when it comes to environmental impact.

Compact and convenient, this niche beauty category is certainly one to consider if environmental concerns are increasingly playing on your mind.

Adapting a zero-waste hair care routine is one of the easiest changes you can make. However, if you’re worried about switching their shampoo, fear not, as we’re about to assure you that your locks will be just as luscious, and your purse will even be a little lighter.

What is zero-waste haircare?

If you’re a little intrigued but aren’t entirely sure what zero-waste hair care actually means, we’re about to reveal all. Zero-waste products are developed and packaged using only materials that can be reused or composted, rather than sent to landfills or being incinerated.

When it comes to haircare products, we automatically visualise a plastic tube or bottle, because that’s all we know, right? Well, not anymore. Now, thanks to the growth in sustainable living, an increasing number of haircare brands are redefining how we use shampoo and conditioner – and it no longer comes in liquid form.

Say hello to the shampoo bar, a zero-waste, eco-friendly alternative to the endless bottles you’ve been throwing in the bin throughout your life.

Tell me more about shampoo bars...

Although they seem a little strange, solid soap shampoos were commonly used before liquid detergent shampoos became popular in the 1940’s.

Turns out, they even date way back to the 1800’s. In the book Hints on Health, published in 1852, William Edward Coale wrote, "To cleanse the hair, there is nothing better than soap and water . . . the soap, of course, should be mild, and well and plentifully rubbed in, and afterward thoroughly removed with an abundance of water.”

While the process for making a shampoo bar is the same as making soap, a well-formulated shampoo bar is drastically different.

Today’s product has been developed specifically for your hair and is packed with an abundance of rich vitamins and minerals, designed to keep your hair and scalp soft, shiny and full of volume.

Shampoo bars use different proportions of natural oils, butters, and botanicals, that are known to help nourish the hair and scalp.

What are the benefits to the environment?

As mentioned, shampoo bars are plastic free – so you’ll no longer have to squeeze the last drops from the bottle. This also means they have a huge impact on the environment, and as it’s recently been calculated that the number of shampoo bottles condemned to landfills in a year could fill 1,164 football fields, it’s an issue we need to tackle.

Furthermore, because of their smaller size, more can fit into the lorries that transport them to reduce your carbon footprint even further.

What about the benefits to my hair?

Most people find benefits in switching to a shampoo bar such as increased volume, faster-growing hair, reduced dandruff, shinier hair and less frizz. If you have curly hair, you’re likely to have more defined curls with better control.

Shampoo bars don’t contain any harmful chemicals found in liquid shampoo, as they are made from totally natural oils. If you read the ingredients list on the back of the bottle, you’ll most likely see sodium laurel sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, which are the chemicals responsible for the foamy lather when you wash your hair.

However, these ingredients can cause a dry, itchy and irritated scalp, they can dry out your hair, and contribute to hair loss, especially if you shampoo every day.

Once they wash down the drain, it’s worth knowing that these chemicals don’t break down. Instead, they build up in our ecosystem, polluting our rivers, lakes and public water systems.

Whilst shampoo bars do not lather as well, you can be assured they also won’t strip your hair of your natural oils, and they certainly won’t be polluting the environment.

How do you use one?

Because there are no chemicals in a traditional shampoo bar, you’ll miss a little lather, and the change in application needs to be greeted with an open mind.

Some brands recommend rubbing the bar between your hands first while others advise applying it directly to the scalp instead, so it’s best to give both a go and see what you prefer.

You may notice a few changes in the first week, but this is just your hair getting used to the switch. Experts say it takes around a week of washing to see the benefits – so stick with it.

Can I take them on holiday?

Did we mention these are perfect for travel? If you’ve ever been victim to a leaking shampoo bottle in your suitcase, you’ll know how devastating that can be. However, as you don't have to worry about any spillage with a shampoo bar, you can pop them in your case with ease, knowing they’ve not ruined your new kimono or your gorgeous selection of holiday dresses.

So, not only are they small and lightweight, taking up way less room in your suitcase, they are also TSA approved, which means you don’t have to worry about your liquid allowance at the airport. By popping one of these in your bag, they’ll help prevent using the mini shampoos and conditioners at your hotel, reducing packaging waste.

How long do they last?

They look small, but you only need to use a small amount of a shampoo bar to wash your hair thoroughly. With the water removed, one bar can do the job of 4 to 5 bottles of commercial liquid shampoo, meaning it can last for a few months. However, it all depends on how many people are using it and how often you wash your hair.

To make your shampoo bar last, store it on a well-drained soap dish and don’t let it sit in a puddle of water.

Let the bar breathe and allow it plenty of fresh air to dry between uses. If your bar ever gets waterlogged and becomes gooey, the key is to let it rest on a draining soap dish for a few days and let it dry out before using again.

The verdict?

Making the decision to switch is easy but sticking to it is a challenge for many. If reducing your plastic waste and carbon footprint is important, switch your bottle for a bar and get set to give your hair the natural nourishment it deserves.

On Veo we offer a wide range of shampoo bars and refillable earth-friendly hair care options. Check them out here!

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