I’m making a safe bet that this is the year sustainability becomes a top priority for beauty businesses. From recyclable packaging to biodegradable formulas, beauty brands are accelerating their plans to clean up their product offering and make sustainable beauty standard practice rather than a customer choice. Niche brands have been doing this for some time, for many it is embedded in their DNA and touches everything they do, as discussed in my blog post Sustainable Packaging: is the beauty world cottoning on. One of the most planet-friendly formats you could choose is probably the humble bar soap: long-lasting, preservative-free, light on packaging and carbon footprint-friendly (compact to transport), the solid soap is the perfect sustainable choice for your bathroom. And with all the options now available on the market, you don’t have to choose between style and substance. Every part of the body is catered for, from hair to face, hands and body. Now you just need to find the perfect soap dish.
I was really looking forward to trying my first shampoo bar, so when I read about this new brand launching in Holland and Barrett I jumped at the chance to try out the Citrus Leaf option for frequent use. The PR package was beautifully presented: nestled in a bed of unbleached paper shredding, placed on a lovely wooden soap dish (which now takes pride of place on my bath shelf) and tied with leaf-decorated string (which I re-used to tie around a gift), who says solid bars can’t be attractive? Before reading up on this product I didn’t realise that soap typically has a pH of 8 to 9, much higher than the skin’s pH of 5 to 6, which is why it can dry out skin. And although the skin’s natural oil can quickly rebalance the pH, it takes longer to spread over hair. So this shampoo bar has a pH of 5 to 6, same as your skin and hair, ensuring it doesn’t dry out hair. Liquid shampoos typically feature water as the first ingredient (Tabitha James Kraan’s organic shampoo is the first I’ve come across that doesn’t follow this rule), but the first ingredient listed in Earth Kind’s vegan formulation is Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate. Derived from coconut oil, it creates a velvety lather without dehydrating skin. The round, palm-sized bar is easy to handle under the shower and effectively cleanses my hair with no feeling of dryness. My scalp is decidedly less irritated than when I use standard drugstore shampoos, and I don’t need to wash my hair any more frequently than usual. Encased in a cardboard box, this plastic-free product is a no-brainer swap. 50g RRP £6.95
Since discovering this soap bar in Leo’s beauty subscription box I can’t stop singing this product’s praises: recyclable packaging, unisex, made using 100% renewable energy, natural, multi-purpose, cruelty-free and palm oil-free, it’s as practical as it is virtuous. I use it to wash my body but my son has adopted it as his go-to soap to wash his hands. It’s fast becoming a family bathroom staple. 100g RRP £5.00
Another beauty box discovery, this time thanks to The Natural Beauty Box, this facial mud bar leaves skin feeling refreshed and cleansed. Although calling it a ‘facial mud bar’ makes it sound deeply unattractive, it actually looks quite pretty if you ignore the, well, mud colour, with its delicate dried blue and yellow flower petals on top. Encased in an aluminium tin with a vegetable ink printed recycled paper label, the packaging is recyclable although I would encourage re-purposing it as a candle holder. 120g RRP £15.00
Pleat wrapped soaps like this rose-scented one from The Merchant of Venice inevitably remind me of my grandmother and the luxury hotel soaps I used to develop in a previous job. I think this type of packaging is increasingly falling out of fashion, but for heritage brands it still prevails – and soaps for the more classic hotels. Presented in the brand’s signature red and gold box, the three 100g soaps will last you a fair bit longer than the liquid version. Perfect for washing hands, this delicate rose soap can form the basis of scent layering with The Merchant of Venice’s Rosa Moceniga eau de parfum. Simply wash with the soap, apply the matching body lotion then spritz with the fragrance for a longer lasting rose scent. 3x 100g RRP £20.00
Okay so this isn’t technically a bar soap but it is in a solid format where typically you would find liquid options. When I first reviewed this deodorant I was pleasantly surprised by its performance. Deodorants only mask sweat with scent whereas I’d been used to applying antiperspirant, which prevents sweat. This botanical cream to powder deodorant contains kaolin clay to absorb perspiration, shea butter to moisturise and tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties. When I used it during my summer holidays in Tunisia I loved it, with its sweet citrus scent of mandarin, grapefruit and sweet orange. But using it again in the winter, back in England, it didn’t seem to deliver the same result. From manically rushing to drop off my child at nursery to fighting my way onto a crowded tube and running to catch the commuter train, by the time I got to the office I was conscious that my shower-fresh start to the day was long gone, and wished I had a baby wipe in my handbag to freshen up. I know I can’t expect antiperspirant results from a deodorant, so for now I’ll be keeping this product for chilled out days only, and once I’ve finished it, the amber glass pot can be used to store buttons. 50g RRP £18.00
Have you swapped any of your liquid cleansers for soap bars recently? Please leave a comment below to let me know.
Features gifted product