When I was growing up, soap and shampoo bars were a must-have at home as they were not only affordable but long-lasting too – in most households at least. However, things have changed over the years, and when big and trusted brands started to go big on advertising campaigns that promoted liquid soaps and shampoos, many jumped on the bandwagon and haven’t looked back since.

Photography: Carol Wd/Pexels

With limited resources back in the day, it came as no surprise that people weren’t exposed to the pros and cons of using liquid soaps and shampoos. However, as things continue to transpire in the 21st century and with more companies becoming increasingly aware of the role that they get to play to protect Mother Earth, soap and shampoo bars have slowly but surely been making a comeback in recent years. To debunk the common myths about shampoo bars – or solid shampoos, as some people like to call them, we’ve got Jolleen Chee, Marketing Manager of Davines, to give us the scoop.

MYTH 1: There’s no way that shampoo bars will save our earth more than liquid shampoos

Photography: Vlada Karpovich/Pexels

If you’re still unable to fathom the rise of this trend, then it’s time to ask yourself: what did you do with that last empty bottle of shampoo? If your answer is “bin it”, here’s the harsh truth about the damage that it’s doing to our planet. In an article by Katy Brennan that was published on NationalGeographic.com in 2019, it was reported that only 14% of global plastic packaging is collected for recycling, out of which only 2% is reused. Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, further explained that about nine million tons of that plastic end up in the ocean every year, and by 2050, there’ll be more plastic by weight than fishes in our oceans! If this doesn’t scare you, we don’t know what will.

As the saying goes, small changes can make a big difference, and to prove that point, we see brands like Lush selling its shampoo bars as “naked products” (without any packaging) and L’Occitane packaging its shampoo bars using 100% recycled paper. As for what Davines has done to play its part in making a difference, Jolleen shares, “Our shampoo bars are packaged using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper that’s harvested in a responsible manner. Shampoo bars use less space when being transported, so we’ve reduced the logistics’ impact too. At the same time, it’s very important for us to ensure the use of natural ingredients (which is consistent with our liquid shampoos in the Essential Haircare range) and biodegradability of our shampoos after use. Our Davines shampoo bars have a 97.4% biodegradability rate, which is slightly higher than our liquid shampoos in the Essential Haircare range. The greenhouse gas emissions generated from the making of the shampoo bars –  everything from the raw materials to production, packaging, transportation and final disposal – has been offset via the EthioTrees reforestation project that we support. FYI, the EthioTrees Ecosystem Restoration Association that’s established in 2016 is a project for environmental rehabilitation in Dogu’a Tembien, Ethiopia.”

MYTH 2: Shampoo bars will not give my hair the same clean effect as liquid shampoos

Photography: L'Occitane & edited by: Fatin Izzatie

It goes without saying that many of us want to feel 100% fresh and clean after every hair wash. A common ingredient found in many shampoos that makes us feel that way is its sulphate content such as Sodium Laureth Sulphate or Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). While the ingredient removes oil and dirt very well, what happens is that at times, it can strip your hair off its natural oils, which can later lead to other problems like a dry scalp. However, shampoo bars are mostly made from natural ingredients that’ll do the job without stripping your hair off its natural oils.

For instance, Davines’ shampoo bars contain active ingredients from Slow Food Presidia (an effort to sustain the quality production of ingredients used that’s safe for the ecosystem) which are obtained from the natural bio-maceration technique of sunflower oil, which is a sustainable alternative to chemical solvents. Likewise, L’Occitane’s shampoo bars are made from 98% biodegradable ingredients that are crafted from five essential oils (cedar, grapefruit, lavender, mint and thyme) which were distilled by the brand’s founder, Olivier Baussan in 1976. The combination of these oils will not only give you the foam that you desire but also remove dirt and excess oil without damaging your hair. Fun fact: All of L’Occitane’s shampoo bars are silicone- and sulphate-free!

MYTH 3: I have thick hair and shampoo bars can’t do the job like liquid shampoos

Photography: Caique Silva/Unsplash

Like all other things, taking the first step is always hard but it gets easier after a while. The trick to making the best out of your shampoo bar is by using the correct method. “Personally, in terms of cleanliness, shampoo bars clean just as well. In fact, many who’ve tried these bars have said that they never thought they’d feel clean nor maintain the moisture in their hair. I feel the same way too! When it comes to making the most out of your shampoo bar, always start by cleaning your scalp first. Lather the shampoo bar and work your way from the root to the scalp, mid-length and tip of your hair. For me, I find it better to section my hair into different parts to ensure that the inside (usually the back of our head that has the most hair) is properly lathered. It definitely takes a bit more time to create the same lather compared to a liquid shampoo but if this little bit of effort helps to save the earth, then why not?” says Jolleen.

MYTH 4: Shampoo bars can’t address different hair concerns the way liquid shampoos can

Photography: Davines & edited by: Fatin Izzatie

If you thought that all shampoo bars are the same, you’ll be in for a treat. A common tagline that the products usually carry is ‘suitable for all hair types’, but that doesn’t mean that there are no options available out there. “The actual meaning of this phrase is that it doesn’t contain any specific ingredient that can potentially create problems if you have weak, bleached or permed hair that may cause them to tangle. This is also why Davines has four types of shampoo bars, namely DEDE for daily use and is the most generic of all, LOVE for coarse or frizzy hair, MOMO for hydration and VOLU for volume,” shares Jolleen.

“Each one is curated using different sets of ingredients from the Slow Food Presidia in Italy to address different concerns. At the moment, Davines doesn’t have different bars to address various scalp concerns such as hair loss and dandruff. But our usual Naturaltech line is made from ingredients that’ll solve these concerns. As for conditioner bars, we don’t have them yet but if you have hair that’s not highly sensitised (bleached, coloured or permed), a conditioner bar may not even be needed after using our shampoo bar. Give it a go!"

Photography: Hai Nguyen/Pexels

Another brand that you can shop from is Lush, which has a variety of shampoo bars that you can mix and match. On its official website, a user shared, “I use Montalbano in combination with Daddy-O shampoo bars as I have blonde highlights and natural light brunette hair colour. It always leaves my hair so fresh, smooth and non-greasy!” While the brand is still working on switching its Sodium Lauryl Sulphate content with Sodium Coco Sulphate, Lush has a variety of vegan-based shampoo and conditioner bars. Instead of lanolin, the brand has opted to use seaweed in its hair care products that has the same softening effect on our hair.

On the other hand, the combination of L’Occitane’s Gentle & Balance Solid Shampoo and Intensive Repair Solid Shampoo helps to repair brittle and damaged hair while keeping your scalp healthy and promoting the growth of healthy hair. Likewise, the shampoo bars from The Hive are curated from Camellia oil that addresses itchy and sensitive scalp concerns. Commonly known as Tea Seed Oil, this ingredient not only softens and tames frizzy hair but also prevents it from breaking and treats the damage done from chemical perms and colouring.

MYTH 5: Shampoo bars are not as long lasting as liquid shampoos

Photography: Lush & edited by: Fatin Izzatie

Well, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out how long shampoo bars can last once you start using them! Unlike liquid shampoos where we tend to go a little overboard every time we squeeze it out of the bottle, shampoo bars give you the advantage of holding back on wastage. For instance, Lush’s Shampoo Bar can last you for up to 80 hair washes (or more, as our editor claims!), while L’Occitane’s is almost equivalent to two bottles of regular shampoo. Like all other products, these shampoo bars have a shelf life as well. “For Davines, it’s over 30 months, which is the same shelf life as other products, but we also have a ‘Period After Opening’ time that’s indicated behind all our products, which is 12 months. Each 100g bar is equivalent to 300ml liquid shampoo and can last for about 30 to 40 washes,” says Jolleen. Whatever it is, at the end of the day, you’d realise how much you’ll be saving on if you do the maths!

To shop Davines’ Solid Shampoo Bars (RM75 each), click here.

Featured image compiled by: Fatin Izzatie

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