Planet-friendly shampoo and soap

Small steps…

  • Dramatically reduce your plastic footprint by swapping those chemical-rich shampoos and soaps for a natural alternative.
  • Try one of the many environmentally-friendly shampoo bars, or an all-in-one body and hair soap.
  • They’re not just better for the planet, but can work out cheaper as well.

I can’t comment on your ‘bounce’, ‘volume’ or ‘glossy shine’, but this stuff will clean your hair.

When you’re as tight as I am and spot an offer in the supermarket for something you figure you’re going to be buying for years to come anyway, it’s easy to get carried away. And when you’re as practical and tidy as my wife, it’s common to get exasperated when your husband then comes home with enough shampoo to fill five bathrooms.

On top of that, amongst the little goodies we’ve been leaving out for our holiday cottage guests are small, plastic bottles of moisturiser, shampoo and conditioner. Over the course of a year that’s as many as 468 plastic bottles going either to recycling or, if the guests don’t bother to hunt out the right container, straight into the bin.

That’s a shameful amount of single-use plastic, along with a lot of chemicals washed down the drain – to say nothing of, depending on the brand, the mass testing on animals or the deforestation for palm oil, with all the consequent human rights abuses and the impact on biodiversity and the climate.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a flourishing industry in conscience-free soaps and shampoo bars, for every scalp and skin-type, all driven by a commitment to reduce our impact on the planet. Check out the results of a 2018 Best-Buy test in the Independent.

Admittedly, I’m hardly a guru when it comes to hair products. But I know about price. I’ve been using The Lemonazing Chunky Shampoo Bar from The Edinburgh Skincare Company 3-4 times a week since Christmas, and it’s still got weeks, maybe months, of squeaky clean hair to go. It cost a grand total of £8, and came in a nice little canvas bag which makes it easy to take on holiday and, my wife is pleased to loudly note, takes up a whole lot less space than the equivalent number of bottles. And I can gladly confirm that the stuff smells great, does the job, and I’m not getting any balder or greyer than I would have been anyway. Even better for me, it’s made just down the road – ‘think global, shop local.’

Many people develop a loyalty for a particular brand. Which is partly why we’re going to stop leaving out bottles of shampoo and conditioner for guests who will likely bring their own anyway, and just offer this instead, from the fantastic Friendly Soap Company: a great wee travel soap that comes in a cardboard wrap and doubles as a hair and body bar and even a shaving soap.

Another small but very easy step that won’t cost the earth.

Edit: IRONY ALERT!

After several months of happily using my Lemonazing Chunky Shampoo Bar up to three times a week, I developed scalp dermatitis – a head that itched like it was home to a metropolis of lice. So until I can find a suitable alternative, I’m using a therapeutic shampoo instead, the active ingredient of which is… coal tar extract.

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