We've been making all kinds of bathroom swaps in the name of plastic-free beauty, from switching to reusable cotton pads to bamboo toothbrushes, but one of the easiest of all is switching from bottled shampoo to shampoo bars.
I pride myself on my sustainable living habits. I've got a reusable water bottle, I no longer ask for straws at the bar - even when I'm wearing lipstick, I only use canvas tote bags when shopping and I even bring my own paper bags to the supermarket for fruit and vegetables.
But every time I step into the shower, I'm met with an overwhelming sense of guilt. I think about the turtles. And the seals. And all the other types of marine life I'm destroying as I stand amongst an array of plastic bottles. One for my shampoo, another for conditioner, a shower gel and a cleanser. Then there's my boyfriend’s shampoo and his shower gel – six bottles, on a constant cycle of being used up, recycled and replaced by more plastic.
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So I decided to try Biovène Barcelona's shampoo and conditioner bar for a fortnight to see how they compare to my regular plastic option and if they're really worth the hype.
I've been bleaching, dying and applying immense heat to my hair since the age of 14 so I went for the Damage Control Shampoo bar and conditioner as it's supposed to rescue dull, damaged hair and in exchange deliver velvety soft, shiny hair. Both products are also cruelty-free, which is a double win for the environment.
Damage Control Solid Bar, €2.99, Biovène Barcelona
Damage Control Solid Conditioner, €2.99, Biovène Barcelona
On my first shower, I was unsure whether this little shampoo bar would actually get soapy enough to wash my thick hair so I spent about 30 seconds messaging it between my hands - I soon learnt – with my head comically covered in suds – that the bar is a perfect hair washing companion.
What was on my head was the equivalent of a palm-full of regular shampoo. Portion control is clearly still something I need to master and not just at dinner times.
The conditioner is a little harder to use because it doesn’t lather up, it’s hard to know if you have enough. After watching a tutorial or two, I soon found the best way to apply is to gather your hair on the left side of your head in a kind of makeshift ponytail and rub the conditioner bar along the ends. Once it feels like there is a silky smooth finish, pop the bar down and rub the excess conditioner from the ends to the rest of your hair. Once I had successfully washed out the product, I was nervous about drying my hair - half expecting a head full of knots or a greasy mess - but my hair looked exactly the same, if not better.
One week and several hair washes later, the bars don't look so pretty anymore but my hair has a noticeable shine to it - something I thought my years as a blonde had banished forever. There's definitely a knack to using shampoo bars and conditioners but the general rule of thumb seems to treat them just as you would a bar of soap - wet, work up the foam, work through the hair and rinse thoroughly.
After two weeks of using the Damage Control shampoo bar and conditioner from Biovène Barcelona, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
I honestly didn’t think they would come close to my regular shampoo and conditioner and that maybe this was the reason we don’t use shampoo bars more widely but after just two weeks, my hair looks and feels exactly as it does when using my usual shampoo and conditioner.
What's more, my hair had found it's natural shine once again which I credit solely to the luxurious combination of top ingredients: natural coconut oil, macadamia oil, keratin, beeswax and shea butter.
My only complaint, however, was that due to the high concentration of cleanser in bar shampoos, they tend to have more a waxy consistency, which can build up in your hair.
There were often times where I'd go to dry my hair only to find a build-up of product and had to rinse it out all over again. It's also worth noting that shampoo bars, in general, aren't the best when contending with days of greasy build-up. T
he bars cut through daily grime perfectly so if you're a ‘dry shampoo 6 days a week’ kind of girl, they don't offer the deep cleanse your hair really needs.
Will it replace my trusty plastic bottle shampoo and conditioners routine? Without a doubt.
First off, they're a third of the price I pay for my regular shampoo; one bar can last as long as one and a half bottles of liquid shampoo; my hair was noticeably shinier and shower time had gone back to a guilt-free zone.
Main image by @stormibree