Sales of soap bars went up three per cent last year as more people opted for alternatives to plastic cosmetics bottles.
While there are plenty of soap bars available to try out, from budget options to more luxurious items, anti-plastic warriors still face a dilemma when it comes to washing their hair.
We have dozens of different types of shampoo to choose from in the UK, but most of these options are packaged up in single-use plastic bottles.
But some companies are working to give us more eco-friendly choices, as shampoo bars begin to spill into the market.
But are any of them actually any good? I took it upon myself to try out four different types of shampoo bar available to buy now and put these eco-friendly products to the test.
It’s perhaps important to note that I have thick but fine hair, dyed blonde, quite long and wavy – or frizzy, as the case often (sadly) seems to be. What works for my hair may not work for someone else’s, as is the case with bottled shampoo.
We are off to a good start with packaging, which is non-plastic and minimal. This neat, perfectly rectangular bar is a no-frills option that sits nicely in your shower caddy.
When opening the box, you are hit with a delightful aloe vera scent, so I am more than happy to cover my hair with this product.
It sounds silly, but there is a bit of a learning curve to shampoo bars. You need to lather the bar with your hands before rubbing the lather into your hair.
Initially, I tried scrubbing the bar straight onto my scalp, which I would not recommend. Unless you want to spend the next 20 minutes meticulously untangling knots right at the root on your head.
Despite improving my technique while using this product, it wasn’t really for me and left my hair feeling a bit too dry.
It smelt lovely, though.
Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar, £20.45 on Amazon
I think it is fair to say Lush is one of the market leaders in fighting against plastic, having ditched the material in their stores. So it makes sense that they have a varied range of shampoo bars to try out.
I opted for the Jason and The Argan Oil bar, because I often use argan oil on my mane-like hair to tackle the frizz.
It’s a beautiful pink blob which, handily, comes in a metal tin so it doesn’t slip and slide around the sides of the shower.
By now, I’ve also learnt that less is more when it comes to shampoo bars (for my hair, anyway). So I’m lathering up the bar with my hands as before, but I’m not going overboard.
My hair definitely feels different after using this bar – unlike the first product I tried, this has instantly left my hair feeling soft and light. A quick blow-dry reveals the full results, which I’m really pleased with.
My hair looks hydrated and healthy, and the waves are still very much intact. I really do swear by argan oil.
Lush Jason and The Argan Oil bar, £7.50
PureChimp’s Natural Shampoo Bar is made out of coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil and, surprisingly, beer.
It is a completely natural, vegan product and comes wrapped in tissue paper, so you really can pat yourself on the back for using this product.
Sadly, it just wasn’t for my hair, which did not respond well to this particular product. Despite fully rinsing the product out of my locks and scalp, it felt heavy and sticky when it was blow-dried.
I must admit, my hair did resemble how it has previously felt after I have had beer thrown in it. And I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing.
The kind people over at Primal Suds sent me their entire product catalogue, with about eight different products to try. And I was pleased to see every single product was packaged up neatly in a cardboard box.
But luckily, I felt no need to try more than one of their soap bars, as it appears I chose correctly on my first try.
Knowing that my hair needs a bit more hydration, I opted for the Bare Coconuts bar (which I assume contains coconut oil).
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure this particular bar is even meant for your hair, but it seemed to do the trick for me.
This smooth but jagged little bar is imprinted with the words ‘zero filth’ in capital letters, alluding to the company’s philosophy to use all natural, recyclable materials in its products and packaging.
Having mastered my shampoo bar technique by now, I lathered up the little bar and ran it through my hair. It was an instant match for me, leaving my hair soft and nurtured.
Primal Suds Shampoo bars, £5.00
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