Solid shampoo could be a game changer for reducing plastic waste if you find one that works well for you. In my search for an alternative of a plastic bottle shampoo, I have tried many options that nearly made me quit my search!
It was in the early days of zero waste movement and the options available were much fewer than nowadays. There were only a few brands that produced them and most of them did not optimize their formula making shampoos that felt more like soaps... and the reason why they couldn't work is simply because the ph of a soap is very much different from ph on our scalp.
Another issue that I struggled with was using the shampoo bar properly. I did not know what to expect, I did not know if there should be any foam, or how much of it, or even how to move it around my hair!
What to look out for
Months, or nearly a year, of experimenting, have taught me a few things that really make a difference in user experience.
- look at the ingredients. A traditional soap will have fewer ingredients and amongst them saponified oils, that in a shampoo would result in PH that is way too hight for our scalp and hair. Those saponified oils are usually: sodium olivate, sodium cocoate and sodium palmate. Stay clear of those in shampoos!
- just as with a liquid shampoo, you need to choose an appropriate shampoo for your hair type.
- washing routine does matter, please see the instructions below
- you need to store your shampoo properly. If a solid shampoo is stored on a recipient that does not allow water to drain, it will melt away. You can use one like this one
- Wet your hair thoroughly 🤪
- Rub the shampoo bar into your scalp with small circular movements until it creates a nice foam.
- Gently massage your scalp using your fingers. Avoid piling your hair on top of your head as this might cause tangling. No need to rub the hair shafts, it will only dry them out, you need to focus on the roots (with all shampoos actually!)
- Rinse well and repeat if needed.
- Store your soap in a soap holder with holes to drain away the water and help it dry faster
Additional zero waste tip
After your shampoo is too small to rub comfortably or breaks into pieces, store it in a cotton bag to keep using. What I do, is wet the bag and create foam in my hand that I would later move onto my head.
I would love to hear your thought on using a solid shampoo, let me know if you tried them and if they worked for you.
If you are looking to try one, check out our selection of solid shampoo bars over here.