From Toothpaste to Shampoo: Why Solid Cosmetics Could Be Making a Comeback
Have you tried switching to solid cosmetics? If not, then there's no time like the present, as these solid formats are the shape of the future when it comes to beauty routines.
It's out with shelves of bottles and endless ingredient lists, and in with new-gen shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste and soaps that are light on the packaging—and preservatives—for a revamped, 100 per cent-responsible beauty routine that's good for your skin and for the planet.
Old-school soap is where it's at
The move towards more responsible and environmentally respectful consumer habits can sometimes—in fact, often—mean taking a step backwards. And cosmetics are no exception, with the solid bars of soap used by our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents slowly creeping back into bathrooms in recent years. And for good reason, since these soaps—suitable for face and body—don't need any plastic packaging and are kind to skin, so long as you stick to natural varieties.
In fact, solid soaps contain virtually no water—unlike liquid shower gels—which is good news for the environment and which also means that there's no need for preservatives or chemical additives. With soap, the endless lists of ingredients typically found in standard shower gel labels are largely simplified—and generally more transparent—with a majority of raw and natural ingredients that are less likely to damage your health.
Another plus point is that the standard solid format is, by definition, portable. That can help cut unnecessary consumption because there's no need to buy special travel formats for trips away. Moreover, they're generally suitable for facial use with gentler formulations than body-specific versions.
(Related: What is Sustainable Beauty? Here are 13 Eco-Friendly Brands to Help You Achieve an All-Natural Glow)
Soap gets an update
Some of the oldest and best-known soaps are Aleppo soap and Marseille soap, which are mostly made from vegetable oils. Today, however, there's a slew of solid soaps to choose from, that are each more fun and original than the next. Forget your grandmother's dull old wash bars, as today's soaps come in all kinds of vibrant versions. And they don't have to rely on chemicals or potentially unhealthy ingredients to put the fun into bath-time—just look at the endless options from Lush, a brand known for its colourful solid cosmetics that come in all kinds of wacky shapes.
While there are plenty of options from specialist or niche brands (Lano, Seaweed Bath Co, Nubian Heritage etc.), recent months have also seen a growing number of launches from mainstream brands like Garnier (solid shampoos), and Love Beauty and Planet (soaps and shampoos). There's now enough choice out there to ensure everyone can find their own accessible solid beauty routine.
And soaps aren't the only products using this "innovative" format, since nearly everything in your bathroom cabinet can now be switched to solid, from face wash to shampoo and conditioner, not to mention makeup remover, deodorant and toothpaste. It can even be easy—and cheap —to make solid cosmetics yourself thanks to the many online tutorials.
(Related: Is Prickly Pear the New Natural Anti-Ageing Beauty Ingredient to Look Out For?)