Every day, I have a bad hair day. My hair is typical Finnish – one strand of hair is fine, and the natural color is somewhere between ash, gold, and dirty road. (Swedes are the blond and tanned ones). Additionally, I don’t have a lot of it, and it does not grow. Even the color has turned darker since my pregnancy. Anything about the hair gets me irritated – almost anxious sometimes – so any additional negativity such as low-quality products, piles of waste, and the feeling of guilt do not help. There was my rant.
Buying a bottle of the “same as usual” shampoo can be just a habit for so many. There are people with such hair that it does not matter – to them (and this has to be their judgment obviously) – what kind of shampoo they use. But this post is not only for the “Nah, it’s just hair” people. There are plastic-free quality products available more and more. We only need to explore and give new things a try for the sake of our planet.
So how to avoid those piles of plastic generated from the shampoos and conditioners? You might be familiar with the annoyance of shampoo bottles lying around on the bathroom shelves. Conditioners, rinse out or leave-in. All of them halfway empty, slippery, and falling on the floor. Additionally, hair care can be so freaking expensive, yet beautiful hair is still not guaranteed. There are metal and glass containers available, but they come at a bit higher price usually, so I found my way to shampoo bars. Obviously, we don’t want to wash our hair with a piece of soap, even I would not go that low, and it seems many people think that shampoo bars are just soap and destroy their hair. But this is not the case. I gave the bars a chance, got a few misses, and now I have found some great brands!
I started my journey with shampoo bars from ordering “just something” from Amazon. There is so much to explore, so I figured out it’s worth reading the reviews. First, I found and tested a great one, but they packed their deliveries in plastic, so I did let them go. Some of the tryouts got my scalp itchy, and one of them dyed my hair browner. What was always a bonus, no matter the brand, the bars seem to last much longer than bottled shampoos. This fact matters to me as I need to wash my fine hair daily. Conditioner is often a bit trickier, I feel, what comes to the bars. The biggest problem for me seemed to be to get the stuff out from that bar – it was annoying. And for a long time, I worked with a bar shampoo and bottled conditioner. But I eventually found my brand!
I keep on testing different brands to be able to recommend and spread the word, and of course, what works for me does not necessarily work for someone else. But my favorite at the moment is HiBAR. I have used HiBAR since August, and I am happy with it. My easily complaining scalp is happy, my hair as good as it can be (in my case..,) and the product is long-lasting. Even the conditioner bar does its work. From the options HiBAR is offering, I am using Volumize shampoo and conditioner and occasionally the Maintain Shampoo (for deeper scrub) and Moisturizing conditioner. Those are all gluten-free, sulfate, phthalate, silicone, and paraben-free. The Maintain one is the only one that is not vegan because it has some honey in it.
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I have ordered some shampoo bar samples (such a good idea to sell just tiny pieces to try) from the Sheets Laundry club. Also, Package Free has many brands available, and for example, the MEOW MEOW TWEET Rosemary Avocado has been a great choice for me. The hair gets texture but does not feel puffy. (It does not rinse out well if the water is too hard.)
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How about the plastics in the products?
It would be great to be a chemist to understand the ingredient lists easily. If the manufacturers are not open and honest about their products, it is difficult for the consumer to be sure if microplastics are hiding in the actual product. Microbeads are the most known ones, but there are also macro, nano, and soluble plastics in cosmetics. Microbeads are banned in several countries and states but still not widely enough. When we rinse off the product, the beads end up in the sewer systems and eventually in the oceans. To avoid using cosmetics containing microbeads, do not accept the following ingredients in your products;
- polyethylene (PE),
- polypropylene (PP)
- polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
- polymathy methacrylate (PMMA)
There is so much related to hair care that includes the usage of plastics. As I keep my hair tied and free from fragrances when I am working, and the social life is almost zero due to the COVID, there has not been a need to use any other hair products such as heat protectors, sprays, foams, waxes, etc. But I have explored this field a bit, and it is trickier with these kinds of products to try to avoid plastic. Sure, there are metal containers, for example, but how is our re-cycling system responding to them? More to come about these issues later.
Whenever feeling frustrated with the environmental situation we are living through, it is good to remember that we can demand sustainability from manufacturers and providers and support the ones who try to make an impact. It is our responsibility to future generations. The power for change is in our choices and wallets!