Raising the bar

Shampoo With A Purpose is championing the sustainable future of hair care with its range of shampoo and conditioner bars. We sat down with co-founder Geneva Valek to talk about no-waste beauty, how to swap your bottle for a bar and why your shampoo should be simpler.

What makes you feel wild and alive?

I feel wild when I find new connections between things. Real, dirty, rough creativity makes me feel alive. What goes into creating your natural, cruelty-free bars? A huge team of amazing people! We also focus on eco-friendly, sustainable ingredients across our range to ensure the bars are good for you but also good for the environment.

Clover Fields, your parent company, was the first company in Australia to replace animal tallow-based soaps with a pure vegetable base. Can you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming eco-conscious?

The company began in 1983 when our founder, Liz, broke her ankle and couldn’t work. She started putting together bags of bath salts that she shared among friends. This snowballed into the business we have today; we have been making quality, triple-milled vegetable soap for just under 40 years. We were the first company to offer European-style pantry displays of soaps in Australia, subverting the plastic packaging which was very common in the industry. We care deeply about sustaining the planet — it’s the only one we’ve got!

Your shampoo and conditioner bars offer an easy way to reduce plastic waste. Do they lather as well as liquid commercial shampoo and do you have any tips for making the switch? They lather even better than commercial products! They have a wonderful ingredient derived from coconut, which is used in a lot of baby products to create lather. They foam up beautifully when you run the bar over your hair or in your hands. My switch tip is to use a conditioner alongside the bar at first. The bars are both shampoo and conditioner combined, but it takes a number of washes before you can use it on its own. The shorter your hair, the easier the transition.

What is the proper way to store and care for your shampoo and conditioner bars?

Keep them in a dry place. We are the no-fuss shampoo bar. Because our bars are triple-milled using soap machinery, they are highly condensed, which means they last a lot longer than other products on the market that either contain saponified ingredients or are made by melting and pouring. We have a wonderful tin coming out soon as well.

What are the benefits of switching to solid soaps and shampoos?

One of our shampoo bars is worth up to six bottles of shampoo and conditioner, so not only are you going easy on the environment but your wallet too. They are just as easy to use, if not easier, than regular shampoos, plus you can use them on your whole body, saving you time. People with low mobility often find that the bar is easier to use, and it makes it much easier to get kids clean and out of the shower quickly.

What are your top tips for reducing plastic waste at home?

Compost, compost, compost! There are many ways we can reduce plastic, but I always suggest people start composting. There is a huge amount of noxious gases and fumes that come from decomposing greens and organic material that goes into the bin. Composting is a great step to help reduce emissions. I also use soap bars instead of shower gels and shampoo bars instead of bottles of shampoo (of course). We’ve also stopped using bin liners — we just clean out the bin every few weeks and take it out more often. It was a lot easier to swap than I thought it would be. The plastics I haven’t yet skipped are packets of chips — I’m a sucker for a chip! But I have found a soft-plastics recycling bin at my local shop.

What’s next for Shampoo With A Purpose?

We’ve tackled hair care, dishwashing liquid and even pet soap. Next, we’re working on more liquid products. We have fabulous aluminium bottles that we will be filling with household products while keeping everything eco-friendly.

For more, visit shampoowithapurpose.com and cloverfields.com or @shampoowithapurpose on Instagram.

WellBeing Team

WellBeing Team

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