One of the first products I tried on my journey to zero waste was a shampoo bar from Lush and, despite it’s price, I was a convert. I loved the fact that I could buy it without packaging, save a sticker saying how much it was. Well that was over a year ago and now I’m back on the bottled shampoo, why?
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After using Lush’s Trichomania shampoo bar for approximately 6 months I started to develop really bad eczema on my feet of all places! Obviously the residue of the shampoo was landing there and creating an issue.
So I hunted around for an alternative shampoo bar and decided upon a transitioning shampoo bar from AB Studio which I bought at the Zero Waste Festival in June. I really liked the smell of this soap and it lathered up very well but my hair definitely didn’t like it. I was told that it can take hair a while to get used to their shampoo bars so I persevered for 5 weeks, at the end of which my crown was lank and greasy and my ends were straw-like. Not a good look!
I then sourced a lovely Lemon & Chamomile shampoo bar from Airmid, which I bought in South William St Pharmacy on Dublin 2. Again a lovely smell and a bar that lathered up really well. The first wash looked promising, my hair felt lighter and smoother, but after a few more washes I was back at square one with a lank, greasy crown.
The last shampoo bar I trialled was the vegan Rosemary and Seasalt soap from Clarkes of Dublin. This isn’t branded as a shampoo bar but a friend who used it as one said they found it good, plus the supplier said it would be suitable as a shampoo bar. The soap smells lovely, is a good size and lathers up well, but from the very first wash I could feel the residue building up on my hair.
Fed up looking like a cross between a bag a chips and a scarecrow I gave in and used Faith in Nature’s Aloe Vera shampoo, which I can get refilled in Hopsack in Rathmines, D6. Finally I had hair that I didn’t have to hide away in a pony tail anymore.
I think the problem wasn’t so much with the bars themselves – except for the Lush one, which I think was a direct cause of my eczema – I think the hardness of the water in my area was causing the soap in the shampoo bars to form a scum on my hair, which wasn’t being rinsed away. Perhaps someone living in a soft water area wouldn’t have the same issue.
I will say that I thought the smell from the shampoo bars were all fantastic and I felt that the soap from AB Studio’s seemed to reduce the least of all of the bars I tested, with the Airmid bar a close second. I found the Lush soap melted away extremely quickly and although the cheapest initially cost me the most in the long run.
Other Irish brands of shampoo bar include Skellig Soaps, Lucy Soap Kitchen, Witches Kitchen, The Natural Aroma Company, Three Hills Soap, Justine Le Guil and Heartworks, Blathana and The Soapbox Project. In the UK you’ve got Beauty Cubes who also use a high percentage of organic ingredients in their shampoo and conditioning cubes.
PS – To give you some context here is my hair washing routine. I have long fine hair that I wash 2-3 times a week and I use a vinegar rinse of 1.5 tblsp of Organic Apple cider vinegar to a pint of water. I’ve been using this vinegar rinse for over a year now. I have slightly sensitive skin and have had eczema from time to time but it’s not a regular issue for me.