Wednesday, February 13, 2008

more trash reduction: shampoo

In the aisles of my local bourgeois hippie food store, something seemingly out-of-place had been catching my eye amongst the shelves of natural and organic hair care products:

Shampoo in a bar? Wow, I thought. More power to the people who can use that, but they must be serious hippies.

Recently, though, we've been learning about the virtues of food with fewer ingredients (last night found us reading in bed, each with a different book by Michael Pollan), so I thought, why not bath and body products with fewer ingredients? I'm trying not to get caught up in the throng of paranoid young parents spurning everything ever made by Johnson & Johnson, but on other hand, it really couldn't hurt to cut down on the things I can't pronounce.

We've also really enjoyed buying food in bulk since we moved to a place where we can do so. I don't mean that we buy a ton of something at once; the store does, and we buy as much or as little as we need. It means we've stopped throwing out or recycling as many containers, because now we can bring a bottle or a jar or a bag from home and get sugar, flour, cereal, peanut butter, dry beans, honey, molasses or olive oil. So it's no surprise that I found myself looking at the almost-empty bottle of shampoo recently and wishing I could bring it back for a refill. No such luck this time.

Wait a minute, I thought. Maybe we are serious hippies. Maybe we should buy the hippie bar shampoo.

Hippie or no, we took the leap. Tossed the biodegradable wrapper in the recycling and gave it a go. You know what? It's just like any other shampoo. It's just in a bar. It's got five ingredients and it rates a 1 ("low hazard") in Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep cosmetics database.

My main concern had been that I have dry hair, and I was afraid this would dry out my hair the way soap sometimes dries out my skin. But so far, so good. I wash my hair every other day, and I haven't even needed to use conditioner.

J.R. Liggett's sells a "patented shampoo shelf" for twelve bucks on their website, but we've found that this works just as well.

Conclusion: regular people can use bar shampoo. It is possible. You might want to think about it the next time you're about to buy another plastic bottle.


David said...

Been using a bar shampoo for about 6 months and it has been great. Of course, I have about 5mm of hair, but still...:-)

I should try that brand and be a hippy like you guys. Oh wait, people already think I am, which I so am not. So confusing...

Rose said...

If you need a "conditioner", try a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with a cup of water as a rinse.

Also, look into nopoo (going sans shampoo). Most people use bakingsoda and apple cider vinegar with good results. There are some pretty active LJ communities about it.

Mama Monster said...

I made my own shampoo with very few ingredients last summer. It worked really well. Also my own deoderant which wasn't as effective as the store bought kind but also didn't contain toxic chemicals. I wanted to experiment more with this stuff but haven't had the time recently. Imight give the bar a go, but my hair is so short right now, It'll be next year before I'm through with my large bottle of shampoo.

maria said...

i take comfort in knowing that my friends may be bigger hippies than i am. :)

i have so much deodorant angst. i do not want breast cancer. yet i am a girl who needs an antiperspirant and not just a deodorant (most all-natural brands are the latter). currently i am using the crystal rock thing but i haven't decided if it's really doing its job. i would be interested in your homemade deodorant recipe.