Along with many of you, I'm trying to cut back my single-use plastic consumption. I know that recycling never was and never will be a sustainable solution (although manufacturers do their darnedest to convince us otherwise). Ideally, recycling should be a last resort: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. There's a reason it comes last.
So last year when I noticed shampoo bars taking over my Instagram ads, I made a mental note. They were plastic free, zero waste, and vegan. I was definitely interested! But to be honest, I thought they'd work about as well as the mini shampoo bottles you'd find in second-rate motel chain, so I didn't pursue it.
But then my mom gifted me a pack of Vunella Naturals shampoo and conditioner bars. It was time to give it a whirl!
A bar of soap for your hair? It's not as weird as it sounds
Shampoo bars are pretty much what they sound like: shampoo and conditioner products concentrated into a solid bar, just like a bar of soap.
You can apply the bar directly onto wet hair, or lather in your palms first. I prefer the direct application. It only takes a few quick passes before the shampoo bar creates a foamy lather in your hair. The texture of the lather is subtly different than with traditional shampoo, but nevertheless it gives you the reassuring feel that it's working.
With the conditioner bar, not so much. That thick, satin-like coating I've come to associate with conditioner is barely there, and I need to apply a lot more of the conditioner than the shampoo to get desired results. (Unfortunately, their conditioner bars are nearly 40% smaller than the shampoo, although they promote it and charge as if they were the same size. A little shifty, right? Vunella's reps thanked me for pointing that out to them, and assured me it would be passed on to the owners.)
But it does work pretty well. I was surprised at how easily I was able to comb through my hair, despite not having that sleek post-rinse feeling I'm used to. And there's no weird residue after rinsing.
After just a few days of use, I was more than ready to say goodbye to my shampoo bottles! I went online to snoop their other scents, but I thought the list price of $22.96 -per bar!- was pretty damn high. Apparently the company agrees; they have a nearly perpetual sale running for 50 to 70% off.
I find high markups and constant sales to be a sketchy sales tactic, but I like this product so I reordered. My hair is about shoulder-length and the shampoo bar is on schedule to last me about two to three months, while the conditioner will probably last just over a month.
The final verdict
Definitely give shampoo bars a chance, even if you go with a different company. I wouldn't call Vunella Naturals a luxury hair product, so depending on your individual hair needs, it may or may not be enough for you. But I'll bet it works better than you expect it to!
So give it a try, then stock up when it's on sale. After all, it's vegan, cruelty-free, natural and zero-waste?! Now that's a beauty product.