I tried out solid shampoo for a week and this is what happened

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At the beginning of the year, and after binge-watching several David Attenborough docs – I made a new year’s resolution to myself to be more eco-friendly and lead a more sustainable life. I’ve ditched single-use coffee cups in favour of a super cute reusable one and swapped my toothbrush for a compostable bamboo one as well as loads of other changes, so the next logical step was ditching the plastic bottles from my bathroom, starting with shampoo and conditioner. Just think of the turtles *sobs*.

Lush is at the forefront of producing eco-friendly beauty; not only are all of their products cruelty-free but they have a huge (and still growing) selection of “naked” packaging-free products. So naturally, I volunteered to test out their iconic shampoo and conditioner bars to see if they’re actually any different from their packaged counterparts, and to see if I could ditch the plastic for good. Here’s what I thought…

What is solid shampoo?

As the name suggests, solid shampoo is just like regular liquid shampoo but in a solid form – like a bar of soap. Solid shampoo and conditioner are a great alternative to liquid – you get the same great hair benefits just without the need for packaging.

Why use solid over bottled shampoo?

Aside from the obvious space-saving bonus of a compact bar rather than a hefty bottle, going packaging-free has a whole host of environmental benefits. According to Lush, we still throw away over 552 million empty shampoo bottles every year, most of which ends up in landfills or the ocean and takes hundreds, if not thousands, of years to biodegrade. It’s estimated by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, which is a terrifying prospect.

Lush’s highly-concentrated bars do the job of three 250g bottles of liquid shampoo and each one can last between 80-100 washes, which works out to be less than 8p per wash. Plus, Lush say that around 40-50% of the cost of a product goes into packaging, so by eliminating that you’re getting way more for your money; so they’re good for your budget and the environment.

How do you use solid shampoo and conditioner?

To use a solid shampoo bar simply wet your hair as normal and either stroke the bar over your hair a few times or rub between your hands to lather up, massage the suds into your hair and rinse away. Easy peasy. The conditioner can be slightly harder to get used to as it doesn’t lather like shampoo, either rub between your hands a few times to melt the product a bit or rub directly onto hair. Once you’re finished make sure not to leave the bars anywhere wet as they will start to dissolve.

The products

Seanik Shampoo Bar, £7.50

lush seanik shampoo bar

Infused with seaweed, sea salt, lemon oil and scents of mimosa, jasmine and orange, this shampoo bar claims to add shine and volume while softening hair all at the same time.

Sugar Daddy-O Conditioner, £6.95

lush sugar daddy o conditioner bar

This solid conditioner claims to nourish and soften as well as reduce brassy tones in blonde hair. It’s infused with linseed, argan oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, olive oil and the scent of violet leaf, rose and bergamot.

The review

lush shampoo bar review
Image: Lush

Having actively avoided Lush for most of my life, I was pretty sceptical at the prospect of testing out these products. But I was curious to see if they’d do as good a job as my usual shampoo and conditioner combo and I’m also trying to be more environmentally friendly, so Lush seemed like a good place to start.

I usually wash my hair every 2-3 days so a shampoo that combats grease is something I usually look for. I also have highlighted hair so a nourishing conditioner to stop my hair breaking is important to me.

On first impressions, I really liked the smell of both products, especially the Seanik shampoo bar. Following the instructions, I rubbed the shampoo bar between my hands and was pleasantly surprised by how well it lathered up – a little goes a long way – after rinsing, my hair felt squeaky clean and smelling great. 10/10, I would definitely buy it again and try out some of the other bars from the range. The only downside I found was that it’s pretty messy to store, Lush sell tins to store them in but I found a soap dish worked just as well.

As for the conditioner, I found this much harder to get along with as it doesn’t lather and I found it quite hard to get enough product in my hands to transfer to my hair; I also tried rubbing it directly onto my hair but couldn’t get along with this method either. I did really like the smell of the Sugar Daddy-O conditioner bar, but I have to say after a few uses I didn’t notice any real difference in brassy tones of my hair so I think I’ll stick to my regular purple shampoo instead. I’m not sure I’d buy this again just because I found it really hard to use, but I’m open to trying other solid conditioners to find the right one for me.

Image: Instagram @lushcosmetics