Ditching The Plastic – My Shampoo Bar Journey

I’m not one to stick to my New Years resolutions, but as the clock struck 12 on 1st January 2020 I vowed that this year I was going to make a conscious effort to reduce my plastic waste. This resolution seemed more achievable than my usual ‘eat less chocolate’ or ‘exercise more’ goals that I seemingly failed to do each year. I was easily able to ditch my makeup wipes and single use cotton pads for reusable hand stitched cotton pads, which if anything actually cleaned my skin better than the single use ones! Next I was able to switch my toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush, my ear buds for bamboo ear buds and my plastic shopping bags for more durable fair trade cotton bags.

I made many switches but the last thing I was reluctant to ditch were my (plastic bottled) shampoo and conditioner. I’ve tried in the past to switch to a shampoo bar but it was disastrous. Many shampoo bars don’t contain SLS (SLS is round is most standard shampoo and stripes your hair of its natural oils) so you have to go through an adjustment period when you switch which can take up to two months. I really tried for months with other shampoo bars but was left with lank greasy hair, the transition phase seemed to never end. Due to this I was reluctant to try a shampoo bar again, however mid lockdown as I browsed the shelves of my local Waitrose for the ever scarce hand sanitiser or soap I spotted Beco Argan Oil Shampoo Bars for just £4 a bar, which I had only spotted due to someone placing it in the soap section of the store and not the haircare section! I mean what was the worst that was going to happen? If they gave me greasy hair like the others at least no one would see me due to lockdown!

After I got home and searched Beco I found out how much of an amazing company they are. Their products are vegan, cruelty free, 97% organic, hypoallergenic, pH balanced, biodegradable as well as being plastic, paraben and SLS free. But the most amazing thing about Beco is that they’re a social enterprise that help disabled people get job by actively encouraging other companies to employ disabled staff, with 80% of own workforce being disabled. Unfortunately the employments rates amongst disabled people are higher than the rates amongst people without disabilities, but Beco are campaigning to change this.

The product itself comes unwrapped in a FSC certified recyclable cardboard box. The first thing I noticed about this shampoo bar was how amazing it smelt, I could even smell it through the box! Surprisingly when I used the bar for the first time it lathered up really well compared to other bars I’ve used, which is thanks to the Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate it contains – a natural mild surfactant derived from coconut. After using it my hair felt lovely and clean, where as with other bars it felt heavy and greasy. I expected there to be a transition phase using the Beco Argan Oil Shampoo Bar but my hair was perfect from the start! Not only did my hair not get greasy as fast but it was left beautifully soft. I was really impressed with the results from this £4 bar! The best part about it was the bar lasted SO long, one bar lasted me around 2-3 months which is far longer than a standard bottle of shampoo would last me. It should also be noted that because this shampoo bar doesn’t contain natural oil stripping ingredients you can use it without conditioner and still have beautiful soft hair. I have bleached hair and use this bar without conditioner most days, or use a silicone free conditioner when I feel my hair needs a little nourishment. You may think using no conditioner would ruin your hair but my hair has become more healthy with less split ends!

The Beco Argan Oil Shampoo Bar comes in 3 different scents – honey blossom and spring meadow; I tried both and they both smell lovely. Beco also sell bars of hand soap and liquid soap and you can find their products in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Boots and The Ethical Superstore. To find out more about Beco and the amazing work they do visit their website https://betterconsidered.org

What shampoo bar brands have you tried?


Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food

Garnier recently debuted a new product to their Ultimate Blends hair range – the Hair Food 3-in-1 Hair Mask, and they definitely proved to be popular. I’m not the biggest fan of hair masks from ‘drugstore’ brands, but on offer for £3.50 each I couldn’t resist purchasing some to see what all the hype was about.

The range consists of four different masks:

  • Moisturising Aloe Vera & Coconut (for normal hair)
  • Repairing Papaya & Alma (for damaged hair)
  • Smoothing Coconut & Macadamia (for frizzy and unruly hair)
  • Nourishing Banana & Shea (for dry hair)

As someone whose hair is more on the dry and damaged side, I opted for the nourishing Banana and Shea mask, as well as the repairing Papaya & Alma mask.

Initial Impressions

I felt the packaging of the product was a change to the standard garnier packaging, really giving emphasis on the ‘natural’ feel. Unlike other products, the ingredients are actually explained down the side of the packaging which is really useful if you want a better understanding of the products you’re using! The products also displays a few claims on the side of the packaging which include:

  • 98% natural origin
  • 100% vegan
  • 98% biodegradable formula
  • No silicones for a natural feel
  • Many ingredients being from botanical origin

The Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food boasts many benefits to hair, but one of the main reasons I decided to buy this product was the smell. They honestly smelt good enough to eat. The conditioner itself has a thick, silky consistency which in my opinion is perfect for a hair mask.

Two Week Update 

Leave in conditioner – I used it on both wet and dry hair, but found it didn’t not really make my hair any softer and it felt quite heavy.

Conditioner – I used it like a standard conditioner leaving it on for a few minutes and then rinsing. I found this was more effective than using it as a leave in conditioner and it did leave my hair quite soft.

Hair mask – I found this use to be the most effective at making my hair silky soft. After washing my hair with shampoo, I’d leave the mask on for around 2 hours, and then rinsed. Not only was my hair super soft but the fruity smell was a lot more aromatic- which I loved!

Is this product cruelty free? 

The packaging clearly says it’s a ‘vegan formula’ but this product can’t be classed as 100% cruelty free as Garnier is owned by the L’Oréal brand. Garnier themselves do not test any of their products on animals, and their products are not sold in China. However, some products made by their parent company L’Oréal are in fact tested on animals in China as it’s a legal requirement there, so most people will still see Garnier as a company that tests on animals.

What’s good to hear though is that L’Oréal are actually currently working with the Chinese government to introduce their new innovation ‘Episkin’, whereby human skin is lab engineered to be used for product testing instead of animals. Hopefully this will be something that’s implemented in the future to finally stop all testing on animals.

Final Thoughts 

Will I be repurchasing this product? YES! I can’t resist the amazing fruit fragrance of these hair masks and how soft they leave my hair. I will be permanently adding these hair masks to my hair routine and will hopefully be able to try the rest of the Garnier ultimate blends hair food. If you’d like to try it for yourself you can purchase it here.

Have you tried any of the other 3-in-1 masks in this range?


My Top 10 Tips To Banish Split Ends For Good

Split ends. Our fierce enemy who we are all familiar with! Whether they are caused from heat damage, chemical damage or if your just unlucky to get them, my top 10 tips will help you keep the split ends at bay and improve the condition of your hair.

1. Regular Cuts

Nothing beats having regular cuts! The best way to avoid split ends is to prevent them from even happening, by cutting off the dry and damaged ends. This doesn’t mean having to lose your luscious locks; simply having 1-2 inches cut off 6-8 weeks will keep split ends at bay, and help boost hair growth.

2. Silk Pillow

This seems like a strange one but investing in a silk pillow will actually reduce the amount of split ends you get. Standard cotton pillows actually create friction that ‘roughs up’ the hair shaft which leads to split ends and breakage, so if your serious about preventing split ends, a silk pillow is the way forward. You can purchase good quality silk pillow cases from John Lewis for £45.

3. Shampoo & Conditioner That Actually Works

Investing in a good shampoo and conditioner is really important, so throw out your herbal essences and invest in salon standard products which will actually do what they say on the bottle! The best I have found is the Redken Extreme range, which contains an interlocking protein network for fortifying complex, which helps protect your hairs strength and reinforces its surface. Products that contain protein really do work wonders for your hair, but be careful, as over proteination of your hair can make it brittle and more likely to snap.

Redken extreme shampoo 300ml £15
Redken extreme conditioner 250ml £16.50

4. Use Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which helps prevent protein loss in hair. Additionally the structure of coconut oil allows it to penetrate the hair shaft in ways which other oils cannot. Coconut oil also has a high moisture retaining capacity which is brilliant for locking in moisture and keeping the hair soft. You can apply the oil in many ways:

  • directly on your hair when needed
  • Mixing a small amount with your conditioner to give it a boost
  • After washing hair whilst it is still wet
  • As an overnight intensive hair mask

You can pick coconut oil up from your local supermarket or you can buy some online at Look Fantastic.

5. Get the Correct Hair Brush

If you’ve got thick hair that tangles easily, investing in a Tangle Teezer will really help your hair. If you find these too expensive, a wide tooth comb is your next best option for easing out knots to help keep your hair tangle free. Avoiding brushes that have hard spines that rip out hair is important, and always brush your hair from the bottom working up, removing any knots as you go. My top tip is to brush your hair before getting into the shower, and avoid ‘scrubbing’ your hair whilst shampooing to prevent tangles. Brushing your hair when it is wet can cause more split ends because this is when it is at its weakest.

Tangle Teezer Original £12

6. Only Use Heat When You Have To

Try use heat less often, such as buying a hairdryer with a cool setting if you don’t already have one. If you really need to use your heated styling tools, make sure to put on some heat protection beforehand to reduce any damage you may do, Toni&Guy Prep Heat Protection Mist works well, conditioning the hair and protecting against heat. Using straighteners or curling wands dehydrates your hair, making it more prone to breakage so remember to use protection every time you style!

7. Style Heat Free

If you’re the type of girl who can’t go a day without looking preened to perfection, learning to style your hair without using heat will prevent a lot of damage. Sleep-In Rollers, or the Aurora Band Night Roller may be two things you need to invest in. Sleep-In Rollers, can create subtle volume, and loose glamorous curls, but if you find it difficult to sleep with something so large in your hair, then the Aurora Band Night Roller may be a better option for you, which creates salon quality curls without the damage and hassle.

Sleep-in Roller Set 20 piece £17
The Aurora Band Night Roller £12.99

8. Try Olaplex

I first heard of Olaplex when Kim Kardashian debuted her platinum locks at the Paris Fashion Week in 2015. How did she manage such a drastic colour change without frying her hair? Olaplex is how. This miracle treatment permanently rebuilds the damaged disulphide bonds in your hair that are broken during the chemical process of dyeing your hair. It can be used with hair dye, or on its own as an intensive reconstruction treatment. It does come at a hefty price but believe me it’s worth it! Olaplex is intended for use in a professional salon setting, and as such is only available for purchase by certified salon professionals, with many salons now offering this system at an extra price. However the 3 step in the system, Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector can be purchased online or from your hairdresser to take home.

Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector 100ml £26

9. Feed your hair

Your hair can be greatly affected by your diet, and increasing your vitamin and mineral intake can improve the condition of your hair. Your hair is made out of keratin (a type of protein), which provides its strength and structure, so making sure you get enough protein in your diet is important for healthy hair. Protein doesn’t always mean eating your own body weight in red meat, and you can still achieve a high protein intake easily by eating beans, lentils, nut and seeds. Don’t stray away from fats if your hair is brittle or dry; fish, nuts, avocado and eggs all contain healthy fat which will promote glossy hair. If you struggle to fit different foods into your diet, it might be useful to buy some biotin supplements. Biotin helps promote healthy skin, hair and nails because it is an essential ingredient in the process of hair growth, so making sure you’re not deficient in it can improve the condition of your hair over time, making it stronger and thicker.

10. Weekly Hair Treatments

Most people use a face mask once a week to give their skin a little boost, so why not your hair too? Your hair endures abuse to leave it dry and damaged, so giving it a small pick me up is the perfect solution to bring your hair back to life. With hair masks, a little goes a long way, and Bleach London Reincarnation Mask works wonders on coloured or bleached hair that needs some hydration. Regular use of this mask helps repair damaged hair and promotes a healthy shine. But if you can’t afford to splash out on these products, DIY masks can work just as well! Here are some of my favourites:

  • 1 avocado,  2 eggs,  1 tbsp of honey , 1 tbsp of coconut oil
    Mix together, apply to ends of hair and leave on for 20-25  minutes.
  • 2 tbsp of honey and 3 tbsp of olive oil
    Heat in microwave for 30 seconds, apply to ends of hair and leave on for 1-2 hours.
  • 1 over-ripe banana, 1 tbsp of honey, 2 tbsp of olive oil
    Mash the banana into a smooth consistency, mix in honey and olive oil, apply to ends of hair and leave on for 20-25 minutes.

Bleach London Reincarnation Mask 200ml £7.50

Do you have any tips on how to prevent much dreaded split ends?