Updated: Mar 17
As a self-proclaimed lover of travel, I am constantly evaluating how my actions and decisions in tourism (and life!) impacts the very same Earth that I am so avid about discovering. I’ll admit that it’s pretty hypocritical of me to say that I love exploring nature and wildlife when I am contributing to reasons why they are quickly diminishing before our eyes. It’s about time I started returning the favour and doing more for our environment. Being aware that I am far from perfect when it comes to the size of my ecological footprint, I know that it means I have tons of room for improvement. This involves becoming more conscious of the things that I buy, what I throw away and actions I can take in advocating for change.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always had some concern for the environment; I would never litter and usually went out of my way to recycle. I’ve switched to reusable water bottles instead of single-use plastics both in the household and while traveling. I also bring reusable grocery bags on every visit to the market to reduce the number of plastic bags I utilize. While it’s a great start, I realize I could be doing a lot more. What really changed my outlook and kick-started this movement into high gear happened on a recent trip to Bali.
Our local driver recommended a day trip up to Lovina for sunrise dolphin watching on a jukung (wooden fishing boat). We loved the idea of being at sea surrounded by the ocean’s most playful creatures, so we happily agreed. A 3 a.m. wake-up call and two and a half hours on the road later, we were at the water’s edge getting on board a small motorized canoe in the dark. With the sun’s rays peeking over the horizon, we began our search for the beloved dolphins.
As the sky grew brighter, I quickly realized we were not the only boat on the water but one among almost 50 others all rushing towards the common goal of catching a glimpse of the swimming mammals. It was disheartening as I look back and realize how upsetting it must have been for the dolphins trying to come up for air while being bombarded by boats coming from all directions and being chased along its path. At the same time, with the sun climbing its way up, it brought to light (literally) the insane amount of plastic pollution floating in the waters that these dolphins and tons of other animals call home. It wasn’t just the odd plastic bottle drifting by but plastic bags full of garbage and huge chunks of debris that floated on as we made our way back to shore. It was then that I witnessed first-hand the extent of our disregard for the environment and its impact to the nature around us.
And so I made a silent vow that I would be more conscious of my decisions and take steps in the right direction of preserving our planet. I thought I’d start out small in the things that I could change and work my way up. I began by looking at items that I use daily and how I could minimize the amount of plastic waste they produce; my hair care products would be the first small task to confront. I have contemplated using shampoo bars for a while – mainly because they’re highly recommended for travel due to their lightweight (and the fact that they’re not liquid) but also because you save on the plastic packaging – another huge plus in the no-waste department. Thus, I decided to give it a shot and not only to use it on my travels going forward but also on the regular.
Lo and behold I started out with the LUSH shampoo bar as my first experience after many endorsements from friends. I loved the smell of the Godiva bar (the jasmine oil is strong enough that you can smell it walking in from the hallway) and being vegan and cruelty-free, it was a no-brainer. Below I will highlight my experience having used this product for the last two weeks and my overall thoughts on the bar. I should mention that I have very thick, coarse, straight (ish) hair. It often gets frizzy and is more on the dry side. My husband who has agreed, by association, to join me in this endeavor has fine but also very voluminous hair and gets oily quite quickly after a day.
My Experience with the LUSH Godiva Shampoo Bar
SCENT There is no doubt that the smell is phenomenal (if you’re a fan of jasmine); it’s reminiscent of my grandmother’s home, in a nostalgic way, not in a musky old-person way. I’m reminded of childhood visits and family meals together, playing in the sun and all the warm fuzzies. As fragrant as the bar is, once washed from my hair the scent isn’t as strong as I thought it would be. The density of the lather from the shampoo bar is also not as foamy as liquid shampoo I found. The little poufs of white bubble clouds that you sometimes get from lathering liquid shampoo does not happen with the bar; not a deal breaker but something worth mentioning.
FEEL There is a sort of grittiness in my hair after rinsing, which I found interesting as the Godiva bar is supposed to be a shampoo AND conditioner. It’s the same kind of feeling I get when I use free low-quality shampoos from a hotel, it feels like it really strips the moisture from your hair. I’m used to the silky-smooth feeling you get after washing off conditioner and I definitely do not get that with the bar. In fact, I ended up using my regular conditioner afterwards (my conditioner bottle is still half full after finishing my bottled shampoo, go figure). As far as the 2-in-1 Godiva bar goes, I probably wouldn’t use it as a stand-alone product. I know there are conditioner bars available at LUSH so I might give it a try after this.
EFFECT Within the first week of my transition I was getting big flakes of dandruff. To be fair, I did also use a ton of hairspray that weekend for a wedding I attended (typically I use hairspray maybe once every 3 months) so that may have been a contributing factor. My significant other also had the same issue. In fact, it was him that noticed the initial dandruff on himself first. I wasn’t too alarmed as it’s not the first time this has happened when switching to a new shampoo, so I was hoping it was all a coincidence. Now at the end of my second week I can say that the dandruff has drastically reduced but is still present. Perhaps our scalps need more time to adjust? Only time will tell.
LONGEVITY Speaking of time, I wish we had more of it with our shampoo bar to see the long-term results but between the two of us, after two weeks our bar has already crumbled into small pieces! Although it can easily be molded back together when wet, I don’t think it will last another two weeks. My partner uses it daily while I shampoo every other day. My hair is only slightly past my shoulders so I can’t say that we use much of it. We have a rack that hangs off our shower where we store the bar after each use which allows it to dry (as recommended) and do not use the covered tin (which can be bought separately). The product isn’t as long-lasting as I hoped but might have to do some more research to investigate ways of extending the shelf life of our bar.
OVERALL As a whole, my first shampoo bar experience with LUSH has been a learning curve; not as glamorous as I anticipated but also has not discouraged me from the process. I am open to trying other bars to see if the results are different (both from LUSH or otherwise) and maybe find one that I can absolutely fall in love with. Or perhaps come to terms that inevitably, it will not be the same as liquid shampoo but if it does the job then I am happy to move one step closer to a better me… and a better world.
What is your experience with shampoo bars and if you have recommendations for other plastic-free hair care products, I’d love to hear about it! Comment below with your thoughts and suggestions.