Ditch the Shower Bottles

Every now and then, while taking a shower, I have found myself standing face to face with my shampoo and conditioner bottles, thinking how wasteful those plastic containers are, and wondering what I can use instead. I’d heard of people doing the “no-poo diet”, where they simply stop washing their hair. As in the article I just linked to, friends who have tried it also report mixed results. Others use baking soda or vinegar to clean their hair, but honestly that just doesn’t appeal to me. I use vinegar and baking soda to clean my bathroom and psychologically I just can’t see myself feeling good about using it in my hair.

I’ve also heard some people say that adding water can prolong the amount of use one gets from of a bottle of shampoo or conditioner. I think it’s an excellent exercise in frugality, but I’ve tried that route myself when I’ve simply run out of the stuff and am standing in the shower with wet hair…I didn’t find it very effective, at least not for the conditioner.

And then one day while blog surfing I came across the term “shampoo bar”. It was one of those moments where I was actively searching for something else so I sort of filed the term away in the back of my mind, determined to give it some more thought later. And then of course I forgot about it!

But this morning as I was washing my hair I found myself staring at those darned shampoo bottles again, having just forked out $6 apiece for two large Store Brand pump-jugs. I was thinking that they were probably full of the cheapest, nastiest chemicals (because being frugal I’m just not into spending $$ on shampoo) and that the plastic they’re made of is probably a 3 or a 6, the kind our municipality doesn’t accept for recycling. And then I remembered that term: Shampoo Bar! And it hit me, wouldn’t it be great if you could get shampoo in a bar, like soap? I would not be tossing out plastic bottles every month or so, and I wouldn’t be contributing to the demand for manufacturing said bottles either (after seeing the Story of Stuff I’m really starting to get that what goes into making the stuff I buy is just as important as what happens to them when they’re used up).

And so I found myself on Google today, drooling over sites such as this one. Then I did a search for Canadian suppliers and discovered that LUSH cosmetics makes shampoo bars. They cost about $10 per bar but apparently last a long time (I confess I’m skeptical; I’m guessing they’ll last about as long as a bar of body soap). I have since found a few other local soapmakers like Rainforest Organics and Rawganique. Prices are more reasonable, about $6 Cdn per bar. Only problem is these guys have a limited variety of shampoo bars. When I look at all the amazing body soaps out there, with all their yummy flavours and colours, I’m wondering why there isn’t more selection for the shampoo bars (I found many in the US, like this gorgeous selection from Oregon’s Soap Lady, but cross-border shipping is such a pain). I’m thinking maybe people just haven’t caught on to the whole solid shampooing thing, yet.

Well, all I can say is thank-you (or curse you, I can’t decide) Crunchy Chicken because if it weren’t for me taking the Buy Nothing Challenge I would probably have placed my orders by now. Instead I’m going to be frugal and use up the stuff I just got. It should last us well over a month, by which time perhaps I can feel a tad less guilty about buying the bars (although I’m guessing that a few bars of body soap will also find their way into my shopping cart because the stuff just looks so beautiful).

Never fear, though, because I am planning on venturing into Soapmaking myself (thank you, Rhonda Jean, for your inspiration!). In fact, there is a soapmaking book sitting in my Amazon cart right now but I just haven’t gotten around to checking out yet (I need to spend a few more dollars to qualify for free shipping and I’ve been agonizing over what to get, since I’ve promised myself to only buy reference books that I know I will use). Maybe one day in the near future I’ll be making my own shampoo bars! In the meantime, I’m looking forward to trying some. The condition of my hair is not good and hasn’t been for years now; perhaps as an added bonus I’ll get nice hair again.

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10 responses to this post.

  1. Thank you for this blog entry! I had never considered the possibility of shampoo bars. I recently started using Burt’s Bees’ hair care products on the advice of a friend, and I have been pretty pleased. But without a coupon, BB gets pretty pricey ($8 per bottle – and it’s NOT a big bottle). I am now looking at the links in your blog to decide which company to try for these shampoo bars. They sound absolutely yummy, do they not? I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog over the past few weeks (since I discovered it), as we are on similar journeys right now. Thank you for the great insights, ideas and honesty!

    Reply

  2. Posted by ruralaspirations on April 6, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks for the kind words, Kristi! I discovered that Burt’s Bees has a shampoo bar, but I love the idea of handmade soaps too.

    Reply

  3. Burt’s Bees has been bought out by Clorox 😦

    I’ve been using Nature Clean shampoo and conditioner. My local Sobey’s/IGA carries it now, along with a bunch of their other products like laundry soap and fabric softener. They do come in plastic bottles, but they are made from recycled plastic and are also recyclable themselves. Cruelty free too! And Canadian!

    Reply

  4. Posted by ruralaspirations on April 7, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    No way, Theresa! I had no idea! Sigh. I just love their lip balm…

    Reply

  5. […] had a nice chat with Wade, the soap guy. I’d promised myself not to buy any solid shampoo until I use up the crappy stuff I have right now, but I did buy a little soap sampler for $4. […]

    Reply

  6. […] the meantime, I’m going to do my bit by trying to cut all unnecessary plastic out of my life (starting with my shampoo). I have written in the past about being plastic bag free; Google around and you’ll come up […]

    Reply

  7. […] I’d used up the last of my mega-bottles of cheap, commercial shampoo and conditioner I would switch to natural shampoo bars. I wanted less plastic, and soap made from natural (i.e. non-petroleum based) products that would […]

    Reply

  8. […] to section 2 of this report, an update on using natural shampoo bars instead of bottled, commercial liquid shampoo. Can I just tell you that I am LOVING my hair! Here’s what I’ve learned since we […]

    Reply

  9. […] I have been using natural soaps and shampoo bars for about 7 months now and will just never go back to the commercial stuff. Recently, due to […]

    Reply

  10. Posted by LaLa on July 12, 2009 at 10:51 am

    What are some good options for shampoo bars? Where can i get them, my hair is very curly, frizzy and breaking. I keep trying whatever shampoo or remedy… and even Lush. Nothing seems to make it better or healthier. Even my diet!
    Please reply to laura@alphabodyspa.com
    Please, i need some help before my hair falls out!

    Reply

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