Review of Ethique Shampoo Bar

Posted by Daniel Cain on

Cut out another source of plastic in your house with this high quality shampoo bar from New Zealand.

I have been using Ethique’s shampoo and conditioner bar for a few months now and I have seen the light! I am a full convert to this zero waste life hack. I will never buy my shampoo or conditioner in a plastic bottle again.

For convenience, here is Recycled and Renewed’s (R&R) busy-person summary, Ethique’s shampoo bar is:

  1. High-quality and cost effective
  2. Superior in terms of environmental sustainability as compared to its landfill clogging, greenhouse gas producing, water-wasting liquid alternative
  3. Produced by an eco-friendly, woman-owned small business that “walks the walk” in terms of ethical and environmental practices.

When I first stumbled across this product my first question was, what is a shampoo bar? Well, glad you asked Dan.  It is a concentrated block of shampoo, equivalent to 3 bottles of liquid shampoo.  It works more or less like regular shampoo, with a slight twist on how to apply it to your head. Ethique’s shampoo bars are also 100% natural and vegan.

How do you use a shampoo bar?  Simple, the bar fits in the palm of your hand, just get it wet, like by cupping your hands to pool some water.  Next simply run it over your hair a few times. Put the bar down and rub your hair to foam it all up. I was pleasantly surprised how easily it foams up.  You get a very full head of foamy, hair cleansing bubbles in seconds. It is basically the same experience as as liquid shampoo, minus the plastic waste of course.

Another nice surprise - I have been using the product for months and it has barely shrank in size.  I feel like this bar is going to last half the year. Ethique’s shampoo and conditioner bars definitely fall within the Golden Triangle of Goodness - the trifecta of financially prudent, environmentally sustainable, and healthy life choice.  

On the financial side of the Golden Triangle, it is deceivingly affordable.  The shampoo bar has the equivalent of 3 bottles of liquid shampoo and is very competitive on cost with even the most basic shampoo.  

I’d say it is a money-saver when compared to higher quality shampoos.  I don’t think you can get 3 bottles of herbal or vegan shampoo with the same attention to ingredients and quality for the same price.  The version I have, which helps with a dry scalp, is chock full of Kiwifruit Oil, Coconut Oil, Neem Oil, Oats, Calendula and Manuka Oil...smells great too!  They have bunch of different offerings though.

Ethique’s bars come in a small cardboard box that can be tossed in the compost, or recycled if you have not embraced the astounding efficiency and the amazing waste-cutting power of composting (read about how composting changed my life and you might get on board).  Even if the quality of this product was average, which it isn’t, making the switch would significantly cut your household’s plastic waste.  Ethique estimates that 1 million plastic bottles have been diverted from the landfill already, crushing their goal to reach that number by 2020.

You know we love recycled products here at R&R.  I traded some emails with the Ethique folks to inquire about whether they considered using recycled cardboard packaging.  They gave a very thoughtful answer.

The short version is they found that using it was a toss-up in terms of environmental impact if they sourced the paper from sustainably managed forests.  As well as use eco-friendly materials such as soy ink and clay coating.  Their answer suggests the company takes their impact to the environment very seriously.

In fact, Ethique points out how transformative switching to shampoo and conditioner in bar form can be.  Besides ridding your house of another source of plastic, it has many other benefits.  Ethique's products are completely vegan, which is good for our little furry friends. Also, it avoids animal-based agriculture, which is a big source of climate-changing gases.

In addition, as alluded to above, the average shampoo or body wash is up to 80% water (shocking, right?).  Therefore, using shampoo in bar form saves water.

Ethique seems to walk the walk in other ways too.  I don't think there is any greenwashing going on here.  They are a carbon neutral company since they offset their carbon emissions.  They are also working towards becoming a zero waste office, recycling or composting all their office waste.  They also give generously to charity, with 20% of profits going to various charitable groups.

In closing, this is a great option for those of you who want to do their part to help the Earth and all its inhabitants, and look good and smell like a kiwi while doing it (that turns out to be a good thing).  Ethique definitely gets the R&R stamp of approval.

Have you tried it out?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

P.S. - Shampoo and conditioner bars are also super convenient and TSA-friendly for traveling.  You can put them in your carry-on bags without worrying about liquids in the security line and also no risk of spillage on your clothes.


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