zero waste

Ethique hair conditioner bar

I have been using the curly girl method to look after my hair for a while now. In this method, I use only conditioner to clean my scalp. Shampoos are very harsh on my hair, and even those without sulfates leave my hair tangled and dry. So, while I  no longer buy shampoos, I do go through a lot of conditioner and gel which, unfortunately, come in plastic bottles. I have tried using homemade flax seed gel, but I did not find it gave my hair enough hold, and it smelled a little too nutty for my taste. Until I find a better solution, I will continue to use gel in plastic bottles, but I buy litre-sized bottles so that I don’t go through smaller tubes, which do not recycle as well.

I have been looking at various conditioner bars to replace the plastic bottles of conditioner that I use. Conditioner bars are not as easy to find as shampoo bars, at least not in local stores. I’ve explored other options such as Etsy. Unfortunately, a number of conditioner bars I’ve found contain sulfates (Lush, in particular, has sulfates in all its shampoo and conditioner bars) or silicones. Silicones bind to your hair and require shampoo to be removed properly, so they’re not good for me.

I’ve heard a lot of the Ethique products from New Zealand. My concern about these products is that I’m not prepared to have them shipped from New Zealand, as this is hardly carbon friendly. Unfortunately, I can’t find their products in local stores, so I settled on having a conditioner bar shipped from Amazon’s Toronto warehouse. This is hardly ideal, of course, so I will continue to explore more sustainable options.

Having said that, I am very pleased with the Guardian conditioner bar (for normal to dry hair). I have used it on my scalp as a cleanser, and it has worked well. I use it on my hair as a conditioner, by simply rubbing it along wet hair. I use it on dry hair as well by rubbing the bar in wet hands, then running my hands along my dry hair. The bar conditions well, has good slip, and rinses out well. The bar is very small, so I’ll see how long it works; it’s on the steep side at $28 for 16g bar. Mind you, I go through a lot of bottles of conditioner, so the bar may prove to be more cost-effective, and there are no bottles to recycle. The shipping, of course, reduces the low impact of the conditioner bar. Our local zero-waste store has conditioner bars, but I have not found a proper list of ingredients yet, so I will see whether the store owner can provide me with one.

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