Back in 2014 in a time before Boris and Trump were best mates I started this blog as a way of recording the slow, small changes I was making to live a more sustainable life. The first change I made was my shampoo and now nearly 5 years later I thought I’d revisit the topic since it’s still the one I get the most questions about.
Reasons for swapping
There are several ‘ethical/sustainable’ issues that might drive a change when it comes to haircare but let’s boil it down to three, People, Plastics and Product.
People matter. My whole ethical story began when a friend asked me this question; ‘how do your choices oppress others?’. That question has made me think much more about how the things I buy are made and who makes them. When it comes to hair-care, choosing products that use ingredients that are bought for a fair price, made for a fair price and help to liberate people and communities is important. Buying locally-made products is also great as independent makers are likely to know more about where their ingredients come from. It’s great to be plastic free but so important to look behind the cute paper packaging to see who’s making it and how they are being treated.
There’s lots of talk about plastic so I won’t add to the noise. The world is dying in single-use plastic and we can do something about that. In the area of hair-care reducing plastic has become much easier. When I started my search 5 years ago Lush were the only place offline that I could buy a shampoo bar locally, now the choices are endless, not to mention the brilliant zero-waste stores popping up.
Recently I’ve started switching all my body, hair and cleaning products to toxin free ones. The main thing I’ve focused on is removing synthetic fragrance. On most shampoos and conditioners you’ll see the words ‘perfume’ or ‘fragrance’. This is a placeholder for a whole load of different chemicals which we know very little about. I decided that I wanted to know exactly what I was putting on my skin so now I opt for products which use essential oils for scent. I was guided through this process by reading the Clean Mama book and I’ve already noticed that my hands which are usually dry and sore are totally clear, yippee!
You can decide that all the above issues matter to you or maybe only a couple. I wanted to share the things that shape my decisions as they are way more important than sharing the actually products that end up in my bathroom.
Before I move on and give you the low-down on my favourites I want to add another ‘P’ – it’s Personal. Your hair is yours and what works for me probably won’t work for you. The condition, colour, texture and style of your hair will affect how different products work, not to mention the kind of water in your area. Stick at it, the first shampoo you use probably won’t be the last, have fun and experiment, use a bar up and then try another one. Most people experience a detox when they switch, there’s various tips online with how to get through this but it does get better and hopefully you’ll come to love your new hair and products.
My current favourites
Faith in Nature refill – our local zero-waste shop sells refills of shampoo and conditioner. This is an awesome option if you don’t fancy going down the bar route.
Lush – honey I washed the kids – smells great, lathers up due to it including SLS which many shampoo bars don’t. SLS is the chemical that makes things lather, there’s questions about how good it is for you (it is quite drying) but Lush give a great explanation about it here. Due to the SLS this is a great bar for someone who’s trying a non-liquid for the first time because you lather it in your hand and then it acts just like ‘normal’ shampoo. One bar is the equivalent of three bottles of shampoo.
Beauty Kubes – Hands down my favourite haircare find. A little cube that you crush, add a few drops of water to and then lather. It smells incredible and my hair feels so soft afterwards. They look pricey at first glance but since I now only wash my hair twice a week (another perk of switching to natural products) a box of 27 can last me up to 3 months.
Conchus bars and hair-rinse – I’m in love with this hair rinse, I spray it on after shampooing, leave for a couple of minutes and then wash off. Here’s the Conchus explanation;
‘Naturally hair has a slightly acidic pH, and shampoo bars are naturally slightly alkaline in pH (nothing to be concerned about). A hair rinse will help to balance the pH of your hair, and keep it happy in harmony.
It will also prevent the waxy soap film, that can happen particularly in hard water areas. This waxy feeling is often when people give up on shampoo bars, but a hair rinse is an absolute game-changer for using them, and it replaces the ‘conditioner’ in your hair care routine.’
Sheffield Skincare conditioner – since the heat wave my hair has needed a bit of extra moisture and this bar is lovely and huge bonus to be able to support a local business at the same time.
Hope this has been helpful and encouraged you to have some fun finding some great alternatives to your supermarket favourites 🙂 Would love to hear what other people have enjoyed using.