Beauty Bar

Your body beau­ti­ful rou­tine laid bare, with­out the plas­tic pack­ag­ing.

Good - - BEAUTY - Words Carolyn Ent­ing

Why pack­age-free solid beauty prod­ucts are the next big thing

As any­one who’s at­tempted Plas­tic Free July knows, avoid­ing sin­gle-use plas­tic is tricky. It’s also con­fronting when you count the con­tain­ers in your bath­room – sham­poo, con­di­tioner, liq­uid soap, body lo­tion, not to men­tion tubes of hand cream, lip balm and cos­met­ics.

Glob­ally, around one mil­lion plas­tic bot­tles are pur­chased per minute. Yet alarm­ingly, only around 12 per cent of plas­tic is re­cy­cled around the world, with most of it head­ing to land­fill or our oceans. The beauty in­dus­try is one of the worst of­fend­ers.

The pack­ag­ing cri­sis is reach­ing a tip­ping point. It’s a sig­nal for the beauty in­dus­try, and con­sumers, to grow up and move on to solids, which are set to be the next big dis­rup­tor. They may well leave con­ven­tional prod­ucts sit­ting on the rank as ‘solid’ al­ter­na­tives take off just like Uber did.

Clean­ing up our act

Beauty gi­ant L’Oréal has pledged that by 2020, 100 per cent of its prod­ucts will have im­proved their en­vi­ron­men­tal or so­cial pro­file. This in­cludes im­prov­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­file of its pack­ag­ing.

In the mean­time, the hum­ble bar of soap is hav­ing a come­back after be­ing shunned for the past cou­ple of decades in favour of bot­tled liq­uid for­mu­las that are not quite as messy. Mod­ern life loves con­ve­nience but it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing be­fore soap went soft, it was hard. A work col­league in her 60s proudly told me re­cently that dur­ing her younger in­trepid trav­eller days she car­ried a bar of Sun­light soap which she used to clean her face, body, hair and clothes. And with com­pa­nies like Ethique now pro­duc­ing solid sham­poo, we have gone full cir­cle.

Founded in 2012 by Cantabrian sci­en­tist Bri­anne West, Ethique has taken the lead by for­mu­lat­ing a range of solid beauty prod­ucts that don’t re­quire wa­ter, thus elim­i­nat­ing the need for a ves­sel. West’s vi­sion is a plas­tic-free planet. To date, Ethique has elim­i­nated more than 500,000 plas­tic bot­tles and in

2016 West was named one of the 100 Lead­ing Global Thinkers by US For­eign Pol­icy.

“It’s one thing for con­sumers to make a choice about pur­chas­ing eth­i­cally and sus­tain­ably but I be­lieve that busi­nesses should be re­spon­si­ble for the en­tire life­cy­cle of their prod­uct – in­clud­ing the pack­ag­ing,” says West. “You can’t con­tinue to profit off a prod­uct that has a detri­men­tal ef­fect on the planet or the peo­ple who make it. We have to stop trans­fer­ring re­spon­si­bil­ity for sav­ing our en­vi­ron­ment to con­sumers. Busi­nesses need to lead the way.”

Each solid bar of sham­poo, con­di­tioner or other prod­uct can save about a litre of wa­ter as well as the plas­tic bot­tle, and can last three times longer than the con­ven­tional prod­uct. “Ri­val beauty prod­ucts in the sham­poo and con­di­tioner cat­e­gory can con­tain as much as 90 per cent ‘aqua’ so nat­u­rally they need a con­tainer to hold all that ex­ces­sive liq­uid,” says West.

Also lead­ing the way is fresh hand­made cos­metic com­pany LUSH, best known for its bath bombs in­fused with essen­tial oils. The com­pany also sells solid mas­sage bars, per­fumes, soap, re­us­able bub­ble bars and sham­poos and its re­cent lim­ited edi­tion SOS sham­poo bar raised $163,314 for con­ser­va­tion char­ity Su­ma­tran Orangutan So­ci­ety.

Sav­ing orangutans and re­duc­ing plas­tic waste is im­por­tant, but do solid prod­ucts per­form as well? Es­pe­cially if you have long, curly frizz-bomb hair?

Ethique have it cov­ered with Guardian, a solid con­di­tioner that con­tains lots of co­coa but­ter, co­conut oil, vi­ta­min B5 and zesty lime oil to tame frizz and hy­drate dry hair. Ethique’s Won­der­bar is for nor­mal to oily hair and dou­bles as a shav­ing bar.

Small-batch pro­ducer An­gela Brock­well of Fra­bella hand­crafts her soaps us­ing the cold-process method to pre­serve the in­gre­di­ents. Each bar con­tains at least 30 per cent pure raw goat’s milk, fresh from Brock­well’s Takapu Val­ley farm near Welling­ton, com­bined with olive oil, Samoan co­conut oil and sun­flower oil.

“One of the ben­e­fits of cold-pressed tech­niques is that the soap melts onto the skin, al­most like a lo­tion, so you can use it to shave with, or as a sham­poo or face wash,” says Brock­well.

Ecobe­ings’ triple milled Eco-Castile Laven­der & Rose­mary Sham­poo bar is mois­tur­is­ing, en­riched with ar­gan oil and suit­able for most hair types. Ecobe­ings founder Belinda Robin­son has long curly hair that has only been washed with soap for five years.

“Our prod­ucts are ‘true soaps’ not cleans­ing bars. It can take up to 10-14 washes to re­move all the sil­i­cone build-up from syn­thetic sham­poos. Once this is done you will no longer need a con­di­tioner,” says Robin­son. “My hair has never been softer. Stick with it and you won’t re­gret how easy it can be.”

Prior to mov­ing to New Zealand in 2000 Robin­son spent 25 years hair­dress­ing and man­ag­ing sa­lons in Lon­don. She was asked to make a soap that would be gen­tle for some­one with skin con­di­tions. “They did not want me to heal them, just give them the abil­ity to shower with­out their skin sting­ing,” says Robin­son. “This jour­ney led me to re­dis­cover the ben­e­fits of soap and the green­wash­ing around soap-free prod­ucts. Cre­at­ing the sham­poo bar has taken the longest time ... cre­at­ing this in a nat­u­ral prod­uct after so many years with syn­thet­ics was chal­leng­ing.”

Robin­son is trans­par­ent about the in­gre­di­ents she uses for Ecobe­ings prod­ucts, and why. “My first stip­u­la­tion for any for­mu­la­tion is no palm oil. I vis­ited Bor­neo in 1994 and since then 80 per cent of the rain forests have been de­stroyed for palm plan­ta­tions,” she says. “Se­condly I want nat­u­ral and true in­gre­di­ents. All our prod­ucts are ve­gan. We have re­moved the Te­tra­sodium EDTA (an en­docrine dis­rupter) and swapped it for safe al­ter­na­tives. We only fra­grance with essen­tial oils and pure vanilla. All our hair prod­ucts have or­ganic ar­gan oil in them. Ar­gan is the clos­est oil to se­bum and is great for the hair

and scalp.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.