February 20

Published by Panetary Health Initiative on

Saying no to plastic shampoo bottles

Despite all the viable alternatives, and my ongoing attempts to minimise single-use plastics, until today I’ve still continued to use shampoo in throw-away plastic bottles.

Mark Twain once said:

“Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed down-stairs one step at a time.”

I observed from the sidelines as ABC Radio Announcer Richard Glover even stopped using shampoo altogether fourteen years ago:

I decided I would make myself a guinea pig. On radio, I idly suggested others may care to join me. In the end, 523 listeners signed up to the deal: we agreed not to use shampoo for six weeks, recording in a dairy the impact on our hair. At the end of the process, we would assess whether our hair was better, worse or the same.

Many quoted the central thesis of the Sydney experiment: shampoo is just a detergent designed to strip the oil from your scalp, which in turn encourages your scalp to pump out more oil to replace what has been lost. Hold off with the detergent and your scalp will find its own natural balance.

In the end, 86 per cent of our fluffy, shiny-haired guinea pigs reported that their hair was either better or the same. (Richard Glover, SMH, Dec. 11, 2017)

I was tempted to join them, but my hair anxiety was simply too great, and I was certain that after 6 weeks of trauma I’d be one of the 14 per cent who wouldn’t be able to claim their hair was better or the same.

Then a dear friend suggested I use shampoo bars, and even gifted me a sample pack, but I couldn’t quite take the step … I think I was still worried about whether I’d get enough ‘volume’, having been brainwashed by years of advertisements (and my hairdresser) flogging the miracle of shampoo.

Today my new action was to finally call it quits with plastic shampoo bottles and move to a conditioning shampoo bar. My delight is beyond description … after all these years of anxiety the shampoo bar is even better than the shampoo I was using. It’s a delightfully scented one that is vegan, palm oil and sulphate free, and claims to provide the same amount of shampoo as 6 bottles in one simple bar! And I was able to ‘LOVE LOCAL’ and buy it just around the corner.

The next step of hair liberation has been taken.

Who knows, with a little bit more coaxing I may give up shampoo altogether … but not just yet.

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5 Comments

Antonia and Cormac · March 17, 2022 at 4:12 pm

I went out and bought the wonderful “Shampoo with a Purpose” (The O.G.) and OMG it was lovely to use – with all those lovely argan, shea and coconut oils. Another high recommendation. And, it was bought locally!!! 🙂

Ian · February 21, 2022 at 9:08 am

This is so anarchic. Don’t you realize that entire industries that shove gunk into bottles (pandering to the manufactured belief that women can’t possibly look good unless they’re saturated with ‘product’) might be sent to the wall?

    Lis Bastian · February 21, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    They’ll have to adapt with a much better business model!

Paula · February 20, 2022 at 11:06 pm

Very good ideas on this blog with nifty solutions to common problems. Keep ’em coming!

    Lis Bastian · February 21, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Thank you Paula … let us know if they inspire you to take an action and we’ll add you to our list. We’re measuring how many people get inspired to do something as a result of this project.

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