You’re probably familiar with solid shampoo. A real trend in recent years, it responds to consumers’ concerns about the environment and zero waste. But what is it really? What is it made of? What are the alternatives? We’re here today to answer all these questions and help you make an informed choice.
What is solid shampoo and what does it consist of?
Solid shampoo is an alternative to traditional liquid shampoos. Unlike liquid shampoos, which are packaged in plastic bottles, solid shampoo comes in the form of a compact solid bar. It is designed to cleanse, condition and care for hair. It has become an essential zero-waste product, as it requires very little plastic packaging.
In terms of their composition, it’s pretty much the same as that of a classic shampoo. They generally contain:
- Surfactants: Surfactants are cleansing agents that remove dirt, excess sebum and impurities from the hair. Solid shampoos generally contain several surfactants, such as sodium cocoyl isethionate, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate or sodium coco-sulfate.
- Plant oils or butters: These are added to give the hair moisturizing and nourishing properties. Examples include coconut oil, sweet almond oil and shea butter.
- Active ingredients: Depending on the type of shampoo, active ingredients must be added to meet the hair’s needs.
- Essential oils: Essential oils may be added to give the product even more power.
- Fragrances, colourings and preservatives: If the solid shampoo is scented, fragrances are added. Colorants are also added for coloured solid shampoos. Finally, preservatives are compulsory to prolong their shelf life.
A composition very similar to that of liquid shampoo, you might say. The main difference is that solid shampoo contains no water. So can we really trust solid shampoos? What is there to debate about their use?
The disadvantages of solid shampoo
As we explained earlier, solid shampoo contains surfactants, just like traditional shampoos. The problem is that they are present in greater quantities. As solid shampoo contains no water, it’s harder to get it to lather. And to make it lather, you need surfactants. Can you see where we’re going with this? The composition is generally more dubious partly because of this. What’s more, to make a solid soap, it has to be heated, with caustic soda, for example. In our opinion, this can denature certain ingredients, especially if you’re working with essential oils.
People also say that solid shampoo is more environmentally friendly. But because it contains more surfactants than traditional shampoo, solid shampoo is harder to rinse out. And when it’s harder to rinse, you need to use more water. So you’ll need more water to rinse the whole thing out. Not very environmentally friendly, is it?
Of course, compared to liquid shampoo, solid shampoo is more limited. It can be difficult to find a specific solid shampoo to meet particular hair needs such as colour-treated or curly hair. For very dry or damaged hair, solid shampoo may lack a certain amount of nutrition.
These are also practices that can be disrupted on a daily basis, as solid shampoo is not as easy to transport as liquid. Once it’s wet, it’s important to let it dry to avoid damaging it.
Of course, everyday hygiene practices vary from one person to another.
But is it possible to be environmentally friendly without using solid shampoo?
Alternatives to solid shampoos: refillable bottles
Can’t do without your usual liquid shampoo, but still want to do something for the planet?
We’ve got the solution. We work with brands that care about the environment and your health. They are certified by our label, and must comply with strict standards when it comes to ingredients and packaging.
The little extra? Some of them offer their customers the option of refilling their shampoo bottles. That’s the eco-friendly gesture we’ve been waiting for. Offering shampoos in bulk means less plastic packaging!
This is particularly true of Hairborist and This Green, our two members who are experts in plant-based coloring and organic hair products. They both offer varied ranges to suit all hair types. They work with essential oils and use no products that are harmful to your health or your hair. And on top of that, what could be better than filling your shampoo bottle, avoiding all the unnecessary packaging?
Ultimately, solid shampoo is a potential ally, but it’s not necessarily the best option. It’s true that it helps a lot to reduce plastic packaging, but it doesn’t necessarily help to reduce water consumption. When it comes to the composition of solid shampoos, you need to be careful, because solid shampoos don’t necessarily mean organic solid shampoos. Some manufacturers use a lot of surfactants to make the product lather as well as possible. If you really want to do something for the planet and have healthy hair, you can turn to products that are genuinely ecological and certified by a label. The most important? It’s finding refillable shampoos to take care of our beautiful planet.