(Blog post updated in July 2022)
Are you thinking about decluttering the plastic bottles in your shower or kitchen cabinet? Are you a plastic-free veteran who’s struggling to nail down plastic-free pet-care or dental care? Planning a trip and frustrated about TSA’s 3-oz limit on liquids?
I’m here today to talk about my love of solid products and bars and tell you about the crazy plastic-free options that are out there (and why they’re great!).
First of all, what am I talking about when I talk about “solid products”? Think about all the liquids you might be using in your house; in the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room, our spaces are full of detergents and soaps for every purpose imaginable. Liquid products, usually packaged in plastic and sometimes full of harmful chemicals, have become the norm, but back in the day most of these products used to only come in solid form (liquid shampoo was only invented in 1927!). Now, it’s not just the ever-so-popular shampoo bars that are coming back into solid style-- you can get everything from tabs of toothpaste, toilet cleaning bombs, blocks of dishwashing soap, even coat-specific dog shampoo, in a solid form.
While it’s still totally doable to buy refills of these products in a liquid form, here are some of our favorite things about solid products:
Some bars do come in packaging, but many (like our soap from Sappo Hill based in Ashland, Oregon) are plastic package free from start to finish. Even though unpackaged or “naked” soaps are pretty easy to find at markets or health food stores, don’t stress if that’s not accessible to you-- it’s still better to get a bar that’s local & packaged in compostable paper than going for a plastic bottle. Once you’ve used up your soap, it’s all gone and you have nothing to send to landfill or recycling, unlike your drugstore hair care.
Travel Friendly!I used to dread packing for vacations and having to ration out my travel-sized plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner-- as a girl with thick, dandruff-prone hair, I need a lot of product. Since switching to shampoo bars and face soap bars, I’ve saved myself so much trouble (and trash) because I don’t need to check my liquids-- bars are always TSA friendly, and a small bar can last you a while. (P.S. Planning a trip? Keep an eye out for a post about traveling sustainably coming soon!)
Space Saver!When you buy in bar form, the products are more concentrated and you’re not wasting your money by basically diluting it with water. This means it lasts longer, takes up less space, and gives you more bang for your buck! Not only will this save space in your suitcase and shower, it saves space when it’s being shipped, which lowers its carbon footprint-- a win for you and for the environment.
Multipurpose!When I go to the drugstore, it feels like I’m being sold a different product for every single part of my body- face wash, body wash, hand soap, the list goes on and on. Coupled with the problem of the "pink tax," it feels like we’re spending so much extra money to buy lots of bottles that just do the same job. Enter... bars! Once you find a bar that you love with safe ingredients, you can keep and use it for your face, your hair, your body, shaving, your kids-- and it’s bound to last for a while.
So many options!That being said, if you’re into your self-care routine and love to stay stocked with your luxurious shaving lather, your specific acne-targeting face soap, a kid safe body soap, and even a natural dog shampoo: yep, there’s a bar for that! Don’t be afraid to shop around a bit for the option that’s best for you-- I had to try out 3 or 4 shampoo bars before I found one that left me dandruff- and frizz-free. Just because you’re going plastic free doesn’t mean you can’t pamper yourself :)
Anything else?We know there’s a ton of other fun solid products out there that we haven’t heard of yet, and we’re excited to find more- let us know in the comments your favorites!