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Raising the Bar: A Simple Swap to Traditional Shampoo

Hello strangers, it’s been a while! I hope everyone had a very happy New Year & hopefully 2020 has been treating you like the ethereal being of light you are.

I must admit, I started out 2020, quite ashamed that I hadn’t posted since November. But, I think it was just the kick in the pants I needed to dust off my trusty laptop, take my typing gloves out of that old, rickety drawer (just kidding I don’t actually have typing gloves, but I might be on to something), and get right back into blogging.

To be fair, I really did try to stick to a time schedule & lay out a bunch of plans in advance, but, sometimes you just need a break. I think we can all agree, life gets wicked crazy sometimes (the New Englander slang is rubbing off on me) & I think that, amongst other things, it was my primary reason for not posting. A mental health break was much needed after going through a little bit of a rough patch & the weight of blogging that was sitting on my shoulders was making me avoid it all the more (I’m sure we’ve all been there).

Whether we realize it or not, running a blog is a huge responsibility. We pour not just our hearts & souls, but our finances & time into making our blog what we envision it to be. I honestly didn’t comprehend how time consuming it truly was, but after posting weekly, I learned quite quickly how fast that week goes & how much planning is involved. I hope one day it is my only responsibility, but when working a full time job in healthcare (or any full time job for that matter) is thrown into the mix, it can feel exhausting. In fact, I was hoping to get this post out much earlier in the day, but work & grocery shopping got in the way, so here I am at 9:30 PM at night, chugging away at my goal to get this published today.

In the blogging realm, there are a lot of moving parts, such as doing research on what you are writing about, taking photos of products & recipes (I’m still trying to make it work with my lil ol’ iPhone 7 over here), & then editing all of those photos to make them look more appealing. Then there is task making sure your search engine optimization is just right so that people who are looking can find your posts & proof-reading your posts so you don’t look like a dang fool. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

But, in times like these, I think it is important to take a step back & use this as an opportunity to remind both to myself, and others out there who have full time jobs & other commitments but are still enthusiastic about sharing your passions with a community that shares your same, that you are doing this for the love of it. My husband the other day reminded me that if you can inspire just one person to change their way of doing something, for example using a silicone bag instead of a plastic bag, then you have accomplished what you set out to do. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect at posting every single week if that is unrealistic for you & your lifestyle, because you’re only setting yourself up for failure. Anyway, I’ll get off my pep talk soap box and get right into the topic for this week…zero waste hair care!


Hair care. We all use it in some way, shape, or form. For some, like my husband, that means buying whatever 2-in-1 shampoo & conditioner he can get his hands on & call it a day. However, for me, I spend much more time in effort into the products I choose to buy. My hair is very fine & while it has it’s advantages (it’s always extremely soft, silky, & shiny), it also has it’s disadvantages (falls limp, gets oily quickly, doesn’t have much body unless I use texture spray). As most people who use shampoo & conditioner realize, these products traditionally come in bottles which, unfortunately, are made from plastic. While recycling may be an option depending on the type of plastic the bottle is made from, it is not always possible, especially if you do not thoroughly clean out the bottles (I recently learned that you can contaminate a whole batch of recycling if you leave residue in containers/bottles you recycle, which means the whole batch goes into the landfill anyway). It’s also a pretty harsh reality when you find out that 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles are thrown out globally each year. 80 BILLION. EACH. YEAR. My little mind can’t even comprehend that staggering amount!!

So, at this point, you may be wondering what other options there are for those looking to ditch the bottle? We all know of bar soap, so why not do the same thing with our shampoo? That’s where the company Ethique comes in. I’m going to be honest, when I decided to give up my bottled shampoo, I was a little hesitant on how effective a bar shampoo would be on my fine, easily tangle-able (not sure if this is even a word) hair, but let me tell you, I have been pleasantly surprised.

You’ll also be surprised to know that how I found this company was as simple as going to Google, searching “Best Shampoo Bars,” hitting “Enter” and clicking on the first link that came up. Ethique topped lists as one of the best shampoo bars on the market on websites such as Refinery29, Byrdie, and Elle. Which may lead you to ask this next question, what about Ethique makes it so good?


The company Ethique was founded in 2012 & since then has stopped over 6 million plastic bottles from being made & disposed of into landfills. From humble beginnings, Ethique is now distributed worldwide & is said to be used by the likes of Ashton Kutcher & Britney Spears (not that you care, or maybe you do?)


There are tons of shampoo bars out there that you can try that I’m sure work fantastically, but Ethique has a few legs up on most other companies that I’ve seen.


All ingredients that Ethique uses are derived from natural ingredients & every product is free of parabens, palm oil, petroleum by-products and a bunch of other nasty stuff that is bad for your body. The ingredients are also fair trade, vegan, plant-based, & cruelty free. You can read more about their ingredient list here


Ethique’s products are inherently plastic free, but so is there packaging. They use cardboard with soy ink that contains no plastics or laminates, which means that they are 100% compostable. Even the containers they sell to house your bars in the shower at home are made from bamboo fibers & cornstarch so they can go right into the compost pile once you are finished with them.


Traditional shampoos & conditioners, because they are made in liquid form, are typically comprised of 80%-95% water. By switching to bar shampoo & conditioner (like Ethique), you save the equivalent of 3 plastic bottles of shampoo & 5 plastic bottles of conditioner. Water isn’t just in our liquid shampoos & conditioners; water is also used to manufacture them. Just to give you an idea of how much water, it takes 132.8 billion liters of water to make plastic shampoo & conditioner bottles yearly. Unfortunately, scientists predict that by 2025 (THAT’S ONLY 5 YEARS AWAY PEOPLE), there will be water shortages that will impact billions of people, which could have catastrophic effects. So, by switching to bar shampoo, you conserve water both on the product itself & the packaging.

Let’s talk about another huge impact that the beauty & self-care industry has on the environment: the use of palm oil. But why is palm oil so bad you may be asking? Palm oil harvesting is ravaging rainforests in Malaysia & Indonesia, displacing native people & hundreds of species (i.e. tigers, rhinos, elephants, etc.). Palm oil is used it SO MANY THINGS. In fact, beauty products & even food products contain palm oil (such as peanut butter, Nutella, and even things like crackers & chips). Ethique is certified palm oil free and never uses any of it in their products.


When doing reading about shampoo bars, I was pretty shocked to find out that most shampoo bars are actually just soap. Most people would ask, why does this really matter? It still cleans my hair, right? WRONG. I’m sure you’ve learned about the pH in science class & the effect soap based shampoo bars versus true shampoo bars has on your hair really just comes down to pH. Soap has pH range of 9 to 10 & because of it’s chemical make-up, this pH cannot be lowered. When applied to your hair, the alkalinity of the soap makes your hair more vulnerable to drying out & leaves you with a sticky, dull, rough, texture & can lead to hair damage & breakage. True shampoo bars, like Ethique’s products, have a pH of 5.5, which causes much less disruption to hair cuticle & leaves your hair smooth & shiny.


Ethique’s shampoo bars go for about $15.50 per bar, but honestly if you think about the amount of money you are saving it all checks out. If one Ethique shampoo bar is the equivalent to 3 bottles of liquid shampoo. If we get into the realm of more “salon quality” shampoos, you’re talking even more cost, which definitely makes Ethique more bang for your buck. A big factor to include in price is how long the product will last you. Ethique bars last about 2-5 times longer than it’s bottled evil twin sister because the bars are super concentrated. I been using my Ethique shampoo bar since October & it is nowhere near being used up.


Among the MANY things I love about this company, the variety is among the best. They really have a product for every hair type & everything you can think of. My hair is very fine & can get oily & limp quickly, so all I had to do was go on Ethique’s website & take a small quiz to find my perfect bar (which happens to be the St. Clements shampoo bar for Oily Hair). Not only do they sell both shampoo & conditioner bars (I have yet to use the conditioner bars, I am trying to use up the last of my bottled conditioner so that I at least am not wasteful with product), but they offer so much more. Here is just a list of some of the products they offer:

  • Baby products (things like diaper rash balm & multi-purpose wash)

  • Pet products (things like shampoo & conditioner for your doggos)

  • Body & Face Care (soaps, scrubs, bath melts, deodorants & face washes)

    • I will say that I have used their all natural deodorant bars & I was not a huge fan (I plan on writing a zero waste, all natural deodorant review post, so stay tuned for that). It was a bit uncomfortable to use & it did not leave me smelling fresh until the end of the day. I am willing to give it another try because I think I was just in the transitionary period of switching from aluminum based deodorants to the more natural variety.

  • Household (laundry & stain eraser bar) – I’ve purchased this too but I have not yet used it, which I plan on doing a review post of this product

They even offer sample packages so that you can try out a variety of their items to see which ones tickle your fancy


Overall, I am SUPER impressed with Ethique all around. The company is founded, owned, & led by a female CEO, Brianne West, who recently won the EY Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, it’s environmentally conscious, ethically & socially conscious, saves you money, helps your hair feel extremely healthy, & is just a dang good product. I will continue to purchase my shampoo bars from Ethique & I hope to try more of their products in the future.

If you’ve tried Ethique’s products before, how have they worked for you? What have been your favorite products from them?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Until next time…