I used to go through shampoo and conditioner like no one’s business. But recently I found a zero waste solution with absolutely no plastic involved.

I used to use the biggest, most plastic-y bottles out there, and I used to go through them fast. Pre zero waste days, I literally couldn’t have chosen a bigger, clunkier, less convenient shampoo and conditioner set. That’s right, I used TRESemmé (name and shame time sorry). An obvious first is that these bottles are HUGE and totally non-recyclable. Each time I would put one in the bin its huge body would let out a resounding clang as it landed, really hammering home the fact that it was going to sit in landfill somewhere. The second is that these are a NIGHTMARE to travel with. When touring in the past I just couldn’t lug these things across long distances alongside everything else I needed with me. The third is that their cruelty free status is somewhat murky since their acquisition by Unilever, who are big in the animal testing game. Also, what even is *in* TRESemmé?! I read the back of shampoo bottles all the time, the answer is about 7 million ingredients, and I don’t know a single thing in there. Of course not all of these are necessarily bad, but what I had actually been putting on my head is anyone’s guess, and I would just prefer something a bit more in the natural beauty direction.

And then once again, like a knight in very strong smelling armour, Lush have come to the rescue with their solid shampoo bars, and I’m going to tell you why their naked shampoo solution is the absolute bomb diggity when it comes to leaving plastic behind.

So, like their zero waste toothpaste, Lush have invented a shampoo that comes in solid form. They do also have liquid shampoos available that come in recyclable packaging (which I am yet to try), but these bars have no packaging at all. None! Every waste free warrior’s dream. Each bar is the same shape and size; all that you need to do is buy one tin for £2.50, and every time you need shampoo just bring the same tin back in and happily pop your new shampoo inside. You don’t even need to buy their tin, if you have a container at home that their shampoo fits into you can reuse your own items to store them, NEVER will you need shampoo packaging again! Whilst the bars are on the shelves they sit happily ‘naked’ with no packaging on them at all. You can read more on those policies here.
Zero waste points? 100.

This lack of packaging leads to my next point. This product is just SO easy in all ways. That tin I mentioned? It’s small, and fits easily in the palm of my hand. There is no way to fully convey how stress free this made my life the last time I travelled. No more trying to squeeze that shampoo and conditioner into my case, this one slips into hand luggage with no problem. Also, because it’s solid it’s a stress free situation at airport security. No need to worry about losing your luggage and buying something in the meantime. Heck, even wash your hair in the airport if you want to (but remember to have a towel in your hand luggage too!) Basically, it’s a dream for zero waste travel.

As well as being easy to transport, they’re also easy to use. The bars do contain SLS, which is worth nothing if you’re trying to avoid this, but Lush gives a whole load of information on their SLS use here. Hint: it’s actually not so bad. SLS is what helps these bars ‘become’ shampoo when you use them; you can watch Lush’s own little demo video, but a quick breakdown is that you get your hair wet, rub the bar on your head a little and it starts to foam up into shampoo. From there just massage it in and rinse out. SO easy! Extra bonus, one solid shampoo bar sits at around the £6 mark and on average lasts 60-90 washes, that’s a lot for one little bar. I’ve been using mine for nearly two months now and there’s no sign of it running out any time soon. I’ve also found that since changing over I need to wash my hair less often, making it last even longer, so I’ve also saved significant amounts of money.

In terms of cruelty free, Lush stands head and shoulders (pardon the pun) above the crowd in this area, which you can read more about here. Of course their shampoos are no different, and within the shampoo bar range there is a large variety of ingredients, scents and styles to suit every preference and need out there. Every ingredient of every bar can again be found in the breakdowns on their website or app, and it’s a lot easier to wrap your head around than whatever was going in my TRESemmé bottle.

‘But Ethical Unicorn!’ I hear you cry ‘I have really specific needs/sensitive scalps/I need conditioner too/insert other specific need here’. The answer is simple. Go into your local Lush store, because these guys really know what they are talking about. I’m a classic greasy roots dry ends gal, the Lush employee talked me through every nourishing yet balanced shampoo and how best to use them. I took a male friend in store who has dandruff concerns, again the employee took the time to find the right fit for him. These people are equipped to help, and I guarantee there’ll be a product out there for you, just don’t be afraid to ask! If you struggle with really dry hair Lush do also have a range of conditioners, both solid and liquid. I started out with an avocado conditioner bar alongside my shampoo but soon realised I didn’t really need it. The night before I’m going to wash my hair I just put coconut oil on the ends and sleep with it in overnight, and then wash it out as I wash my hair with the ‘Honey I Washed My Hair’ shampoo bar. Does the trick nicely. I feel clean and my hair smells great, whilst also being as soft and shiny as the stuff of unicorn dreams.

I only have one piece of advice when it comes to the shampoo bars: brush your hair beforehand. If I so much as sneeze my hair becomes a tangled mess, and it’s handy to not get tangled up as you’re trying to rub a solid bar on your own head. But even that is a small qualm. This is one of the simplest changes you can make in going waste and cruelty free, so please give it a try next time you run out of shampoo. It won’t only change your life, it can change the future of this lovely wee planet we call home.

Until next time, stay magic y’all.