Thursday, March 31, 2011

Plastic-Free Shampoo

Awhile ago, in an effort to eliminate another plastic packaged product, I attempted to use a shampoo bar in lieu of a liquid shampoo.  I tried for a month, to no avail... my normally silky smooth and shiny hair turned lackluster and felt... ummm... yuck.  So I switched back to my liquid shampoo and put off the idea of using a shampoo bar. Then, while visiting my friend Sara in October, she mentioned Lush shampoo bars... but mentioned something about them having a strong smell.  With Sara's comment in the back of my head, I went excitedly to Lush's website... picked out bar that I thought would have a least strong smell....almost hit the order tab... but reminded myself that just because it's not packaged in plastic doesn't mean that I shouldn't read the ingredient list.  And when I did....I paused....

While visiting Sara, we watched the film "Bag It"... so I quickly remembered how phthalates are often hidden in fragrance.  (and all of Lush's shampoo bars contain fragrance!!  boo!!)  So I decided to do what I always do when purchasing a new body product... I searched shampoo bars on the Environmental Working Group's "Cosmetics Database."  After much research and hesitation... I came across Chagrin Valley and got SUPER excited....researched some more and then placed my order!!!!
The reason I decided to order from Chagrin Valley was because of the low hazard scores on EWG's database .... I felt like if I was going to make the switch to a shampoo bar that I didn't want to sacrifice a a high-quality environmentally conscious product just to ditch the plastic.  They also have a really great faq section about shampoo bars AND I really love their "About Us" page which includes this:

"We do NOT use artificial preservatives, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, petroleum products, foam boosters, animal fats, or detergents.   Our products are never tested on animals, other than our very enthusiastic human volunteers!"

My first order, I chose to order sample bars.... with extra instructions to include "no plastic" in my order because I was switching to shampoo bars to avoid plastic.... and they listened!!!  

Since October, our whole family-- yes even our kids!!-- have been using a shampoo bar in lieu of liquid shampoo!!  And I would NEVER go back to liquid shampoo for so many reasons that go beyond packaging.
My hair feels amazing!!  It actually has body (something liquid shampoos stripped my hair of)...

Shampoo bars are so much easier to travel with.  Since it's not liquid... it doesn't have to be put in a plastic bag (double win!) and I never have to worry about it leaking (or spilling).  Tip: I keep the paper bag that the shampoo bar comes in and use it while traveling.... but when the bar is still damp, I just wrap it in a handkerchief  :D

BUT... one of my favorite things about using a shampoo bar over liquid is that my kids can't pour too much on their hands (or the floor) and waste it ;)

Oh of today, I'm on a week of using no conditioner!!  Seriously!!  And my hair isn't a tangled mess ;) want some good news?!  (I knew you would!)  Chagrin Valley Soaps are offering a 20% discount for my readers (that's you)!!  YAY!!  Here's how:

Go to  Browse, read, play, and make a purchase on the site.  On the final page of the check-out, there is a 'COMMENT BOX'.  If you write the code: 'IT STARTS WITH ME' in the box, you will have a 20% discount** on your order!  You will initially be charged the full amount, and within 24 hours, a 20% discount will be refunded right back to you as a thank you for trying Chagrin Valley Soap's all natural handmade products.  ENJOY!! :D
**20% discount is valid for "first time orders/new customers" and expires on April 30, 2011**


  1. Thanks for the post, Danielle. I didn't know shampoo bars existed, but I plan to give them a try. What a great idea!

    Does a typical bar last as long as a bottle of liquid shampoo?

  2. See Vermont newspaper *(Burlington Free Press) article about sample testing of some Vermonters for chemicals in their bodies.

  3. Cut exposure to BPA by eating fresh foods - read more at

  4. @Brian

    I don't know how to compare it to liquid because my husband had his own, my kids used to have their own and from time to time they would use mine!!! ;) BUT... We've been using the same "whole" bar since January for our entire family of 5 and the bar probably has about a week to two weeks left. Hmm...


    Thanks for the links :)

  5. You just answered a prayer. I am NOT kidding. My son (autistic) keeps dumping out shampoo & it's getting costly because they're organic, etc...LOVE this!!!

  6. YAY!!! So glad I could help!! If you decide to order from them... tell them where you heard about them. I talked to them last week... super nice people :)

  7. Hey! Going to add an update to the blogpost... but want to make sure that everyone that commented knows :)

    I just received a message from Chagrin Valley. They're offering 20% off. Here's how:

    "Go to Browse, read, play and make a purchase on the site. On the final page of check-out, there is a 'COMMENT BOX'. If you write the code: 'IT STARTS WITH ME' in the box,
    you will have a 20% discount on your order! You will be initially charged the full amount, and within 24 hours, a 20% discount will be refunded right back to you as a thank you for trying Chagrin Valley
    Soap's all natural handmade products. ENJOY!"

  8. I've actually had great luck washing with a weak baking soda solution, and then doing a rinse with citric acid (most people use vinegar, but I don't like the smell).

    From what I understand (which isn't a lot, mind you) the baking soda (which is alkaline - think lye in the soap making process) mixes with the oils in your scalp to form a mild soap. The acidic rinse helps the soap to rinse clean, which is especially necessary if you have hard water.

    OK... so my point was (you knew there was a point, didn't you?) If you're having trouble with any soap product (most shampoo bars are technically soap) that doesn't seem to rinse clean and leaves any sort of build up on your hair, you might want to try doing some sort of acidic rinse, either with vinegar, citric acid, or lemon juice.

  9. I love, love, love Chagrin valley. Our whole family has now converted too. My hair is so soft and shiny now, and no plastic! I feel much better using it on my children...we've been branching out to their soap now too. I also have their body lotion bar that is amazing. We have been using them for a few months now and I won't go back to anything else.

  10. I'll try it! I'm switching to bar shampoo, but so far have bought two bars that didn't work out at all...I was thinking of trying Lush even though normally I can't go near their shop because of the smells, but now you've saved me the trouble!
    BTW, When they sent it to you, was it plastic-free packaging (one problem, often, with mail-order and internet shopping...)?

    I'm so glad to see another family of five on the plastic-free path! My sister-in-law and I launched our two families (total of 4 adults, 5 kids) started a "plastic challenge" almost exactly at the same time you were doing your week!

  11. @

    When I placed my order through Chagrin Valley, I made sure to put a note in the comments section that I did not want any plastic because one of my reasons for switching to a shampoo bar was to eliminate a plastic product. I was extremely happy when my package arrived plastic-free!! YAY! Also, my friend just ordered from them and said their customer service was SO helpful!!

    AND... I'm so happy to hear that another family of 5 is on the plastic-free path!! I'm going to head over to your blog... we need to connect :)

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