Raising the bar with solid shampoos

With climate change on everyone’s mind and eco-friendly options suddenly much more available, there’s never been a better time to try bar or solid shampoos. But do they stand up to their liquid counterparts?

Ellie, a Layered Online reader, threw a solid shampoo in her carry-on luggage for a recent trip to avoid having to sacrifice some of her precious liquids allowance.

“My thought was that they’d be a bit awkward to use. Although I’d never used shampoo bars before, I assumed that they would be too much like hard work at creating a lather for my hair to actually ‘wash’ it. But as I read more and more about eco-friendly beauty options, I figured I was long overdue to at least try one. Considering they are much more environmentally friendly than most other shampoo options available – and their usefulness when travelling – I decided to bite the bullet.

I tried the rescue My. Hair Care Hydrate shampoo bar (£13.95) and was massively surprised at how easy it was to create a lather, either by lathering the bar in my hands and applying to hair, or actually using the bar straight on my head. I was happy to find I got enough of a ‘clean’ feeling that I didn’t have to double wash, and felt that I’d managed to get at the roots as well as if I’d used a liquid shampoo. The smell was unusual, but this seemed to disappear once my hair was dry – it just had a clean smell. 

I would definitely recommend it as an alternative option to liquid shampoo. Once I’ve finished my current shampoo bottle I’m going to invest time into trying alternatives to liquid products (to cut down on buying more plastic bottles). I guess I’m a convert!”

Layered Online deputy editor Deborah took up the challenge of a bar shampoo to try and tackle her daily plastics useage.

“I’ve been trying to pay a bit more attention to the plastics I use and have read a lot about how bottle caps and pumps are a big problem for recycling. Over a weekend I decided to test-drive how a bar shampoo could fit into my routine, opting for the Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera (£16).

My biggest worry was that it wouldn’t be able to cut it when it came to my oily-leaning scalp, but it went the other way – thanks to the castor oil and aloe vera the lather was less foam-y and more silky. It almost felt a bit sticky and oil-like as I worked it into my damp hair, and I started to get a bit alarmed. The more I worked it in, the more oily it felt – was this actually going to make my hair look even greasier?!

I needn’t have worried – once thoroughly rinsed out, combed through and blown dry, my hair looked shiny but not greasy, as well as being fairly bouncy. Once you wrap your head around the very different washing experience and the scent – castor oil is not the most fragrant of… well, fragrances – it gave a surprisingly lovely finish. Definitely one to revisit!”