This is all thanks to Cindy Vincent, by the way. If I am the beating heart of The Spike, Cindy is my good typing hand (my left is unusually strong on a keyboard, according to my typing teacher in 1999). And when Cindy comments or emails, I pay attention. I once took a good 4 or 5 months to send her some make-up I promised her and she didn’t make a thing of it. Only very seriously secure and solid people don’t make a thing of stuff like that.
Anyway she said “SOLID SHAMPOOS HUH? PLASTIC-FREE BATHROOMS?” and I scrabbled up from my reclining position in the Aeron chair I stole from my husband, with my feet on my desk, Googling “CBD oil” and went “Jesus, fuck, Cindy YES!”
I promised her that with the almighty might of The Spike I would inundate her with solid shampoos to test, but my pathetic request on a PR service for solid shampoos turned up exactly a zero response. So I hustled down to Get The Gloss and agreed to write for them gratis in order to score, (among other things, c’mon), a single bar of solid shampoo from Lush, which had to be sent to my home address.
Cindy was circumspect in our conversations about Lush. But I must overrule her in a sort of corporate dick-move I am lucky not to have to deal with in my general working life. Because LUSH IS GREAT.
I have written Lush off recently as just some bath bomb clip joint for teens, but in fact they are doing good, strong work. You are all going to whine now “But Lush stiiiiiiinks I hate Lush it stiiiiiinks,” yes okay when you walk past it the combined miasma of the vanilla pods and the banana extract and the coconut fandango might gather together in an unholy, funky cloud and cause you to hurry past as if it were a fishmonger run by a gang of stoned teenagers, but individually the products smell fine. They smell great!
Solid shampoo!! Get it! Do it! If we all use a solid shampoo we can genuinely do our gracious bit to halt the plastic tide, and I do know how much that means to all of you.
I bloody love my solid shampoo. Despite being a credulous twit, an ad man’s dream girl who believes that a mascara will curl her eyelashes or a cream with halt the dark circles under her eyes, I could never have given a flying shit about shampoo. Maybe it’s because I have great hair. I’m sorry but there it is. We all have a skill. You may be a wonderful parent, or fantastic at maths or a gifted poet. I’m just really good at growing a lot of fabulous hair.
I vaguely notice when a shampoo is nice of course, when your hair feels really clean afterwards, but that’s pretty much it. Right now I am most concerned about my scalp, which I faintly worry is a kind of worrying hinterland of ancient … stuff. Which is why I am so keen on the goop Himalayan salt scrub thingy, which is a scalp scrub but also a very luxurious shampoo.
But that comes in a tub. A very nice tub! The Lush shampoo however, comes naked, unadorned. To remind you powerfully what a load of utter crap shampoo is. It’s just soap. And why not make it from natural stuff and mould it into a cylinder and cut little cakes of it off and pack it in compostable packing noodles and a recycled brown box and send it off to customers?
I find it energising and restorative to rub that cake against my scalp in the mornings that I wash my hair (every second day). It lathers up lovely and leaves my hair clean and exactly as satisfactory as every other ecologically ruinous shampoo I have ever used.
Obviously I had to get the Copperhead – and it is rather pricey at £7.50 or something for a 55g cake of it. But I have been using it for a while now and it shows no sign of abating. I also have for it a natty little round tin! So I can sling it in a wash-bag or frankly in my pocket if I am going away and am unsure if there will be shampoo there (this happens surprisingly frequently). My boy, Sam, has also been diagnosed with eczema and must have soap-free baths – when he is allowed to have them, baths being the ultimate bringer-on of eczema, it turns out – and I feel that washing his little, round, complaining Charlie Brown head with a totally natural shampoo must be a good thing.
I will 100% be buying solid shampoo and a little tin for everyone I can think who might be even faintly receptive to it this Christmas. Not least because there is a Lush store in Brent Cross. No.1 on my list is Cindy Vincent. I may even manage to get it there by Christmas Day.
I absolutely love Lush, mainly because I loved CTG all those years ago when I was about 12 and they had a brilliant paper catalogue and used to send these beautiful parcels with lots of free fun bits and bobs, and it was before the internet so getting parcels was a huge treat. And now I have a 10yo daughter and she loves it.
Haven’t tried the solid shampoos but they sound really good. I tend only to use a really dull Neutrogena shampoo as everything else irritates my scalp but that one you posted about for Sam might be worth a try.
Sadly Lush at sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) to their shampoo bars. I don’t know wtf it is but I know it’s bad and makes my scalp itch ! Independent shampoo bar makers never use it and there are plenty out there to try
Thanks Carrie – I didn’t know that. Do you have any recommendations?
I have purchased from a lady called Juliet Rose (google Juliet Rose soaps) and have also bought from Wild and Sage (they have a lovely website) and both bars were good. The thing I find is that I no longer need to use a conditioner, the shampoo bar seems to work wonders in also conditioning the hair. You can rinse with apple cider vinegar mixed with water but I don’t feel I need to do that.
From my very basic knowledge of SLS; it is used to help make the product froth and lather. However cold pressing of shampoo bars mean they also lather well. I think cold pressing is a lot more time and work? so thats probably why Lush don’t use that process.
I’ve recently moved to solid shampoo and wouldn’t go back. I bought mine from a company (on-line only) called Conchus who proudly state they use no nasties, alongside a conditioning rinse, which I’m not sure I need, but it smells lovely and comes in a recyclable metal bottle. I do need to find a face scrub that doesn’t come in plastic though – I tried going without and my skin was awful.
i have been hunting around for a solid shampoo for ages!!!
Absolutely LOVE solid shampoo- I use Lush’s ‘new’ bar, which I swear sorted out my hair thinning out with stress. Not only is it eco etc, but also super practical to take away on a handluggage only flight, as doesn’t count as a liquid… agree re the smell of lush- buy it online!
Yes yes yes, I am so with you on this – and rather relieved that your totally fabulous mermaid hair is not down to some Creme de la Mer priced uber-shampoo that mere mortals could never afford, but simply great hair genes! The amount of plastic in our bathrooms is hideous, and Lush currently seems to be the only solution! Luckily, their shampoo bars are completely brilliant, and as you say the tins make them perfect for travelling as well – no decanting a favourite shampoo into 100 ml bottles for the airport 🤦🏼♀️ I haven’t found a Lush conditioner that I get on with quite as well as the shampoo bars, but I am happy to go without conditioner and just bung some product (e.g. Argan oil) on my hair afterwards. So long as it’s not in a plastic bottle of course. Now, do Lush make toothpaste….? 🤔
Tom B says
At last a ‘cosmeticy’ post I can comment on. My daughter put me on to Lush shampoo bars as part of our one household war against plastic (largely unsuccessful!). I use the anti dandruff one, it has flakes of something or other, but it smells nice and seems to keep dandruff at bay, and woks well. I also have some sort of conditioner which I am less enamoured with. The metal Lush tins are very nice to look at and a handy size, but they are absolute b&^stards to open when your hands are wet and they have been languishing in your shower for a while – I am keeping an eye out for an old fashioned soap case. There is an easy way round the olfactory assault that is going to a Lush store – buy on line.
I have found plastic free toothpaste, a sort of deodorant style stick of ‘tooth soap’ – it was hideous, literally like using soap on your teeth. I am ashamed to say it went in the bin sorry dolphins! Do any Spikers have an answer to this?
Yes! Hurrah for having something useful to add to The Spike. I’ve spent the last month or so cleaning my teeth with these :https://www.anythingbutplastic.co.uk/product-page/denttabs-toothpaste-tablets-with-fluoride
They are nifty little tablets which I assume are just dried pellets of toothpaste; but because they are dry, they can be packaged in a neat little glass jar. They seem to work just as well as any conventional toothpaste. (I also bought the plastic-free deodorant from the site and it gets me through a Sweat workout with no trouble at all.)
Julia this is fabulous! Thank you x
Original Ginsta says
I want to love the Lush shampoo bars and have tried a few but my hair ended up like a ball of dry fizz after a few uses. Their solid conditioner doesn’t really do anything either. The body wash bars are ok for those who aren’t irritated by SLS, my husband informs me.
I have the Lush godiva shampoo bar as it is really handy for travelling and means I don’t have to bring a million small bottles of things with me. This one is conditioning which is very necessary for my knotty hair, and it smells of jasmine which is a selling point for me but I know might not be for everyone. I travel a fair bit and it lasted for months so I think it was a great purchase.
Secrets de Provence have a range of solid shampoos – you can buy a box for storage/transportation and even the box is 100% cornstarch.
Ha ha! This is hilarious and sweet. Solid and secure! I feel truly seen. I think because I always go to Lush at Christmas to buy those cute little Robot bath bombs for the children, when any shop combining an olfactory element with a lot of desperate last minute consumers is like to send me into a swoon, I have been perhaps unfairly prejudiced. If you say it’s good then I will lather myself up and think of David Attenborough.
What about conditioner?
On sls free alternatives, I did find The Natural Soap Company in North Norfolk and The Natural Collection, which also eschews palm oil, which is another thing for us all to google and worry about late at night. I haven’t tried these myself I regret to say so don’t know what they’re like. Lush, it seems, are working toward other options too, and have quite a bit about it all on their website.
Hi, I am really interested in all this stuff in a bid to reduce plastic waste, but I fear I am not doing a very good job. Is it not the case that even the plastic that says its recyclable is just ending up in landfill or the sea? I tried some lovely smelling soap on rope from a vegan market, and it went to mush and lasted about 3 weeks. At £8.50 a bar its not something I could afford to use all the time. So what to do? Please give recommendations if you can. Surely there must be better alternatives? Can I also ask what people use instead of cotton makeup removers, for waterproof mascara etc? I feel so guilty after seeing Stacey Dooley’s programme. The alternatives I have seen have been made of cotton anyway so what’s the difference?
I use coconut oil (just the massive jars of the cooking stuff) to take off all makeup, including waterproof mascara (works a dream). I rub it all over my face and eyes then take it off with a face flannel and hot water. It is absolutely brilliant. I used to have all sorts of problems with sore eyes from every single eye makeup remover I ever tried, including the hypo-allergenic etc. I never have those problems with coconut oil and it also cuts down on my plastic and cotton pad use. Plus it has really made my skin glow and stopped me getting dry, tired-looking skin under my eyes (as much).
I use these if I’m flying somewhere and only taking hand luggage (this makes me sound impossibly glamorous, I know, and is not at all a reflection of what my life is actually like). They do get a bit crumbly, a bit like carrying a loose Oxo cube around, but do the job and smell nice. No SLS either.
Julie this is super info thank you. We live in the Channel islands so have to fly everywhere and its always hand luggage only which is a pain for me and my two daughters. I’ll definitely look a this. x
Shampoo bars should last a few months, the trick is to keep them dry. I keep on a soap rack on windowsill away from shower. I got into shampoo bars partly to cut back on plastic but also I’m massively lazy so cutting out the conditioner step was always going to be a winner!
Hmm. Sounds interesting. Especially keen on this as a giant shampoo bottle fell on my head this morning from an overcrowded shelf stuffed with plastic crap.
However, will it make my already over-processed dry hair even drier?
P.S. Brent Cross is a supermassive black hole and I try to avoid it like a plague 😀
Here in the US there’s one people rave about without SLS by Christophe Robin (you can get it in Sephora). I haven’t tried it because I think vigorous lathering will make my curly hair really tangly, and I just really love my Aveda shampoo, and I’m sorry about the plastic but I’ll try to do better outside the bathroom… *hides head in shame*
Lush shampoo bars are great! Especially for travelling. As others have said, you must dry them out properly, especially before you shut them in the metal tin, otherwise you’ll never get it open again.
But I find after a few washes my hair feels a bit residuey and I need to do a reset wash with a liquid shampoo (which Lush do too) to get it properly squeaky clean.
I also swear by their Dark Angels charcoal face scrub, it’s all I use to wash my face and it keeps the shine at bay.
I haven’t used solid shampoo, but, I have switched to using coconut oil as eye makeup remover. Wipes don’t work well on waterproof mascara and lots of eye makeup removers made my eyelids dry. Now I just have a massive glass jar of coconut oil from the supermarket and it works like a dream, will last for ages and is plastic free!
Good tip – I find it so hard to get eye make up off without feeling like I’ve exfoliated my eyeballs.
I did some googling last night and found the Australian natural soap company who sell a range of palm oil free, vegan, sls free shampoo bars – http://www.theaustraliannaturalsoapcompany.com.au – not sure about UK delivery though. I have used their soaps which are lovely
Haven’t tried the shampoo (I will) but this Lush massage bar is just brilliant.
Love that everyone is giving up that bottled shite! I’ve been no ‘poo for over a year now and my hair is thicker and healthier than ever. And my scalp and acid mantle are aces. I wash with eggs or rye flour like every ten days or so. It’s all about daily brushing though I’ve come to realize. And a really eco non chemically shampoo bar is made in Tasmania by ‘beauty and the bees’. Pretty sure they ship all over and they’re very transparent with their ingredients. My wee blog post on a no shampoo life – http://youngpieces.blogspot.com/2017/12/shutting-down-shampoo-metaphor-for-life_39.html?m=1
Phoebe you are an inspiration x
Esther I’m so embarrassed/touched you perused my blog! You are so kind to reply. After all those years reading Recipe Rifle I knew we would totally be friends IRL one day. Ha x
This thread is great! I had no idea there was such a thing as shampoo soap and I’m always on the look out to cut down on plastic and chemicals. I am currently in North Norfolk on hols so will drop in to the Natural Soap Company to get some soap shampoo (£4.50 for 100g bar) and will order one from Wild and Sage (£6 for 115g) to compare. Thanks everyone in soap shampoo cameraderie! x
I have been using Funky Soap camomile and citrus solid shampoo for he past month. No need to use conditioner anymore. It has shea and cocoa butter to smoothe your hair and soothe the scalp. All natural and handmade. Suitable for vegans too. Only downside is I have noticed a bit of residue bud up which can be rectified by washing now and again with bicarbonate. Tried the no poo method befere solid shampoo but my hair always felt dirty. http://www.funkysoapsshop.com
Just reporting back on how I went with nettle and rosemany soap bar from the Natural Soap Company. I love it! Unlike you, Esther, I don’t have a talent from growing fabulous hair but the soap seems to make my puny thin hair feel thicker and just *better*. I do still need to use a conditioner though although they said I wouldn’t.